21andsensory Podcasts!

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So I went and bit the bullet as you can probably tell by the title…and my brand new podcast is live! My podcasts are on a site/app called Anchor – it’s a free podcast and audio platform. Feel free to sign up and create an account and you can download the mobile app and listen on the go (you can also listen without signing up!).

The Anchor app will allow me to record on the go (without a computer) so I can create podcasts anytime anywhere and add new content regularly! I’m hoping to use it as almost a form of an audio diary and share my sensory experiences as and when they happen! Tips and advice will definitely feature so watch this space…

You can search for my username on Anchor which is simply: 21andsensory.

Or listen here: Anchor FM: 21andsensory

New Year, Same Me.

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Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a relatively calm and enjoyable time off. Also hope you all received nice presents (Anyone get any good sensory / therapy toys?)

So I noticed last week that there’s been a lot of New Year resolution’s and ‘fresh beginning’ stuff on the internet. People have been reflecting on 2016 and there’s lots of talk about ‘making everyday count’. That’s all fine and well but all this talk of change has got me thinking:

It’s 2017. But I’m still the same old me.

A new year won’t change who I am or magically improve my sensory problems. I don’t mean for this to sound negative and actually, in fact, I think it’s a positive. I remember always joking with my mum about how many doctors and therapists would ask me ‘If you could wave a magic wand at your problems…’ I won’t bother even finishing that sentence because the reality is that’s never going to happen and would only frustrate me further.

So I decided putting all these thoughts together that my own little unique New Year’s resolution is to challenge myself to embrace who I am more. I shouldn’t have to worry about being judged when I need to explain to people who just don’t understand the way I am and don’t ‘get’ me, and neither should you! So why not challenge yourself? It’s only day 9 of January and it’s not too late to have a go 🙂

To round this New Year’s post off I felt like writing a little insight (which happens to just link nicely with the main image above!):

I am always forgetting and then realising again that I will always be a little bit ‘sensational’.

And do you know what?

It’s more than okay to be sensational. 

(Drawing by  check out her work if you haven't heard of her!)

 

The Podcast Debate…

 

I’ve been thinking….(which is dangerous I know) about maybe possibly starting a podcast… What do you reckon? Would you find this useful? I could do episodes on certain topics and answer peoples questions on everything sensory and more. I could maybe even have guests on to talk about their experiences regarding sensory processing disorder, autism, ADHD, OCD, and more?

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

‘Making Sense’ Book Review

I was given ‘Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues’ as a birthday present in May. I’ve finally had the chance to properly read it as I’ve recently finished and graduated from uni. The book is written by the lovely Rachel S. Schneider from Coming to My Senses (www.comingtosenses.blogspot.com) and here is a little bit of background on her:

Rachel always found herself particularly sensitive to light, sound, and movement, and she frequently felt disconnected from her body and anxious about the world around her. After years of misdiagnosis, she was found to have SPD in 2010 at the age of 27. Since 2010, Rachel has become an advocate and leader in the adult SPD community’ (Excerpt from Amazon ‘About Author’ section)

I always ALWAYS in the past have got my hopes up when I have been bought or given a book to read regarding Sensory Processing Disorder. However I usually find I end up disappointed as many books are based on toddlers and children and I just can’t relate to anything they say or suggest doing.

BUT…Making Sense is SO so different. This book is PHENOMENAL (This is not a word I use lightly or usually know how to spell!)

Rachel just ‘gets it’ she writes in a beautiful, comical, simple and engaging way that is easy to understand. I have learnt a huge amount from this book including…

  1. We have 8 senses?! Not 5!
  2. There are 3 sub-types of SPD – who knew?
  3. We have sensory organs (Interception being the ‘internal sense’)
  4. Our brains are fully developed by the age of 25 and what ‘neuroplasticity’ means and how important it is.
  5. The difference between a sensory meltdown and a sensory shutdown.
  6. Interesting studies that have / are going to research in SPD and links to neurology and possibly genetics.
  7.  Awesome treatments, therapies and tools for coping with SPD (weighted sleep masks and tinted glasses might just change my life!)
  8. How to stop bad thoughts from whirring around your head.
  9. How amazing ‘hitting the deck’ as an exercise really is and how to recover from a sensory hangover.
  10. What a ‘handler’ is and how important they are to anyone with SPD.
I have learnt so much that I had never come across before and I was diagnosed with SPD aged 8 (meaning I’ve read most sensory books, articles and websites out there!) and I promise you this book is just one of a kind. I don’t want to spoil or mention to much about the contents of the book in my review but I super dooper recommend buying it! It’s worth it and you’ll find yourself returning to it again and again.
One of my favourite quotes from the book is:
Someone with sensory issues doesn’t just merely end one task and begin another. We don’t simply leave the supermarket and step out into the street – we change sensory environments.

This is just SO true and something I relate to so much. I am constantly changing sensory environments and this is what’s super difficult about living with SPD. This is all invisible to everyone around me and Rachel just summed this up so well.

