Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss how difficult it can be as an Autistic person to manage change.
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.
Slide 1: Why it can be very difficult to manage change
Changes can be big or small. Yet they still feel totally overwhelming and life-altering…even if they aren’t really.Something as small as not being able to find your normal shampoo or your favourite brand of cereal at the supermarket can honestly feel like the end of the world in that moment.
So imagine how big things like social occasions let alone life events can be to an Autistic person. They can be utterly huge and hard to process.
It’s very difficult to describe how scary change can be as an Autistic person with sensory issues. I strive for normal, sameness and routine and when this is messed with I can’t cope.
The thing is…I might look like I am coping well with change. But I (and many autistic people) have mastered the art of ‘masking’ where we are very effectively able to keep up an ‘act’ or ‘front’ of managing when inside we are extremely distressed and overwhelmed. It’s so draining.
This is something that can come flooding out once we reach our own safe environment like home. This might look like a shutdown or meltdown which can be worrying for surrounding family, friends, etc.
Sometimes we just need the space and time to decompress and process what has or is going on. And that is okay. It sucks in the moment when you can’t manage what is going on but I’ve learnt…the feelings do pass and life does carry on.
If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my Kofi page. Or why not have a listen to my 21andsensory Podcast – there’s a new episode every two weeks
Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below how you cope with change and any tips you have!
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).
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.
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.
Hi everyone! I am just popping on to say I was a guest on @spotlightonfasd and the episode went live today! I spoke about my Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism. Something I haven’t shared here before is that I have an adopted brother who has a diagnosis of FASD and is Autistic.
FASD stands for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. It is a term used to describe the permanent impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol during pregnancy resulting in a spectrum of physical, emotional, behavioural and neurological characteristics. I spoke on the podcast about my experiences growing up with my brother and how he made my parents realise my sensory processing difficulties.
Please go have a listen! Available wherever you get your podcasts and on YouTube above 🎉
More info on the Spotlight on FASD podcast:
The UK’s first podcast dedicated to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). We aim to shine a light on FASD and bring conversations out of the shadows.
We’re getting stuck in and chatting about everything from diagnosis to dentistry, education to executive functioning. Combining the latest research with lived experience, our conversations will be real and raw. We believe there us nothing to be afraid of and with open discussion, those with FASD and their caregivers can thrive. Join us on our journey.
I was sent this lovely Adult Headphone T-shirt from the team at Born Anxious – it’s designed to alert others that a person may find the world to loud, they may wear noise cancelling headphones and that they may become overloaded with too much noise.
I like how modern the design is (nice headphone icon) and generally the black and white design feels quite slick (it’s available in 12 fab colours and in sizes S-XL). It’s super soft and feels of a good quality. The ‘I don’t like loud noise’ design is on the back of the t-shirt along with the Born Anxious website and the front has a small Born Anxious logo on the chest.
What I absolutely LOVE about their clothing is it is all TAG / LABEL FREE! Yes completely label freeeeee. Which means nothing to have to cut out awkwardly! I can’t get over it not having a collar or side label like it’s honestly revolutionary. To know I can grab this t-shirt and just wear it without worrying about my mood is huge!
In replacement of removing the labels, they provide a recycled information postcard with each product, that holds the care instructions and information of who they support through donations from each purchase. They have chosen to keep our donations as local as possible to spread awareness within their little corner of the UK and to support each other in smaller circles and communities that will then help those to connect to the bigger ones.
In time Born Anxious will be expanding the range and will remain organic, as they feel this is important for people with difficulties surrounding skin irritations or sensory difficulties. They are aiming to be Planet friendly and fair trade.
An important pie chart on clothing…ah clothing. It’s a NIGHTMARE for us sensory-beings. I wear a tiny proportion of my wardrobe. This is due to:
👕 New clothes. I cannot wear new clothes immediately like most people can. I can happily wait 2 years to wear new shoes (my brand new black converses are still sat in my wardrobe and I have another pair that took me literally 5 years to wear). I don’t know what it is but I have this huge fear of new clothes. My family is very aware of this and my mum actually gets me to slowly get stuff out of the box / packaging it comes in and just sit it in my room so I get used to the look of it. This can help. Also wearing stuff around the house can help but it’s so so difficult and painful for me to get into new things. I love second-hand and charity shop clothing for this reason!
🔖 TAGS / LABELS. Eww. The absolute pain of my life. They physically can change my entire mood if I have a scratchy label or tag inside my clothing. Also sometimes it’s no good cutting them out as that leads like a raw edge unless you physically unpick the thread of them. Also…Why do some clothes have literal books sewn into them? I get that we need washing instruction but gees. There are some great brands that come tag-free such as:
🙅🏻♀️ Fabric / texture. I am very fussy when it comes to the fabric and texture of clothing and how it sits on my skin.
👃🏻Smell – I have to wash anything new multiple times before I can even think about wearing it. This includes bedding – any new duvets go through a rigorous washing phase with the only detergent I can manage.
How are you with clothing? Any good coping techniques? Share them in the comments down below!
