New Year Autistic and Sensory Struggles…📆

Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss some New Year Autistic and Sensory Struggles…


In my Sensory Series I share text slides on different aspects of Sensory Processing (in between my regular posts of illustrations) so I can share my own outlook on all things sensory related. I thought it would be interesting to share my own experiences, tips and tricks along the way, feel free to scroll back over other posts in this series too over on my Instagram!

Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below how you cope with the New Year and any tips you have!


Image ID below.

Slide 1:

Black and white icon of a calendar with a circled tick inside to indicated a day ticked off or countdown to the New Year with text underneath:
‘New year autistic and sensory struggles…’
The a pastel green line with ‘@21andsensory‘ underneath and in the top right hand corner of the post there is a pastel green box that says ‘ SENSORY SERIES’ in to show what series the post is part of.

Slide 2:

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: 
Everything seeming a bit louder, brighter, and just generally more full-on due to desensitising to things over the break.
Looking forward to the routine or schedule that your educational or workplace setting gives you when you return again.
Worrying more about how your facial expressions and body language are coming across and mimicking other people automatically.

Slide 3:

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it:
The dread of engaging in post- Christmas small talk on return to school, college, uni, work, etc. 
Not knowing how to word the start of your emails at the beginning of the New Year. (Do you have to ask people how their Christmas / New Year was…is it rude not to…)
Having to get back into the practice of maintaining eye contact with people who aren’t your immediate family or friends all over again.

Slide 4:

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it:
Not realising until you are in a safe space that you are masking more in order to cope when you are out and about…and feeling burnt out as a result.
Having to get back into tolerating specific clothing again such as formal work wear or school/work uniforms.
Panicking about have to be more ‘social’ and switched on. Also the struggle of trying not to zone out of conversations and stay present.

Slide 5: 

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it:
Not having to worry about being told or asked to try out new foods and drinks and not stressing about whether you’ll have access to your usual safe comfort foods.
Getting back into the rhythm of planning out your downtime to involve special interests, hobbies and things you really love doing.
And…No more Fireworks to worry about! (For a little while at least)

Slide 6:

21andsensory logo (person holding up a white board with ’21andsensory’ on it. Underneath it says:If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my Kofi page (link in bio). Or why not have a listen to my 21andsensory Podcast! With social media icons underneath.

Celebrating my 50th 21andsensory Podcast Episode! 🎉

Today I published my 50th 21andsensory Podcast episode! (Available wherever you get your podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc!) It’s a celebratory episode with just me doing an update and catch up so make sure you have a listen (link below this post!)

I started my podcast in August 2017 and it was literally just me talking into my voice memos on my phone. No fancy equipment whatsoever. I just decided to start chatting about my own life and my sensory struggles (little did I know I’d find out I was Autistic in 2019!)

It’s grown massively since then and from episode 17 onwards it wasn’t just me rambling on my own. I have had the pleasure of talking to a huge amount of people from all walks of life who have been so open and honest with me about their own journeys. It’s been an absolute pleasure and a joy to talk to so many people and I am constantly fascinated by what they have achieved. Also: I love nothing more than when my guests info dump about their hobbies and special interests when they come on!

I get a lot of email requests from people asking to ‘speak to my team’ about coming on my podcast and those sorts of emails always make me laugh because…it’s just little old me! I approach potential guests, create a personal podcast outline of questions each time, record, edit and publish the podcast on my own – and I absolutely love doing it. I really do love the audio format (and am a big podcast listener myself) there’s just something that feels really personal about chatting to someone in an informal and chill way.

Anyway! Here’s to more podcast episodes in the future…

Next milestone: 100 episodes!

You can listen here or below…

I was a guest on the ‘Psychology in the Classroom’ Podcast…🎙

I was a guest on the ‘Psychology in the Classroom’ podcast!

The podcast takes psychological research and translates it for classroom teachers so they can effectively apply it to their teaching practice to help improve outcomes for their students. Interviews with leading psychologists and other experts in the field of education, as well as deep dives into educational theory and a little bit of neuromyth busting. 

Lucinda is the host and has a BSc in Philosophy and Psychology, an MA in Special and Inclusive education, is a qualified teacher and taught psychology from 2002-2017.  Her passions lie in psychology and education and luckily the two are inextricably linked. She now produces a podcast ‘Psychology in the classroom’ and writes a weekly blog summarising psychological research on learning and education.

Here is the episode description:

Interview with Dr Cathy Manning from Oxford University and Emily from @21andsensory.

