This issue explores how and why the College is leading the way in demonstrating the value of a visibly neurodiverse workforce and much more. It’s a digital and print magazine that’s sent out to thousands of members!
The idea behind the design is that the person (representative of an autistic psychiatrist or doctor) is looking down on a maze and are trying to navigate it by getting the four balls to each corner all at once…which is tricky.
The person is trying to get these multiple balls past things such as stress and stigma to get to the four positive corners. I wanted to show there are hard things in the way of the positives but they are well worth getting to.
Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss the struggle of buying and using new (and second hand) products.
In my 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, feel free to scroll back over other posts in this series too! Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below.
Hello! Today I wanted to share some top tips for making your own DIY Sensory Box. My sensory box is something that’s definitely evolved over the years, as I’ve been able to tolerate more (but also less) things sensory-wise. I think of it as a box to dip into when in any mood as it can be helpful when feeling overwhelmed or burnt out but equally when you just want to experience a little bit of joy and indulge in something like a visual stim you love.
Start with a plastic tub or storage box – I’ve found that one without a lid or an open-top one can be handy if you want to dip in and out of it quickly (I found having a lid meant I stored stuff on top of it and I’d forget I had it / not end up use it!)
I have suggested a few things you might like to pop in your own sensory box in my drawing and in more detail below:
Fidget Toys: Any fidget toys you already have, think of this box as a collection of lots of different sensory items you already own, there’s no need to buy anything new (unless you want to!). Put a range of them in!
Favourite Books: Put a couple of your all-time favourite books, magazines, activity books, notebooks, anything you can read or do in the box.
Safe Snacks: Pop in any go-to snacks you love (that won’t go out of date too soon). I love anything crunchy like crisps or that are the right sort of chewy like skittles, fruit pastilles or mints. Honestly so handy when you need some sensory input and helps as a distraction.
Visual Stims: Anything visual! For example bubble / liquid timers, spinning fidget toys, that sort of thing.
Headphones: Ear defenders, ear plugs, headphones or earphones.
Nice Textures: For example a favourite feeling fabric, I have some sequinned things in mine as I like the visual of sequins and the texture of moving them back and forth
Calms Scents: Essentials oils, candles, etc. Only scents you like and can tolerate. (I don’t have many and that’s also okay if you don’t too!)
Soft items: Soft toys, squishies, soft blankets, fabric off-cuts, that sort of thing!
Also: I very much appreciate that not everything will fit into a sensory box…but I have a solution: a Sensory Corner! There’s a video on YouTube channel (see below) all about my version of this if you are interested, it’s essentially a dedicated corner that you can set up in any room and really tailor to your own sensory needs and include bigger things like a nice comfy rug, interesting lighting that sort of thing!
It includes over 200 pages of hints, tips and useful information for example: information about the diagnosis process, how to get support for your child at school, health and wellbeing and much more. The team have shared their own experiences and hints and tips, along with those of parents, carers and young people from across Essex, Southend and Thurrock.
There are also signposts to useful books, blogs and online resources which are all tried and tested resources that the team have used and found helpful.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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…
Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss a few everyday things that are sensory hell…
In my ongoing Sensory Series posts 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 and tips and tricks along the way. Feel free to scroll back over other posts in this series too over on my Instagram here.
Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below how you cope with change and any tips you have!
Tags and seams in clothing.
Someone brushing up against you as they walk past.
Loud unexpected noise when walking near roads (especially motorbikes and sirens on emergency vehicles).
Electrical appliances that hum, buzz or vibrate.
Forcing yourself to brush your hair and teeth despite hating it.
Socks that won’t stay up or that roll down and come off in your shoe.
Strong distracting smells like air fresheners, scented candles, perfumes, aftershaves, detergents.
Clothing sleeves that get all bunched up and roll up under your coat sleeves.
Someone lightly touching you on the arm when they are talking about you in a conversation.
Bright colourful places like shops, classrooms and workplaces that are visually disorientating and distracting.
Finding holes in the only comfy clothing you have and stressing out about finding the exact replacement.
Anything that flickers or moves too fast like: candles, lights, screens, etc.
Cooking smells and getting your hands messy when preparing food and constantly having to wash them.
Worrying about access to your safe foods constantly when out and about and when you need to stock up at home.
Keeping up a mask and an act of ‘I’m doing okay, I’m managing’ until you can get home, be yourself and stim freely.
Not listening to music and avoiding online videos because songs get stuck in your head for hours on end and this causes overwhelm.
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.
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!).
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).