Hello! Here is the final drawing of my series on our 8 senses (scroll back in my feed to see my 7 previous drawings!) ✏️ This drawing is all about proprioception. Proprioception refers to the body’s ability to make sense of it’s own position in space. For example, proprioception enables a person to close their eyes and touch their nose with their index finger (which can be harder than it sounds – try it!).
Explanation behind my drawing…
Climbing: In any shape or form! Whether it’s rock climbing, tree climbing, etc.
Posture: My posture is awful…and it always takes me a while to realise it when I’m sat at a desk because I’ll sit on my legs or cross them. I know I need to work on it and there’s lots of different methods to remind me like watch alerts to move!
Weighted: I love weighted things, whether it’s a weighted lap pad, jacket or lap toy.
Hand Grip: I’ve always held my pen way too hard and pressed on my paper too much – I only really realised how bad this was when I used to come out of written exams in school and my hand would be aching so much!
Tight hugs: are the BEST. But only from select trusted people! 😉
New skill: These can be flipping difficult. Learning to drive for example (and being dyslexic and not understanding my left and rights!). New skills can take us more time as we process at different speeds..
Do comment down below if you can relate to anything in my drawing or anything I’ve said, I’m always keen to hear how everyone copes with these things. One more drawing to go in this little series!.
IMAGE ID (White post background with 6 categories listed and little drawings above each)
Climbing: Woman with brown hair. yellow t-shirt, blue trousers and trainers climbing a rock climbing wall with coloured hand and foot grips. Green Tick icon above to show Emily likes climbing.
Posture: Ginger haired woman sat at a desk with a computer monitor and mouse, hunched over it with a leg up on the chair. She is wearing a green jumpers and blue jeans with white socks. Cross icon above to show Emily dislikes dealing with posture.
Weighted: Three drawings of weighted items – a weighted plush toy dog which is brown and beige. A weighted lap pad which is purple with planets and stars on it. A weighted zip-up jacket which is navy blue with pockets. Green Tick icon above to show Emily likes weighted items.
Hand Grip: A hand holding a yellow pencil over a lined piece of A4 paper. Text on the paper says ‘Pressing too hard’. Cross icon above to show Emily dislikes dealing with her hand grip.
Tight hugs: A man with blonde hair and a teal jumper hugging a woman with black long curly hair and purple jumper. Green Tick icon above to show Emily likes tight hugs.
New skill: 3 drawings, a pair of hands holding a grey steering wheel. Yellow ball of wool with two knitting needles pushed through it. A leg with a white sock and purple roller blade on it with pink and green straps over it. Cross icon above to show Emily dislikes learning new skills.
Activity books: HobbyCraft and The Works are great for activity books in the UK. Also again worth shopping around online and looking on Amazon
Scented candles: Yankee Candles can be quite overpowering sometimes so I recommend trying out candles before buying them or gifting a voucher for a candle store! Also supermarkets and places like TK/TJ Maxx do great more affordable scented candles that usually aren’t as strong.
Weighted jacket: Honestly cannot recommend the Sensory Direct weighted jacket highly enough – I bought my own (not sponsored) and honestly love it. Even the hood is weighted!
Weighted lap pad: Also worth looking at all the weighted products on the Sensory Direct store.
Books on Autism: so SO many great books available online on Amazon and in book stores such as Waterstones.
Books by Autistic people: I only had room to mention 3 above but please Google books by Autistic people further – there are such a wide range of fab books out there to read I couldn’t possibly name them all. Also look back through my blog posts to see which books I’ve read and my reviews on them! Listed above is ‘Camouflage the Hidden lives of Autistic Women’, ‘The State of Grace’ and ‘How to be Autistic’.
Retro games / game consoles: Have a look online at CEX, Amazon, Game, HMV, etc
Music subscription: Worth looking into a Spotify or Apple Music subscription as a gift/voucher
Vinyl / CD’s: Your best bet is to look online, in local vintage vinyl stores or on sites like Ebay for some good finds
Lava lamp: Double check you buy one that comes with the bulb as they can be quite specific and hard to find!
Soft toys: again worth looking on Amazon and shopping around different toy stores
Happiness book and so many happiness journal books are available these days. I would recommend looking online at Amazon reviews and in larger book stores too
Mindfulness book and again mindfulness journals can be found everywhere these days. I’ve found lots of stationary stores have ranges of them too
Sunglasses: Vouchers for/towards sunglasses or tinted glasses can be super helpful!
Sweets / Candy: There are cute subscription boxes that will deliver sweets/candy to your door monthly, or just buy some old fashioned sweets from a local store or pick ‘n’ mix!
Noise Cancelling headphones: Worth researching into both Sony and Bose noise cancelling headphones. They both seem to be leading the way in terms of NC / ambient sound reduction. Also some great (much more affordable) NC headphones are available on Amazon at different price points – great whatever your budget! Might be worth getting a voucher towards headphones as that allows the person to go into a store and try before they buy.
Chewigem Chubes: Great for tying to the ends of hoodie drawstrings if you are a nervous biter like I am and end up ruining the strings on all your jumpers