This week’s podcast covers Sensory Processing Disorder.  This is a very varied disorder which affects how people process sensory information and as a consequence how they respond to the environment.  Though often linked with Autism SPD doesn’t always go hand in hand with ASD. SPD can be triggered via all senses such as vision, noise, touch and smell and considering your classroom environment can really help to support young people who struggle with SPD.

You can find out about Dr Cathy Manning’s research here.

You can find out more about Emily and her work here or follow her on social media @21andsensory or listen to her podcast here.

The link to Mary Hanley’s research on displays is here.

You can also listen on iTunesSpotify & Amazon Podcasts

Autistic and Trying to be Happy

Autistic and trying to be happy. Happiness is something that I keep hearing a lot about’ but are you happy?’ and ‘do what makes you happy’ but here’s the thing…


I am a natural people pleaser. I care a lot about other people’s happiness and have never really cared for my own. I love to make other people happy and I put others first all the time. But my own happiness? That’s much harder to navigate and for me…and something that is difficult to see in myself. I am someone who struggles with Alexithymia so I cannot always put into words how I feel or what I am feeling inside. This makes happiness very difficult because I don’t actually always know what happiness ‘is’ if that makes sense? Like how do you define a mood?


That was a bit deep. Anyway…what I am getting at is that I am trying to be happier as an autistic person and do things more for my own happiness. I have a lot of very random autistic struggles that seem to pitch up out of nowhere (and I know so many of you too do). It’s flipping hard to be happy when you seemingly cry for no reason or become overwhelmed at the slightest thought, feeling or sense not being filtered properly.


I am still trying to be happy with who I am because I constantly have this thought that I am a ridiculously complex individual. But I think a lot of us are. And that’s what makes us who we are… and super interesting human beings.
I’m off to go and find some little moments of happiness. I hope you can do the same too.


(I’ve now said the word happy to many times it’s starting to feel weird and sound different…wah!).

Autistic and trying my best.

Hello. I am Autistic and trying my best.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve felt this statement a lot. I am trying my best each day to muddle on through life in general. I feel like a lot of my life has involved ‘muddling on through’ things that seem to come naturally to other people. 

But: I always try my best. I am super dedicated and hyper focused when it comes to producing the best output I can. However…trying my best takes a hell of a lot of effort as an autistic person. It’s keeping up a constant ‘mask’ or ‘act’ in most social situations. It’s suffering from sensory overwhelm and autistic burnout on the regular. But you’d never know it from looking at me. And you’d never know it when looking at others. I think we all just need to be aware that everyone in life is muddling through things and nobody really has it figured out.

That was a ramble but the short of it is: I’m going to keep muddling through. And so should you.

(Also sorry if muddling is a British sort of word to use but it resonates with me! It means to think or act in a confused or aimless way).

New 21andsensory Podcast Episode with Amy Chrissy (@amuwamu)

On today’s episode I have special guest Amy Chrissy.

Amy is a 21 year old autistic homous enthusiast (which I’ll definitely be asking her more about!) she is an Autism advocate who creates amazing and really informative educational videos on her TikTok @amuwamu where she has over 42,000 followers!

We chat about:

  • Amy’s autism diagnosis and other diagnoses she has
  • Her experiences with ABA therapy as a child
  • Her journey through primary and secondary school
  • Amy studying sociology and psychology at university and how her first year on the course has been
  • Her special interests and creative hobbies a
  • Amy’s TikTok journey
  • Getting back out in the world, socialising and the struggles of eye contact!
  • …and Homous!

Here is a link to all of Amy’s social media pages make sure to follow her! She has also recently started up her own YouTube channel which is super exciting.

Apple Podcasts   Google Play Music  Overcast   Pocket Casts  Spotify

Examples of some everyday sensory struggles | Sensory Series 🖐

Hi everyone – I’m going to start a little text-based Sensory Series!

I’ll be sharing text slides on different aspects of Sensory Processing (in between my regular posts of illustrations) so I can share my own outlook on all things sensory. I thought it would be interesting to share my own experiences, tips and tricks along the way.

If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my 21andsensory Kofi Page

An illustration on Dissociation and Depersonalisation…🧠

Hi everyone – hope you are all doing okay. Back in February I wrote a blog post on my own struggles with Dissociation and Depersonalisation, I find it really helps to write down things I’m going through (so if you fancy reading that here is a link). I thought I’d do a drawing as I know so many people deal with this daily and i think it’s important to educate others on what it’s like to live with.

My struggles started towards the end of 2020 when I had a one weird moment of disassociation. Then it started it happen more, I’d have sudden moments where I’d disassociate briefly for a few seconds. So to describe the exact feeling I experienced I would look at my arms in front of me and not feel connected to them whatsoever. I was initially quite freaked out by the randomness of these moments but they then became more frequent and started to not seem so new.

It kept happening when I was brushing my teeth. It was like looking at my limbs and I just wasn’t in control of them at all yet they were still functioning and doing normal actions which was really weird. I almost wanted to keep slapping my forehead to feel more ‘present’ almost like I’d zoned out briefly. I think this relates closely to ‘Depersonalisation’ where a person experience a sense of disconnect from their body or a feeling of watching themselves.

It felt like I was sat inside my brain like a visitor but I was looking at myself doing all these things but not really being there, I wasn’t right there in the moment experiencing things. I just don’t feel like I’m in the present and really experiencing things which is quite unsettling and it’s so hard to actually sum up what I am experiencing because I can’t liken the experience to anything else. It’s honestly the weirdest thing and doesn’t sound believable when I try and put it into words. I know that I am in control of my body and it’s mine but in those moments it really really doesn’t feel like my limbs belong to me in the slightest

I know that dissociating is something that can happen as a way of your body coping with stress, trauma, etc by putting itself into this protective state. Mind (a mental health charity in the UK) has a really informative page on dissociative disorders here which I recommend browsing if you are looking for more info on the topic: More info on Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders from Mind UK

When I experience these feelings of dissociating I try to do some grounding exercises to put me back into the present, here’s an example:

👁 Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you 
✋ Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you 
👂 Acknowledge THREE things you hear
👃Acknowledge TWO things you can smell
👅 Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste 

I’m always happy to chat further in the comments and my social media DM’s, and feel free to share any tips you have in the comments below.

The 10 Best Podcasts by Autistic Creators to Listen to this Autism Awareness Month!

Check out this awesome article on Discover Pods website that my podcast featured in!

Also just as a side note (on a topic I don’t really mention but it relates to podcasting)…

If you’d like to support my podcast and its production it would mean a lot if you’d like to donate anything via my Kofi link below. I totally appreciate any form of support (when people like, share and comment on my work that’s amazing!) but if you’d like / are able to support me further that would be awesome. I currently do all of my 21andsensory work in addition to my day job, so I illustrate in my spare time and I liaise with guests, record, edit and produce my podcast on my own.

I am also considering starting a Patreon page in order to share exclusive content like videos, behind the scenes photos, written posts and extra podcast episodes so keep an eye out for that potentially!

Anyway…I just want to say thank you for all of your continued support, I super appreciate it.

The nightmare that is….clothes shopping 🛍👀

Hi everyone, here is a new drawing I did explaining what a nightmare clothes shopping can be for autistic and sensory people! (aka meeeeee)

  • *Needs new clothes* – I have trusty go-to t-shirts, jeans, etc that I find comfy and wear until they quite literally are falling apart. I’ve been like this since I was a child, I could never let go of clothing and really would wear things to the bitter end.
  • Tries searching for exact replacements – this requires much searching online for exact replacements (this is a pain because clothing lines change so frequently and I never think to buy multiples in case I don’t like them…and then I do like them after a while and it’s too late!)
  • They arrive and get put away… so I cut every single conceivable tag, label, instruction booklet out of them and neatly fold or hang them up which is super satisfying and I genuinely feel quite happy that I’ve managed to come across clothing I might be able to bear.
  • 3 years later…still feel too new to wear. DAMN IT. They ALWAYS, alwaysssss still feel way too new to wear. Sometimes washing the clothes a few times helps with this feeling but I am an absolute nightmare when it comes to wearing new clothes (so much so that I prefer to shop second hand a lot as then clothes feel more worn in and after a few washes smell okay enough to wear).

Things I have found that help: I get this a lot with shoes. It can take me YEARS to get into new shoes. Again buying them secondhand from places like @depop help but if I do decide to get brand new shoes (a tip my mum came up with) is to take them out of the box and put them in my room so I get used to the look of them and them being part of my life.

It sounds ridiculous I know but it really is an autistic / sensory thing – I am awful with change and new things and I am much kinder to myself now knowing I am autistic and that this is just a part of who I am and how my mind operates.

Do you struggle with clothing? Any top tips you have feel free to share in the comments below!