The book can be read cover-to-cover but also equally can be read by jumping to chapters you would like to read. One thing I want to just mention is that I found this book hard to read because of my SPD as things I read triggered feelings and my sensory problems. If you do have SPD don’t let this put you off at all just read it in chunks (which I did which turned out to be ideal).

However if you are a neurotypical or parent/guardian/therapist/etc you’ll have absolutely no problem reading it. I would recommend the book to SPD teenagers and adults but also parents of SPD people whether they are children or older. Rachel really provides an insight into everyday living with SPD that I feel everyone could benefit from reading and understanding.

The book has the most amazing illustrations done by the super talented Kelly Dillon from Eating off Plastic (https://eatingoffplastic.wordpress.com) I found I could relate to each illustration as they were so funny and true which made me laugh quite a lot…!

This book also touches on SPD in relation to mental health but also Autism (ASD) this was insightful. I learnt that SPD can mimic mental health disorders and although Autistic people have sensory difficulties, a person can have SPD and not be autistic (like myself).This was a super interesting read too as my brother is Autistic (he is a sensory seeker though, whereas I am a sensory avoider!) but I learnt so much about the similarities and differences between both ‘disorders’.

Okay so let’s wrap this review up nicely…This book is the most informative book on SPD that I have ever come across. This book sums me up as a person and I will be lending it to multiple friends and family because it really is so informative. This book really is phenomenal.

‘Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues’ is available to buy on Amazon for £11.95 (totally worth it – treat yourself!)

Mobiles, Technology and SPD…

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I’ve come to the realisation lately that I always have my phone on silent. Like 24/7.

This can bug people.

I miss texts and calls but I literally jump if my phone makes a noise and I never EVER EVER have been able to tolerate it on ‘vibrate’. I have an iPhone and have never had the vibrate feature on and always have ‘Do not disturb’ on. My phone is usually on me, either in my pocket or a bag so it’s not like I forget my phone I just don’t like the noises of notifications (but don’t want to turn them off and miss even more!).

Even if someone else’s phone vibrates on the table next to me its enough to send my heart crazy like a surge of adrenaline releases and I have to calm down without anyone realising by slowing my breathing. As I’ve said before, and I will say it again, I’m rubbish with surprises!

This leads me on to more phone and technology related stuff…

I came across a girl I follow on Twitter talking about how she has ‘hearing motion synaesthesia’. Now I didn’t realise that hearing motion could come under synaesthesia which was the first thing I found immediately interesting… (In case you don’t know according to dictonary.com synaesthesia is ‘A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualisation of a colour’.)

The girl tweeted about how she heard motion sounds when looking at GIFs on Twitter and could not control this. GIFs (if you aren’t already aware) are a type of image file that support animated image – without sound. I also struggle with this and have written in the past on this blog about how I can hear motion even from different distances. For example say I can see someone running but they are not near me they are across a park from me, I can hear a kind of pattern that relates to when their feet hit the floor.

This hearing motion type of synaesthesia can get very wearing on a person. Even if something isn’t making a noise like a GIF or people moving my brain substitutes that silence with a noise or sound that relates to any pattern it can find in the moving object. This is confusing to write about and even more confusing to try to explain to someone face-to-face…!

Do you hear motion? Or do you have synaesthesia? How do you cope? Let me know in the comments below…

My weighted blanket hire review!

So I wrote a post a while back (read it here) explaining that I was about to hire a weighted blanket from a company called Sensory Direct (www.sensorydirect.com). So I had been using the weighted blanket on trial for two weeks and absolutely loved the weighted blanket! I needed a new one as I still had a child sized one which would slip off me in the middle of the night. The child one I had was 2.2kg and my suggested blanket weight in relation to my body weight I discovered was now 6.0kg! So the hire blanket allowed me to trial a MUCH heavier weight on top of me.

I trialled the large adjustable weighted blanket: click here to see the blanket

The large size is the exact same size as a single bed / single duvet cover and is designed to be placed over existing bedding. The blanket is adjustable and also fully washable with interchangeable weights and is suitable for older children and adults. The weights are contained in  tamper proof pockets which means that there is an even weight distribution across the blanket. The blanket I trialled is available in six weights from 3.2kg to 9.5kg (see their guide to pick the right weight for you!)

Sensory Direct then give customers these 3 options after a trial period of 2 weeks:

  1. You decide a weighted blanket is not for you and return the blanket to Sensory Direct.  (You will be responsible for the cost of returning the weighted blanket.)
  2. You decide that you would like to purchase a weighted blanket.  They will take payment for your new blanket and get it sent out to you straight away. With your new blanket they will send a Prepaid Returns label for return of the hire blanket, so you will not be without a weight blanket at any time (which is super clever huh?).  Once they then receive the hire blanket back the rental cost will be refunded to you.
  3. If you are still undecided you can extend the hire period for £10 per week.

My hire blanket was sent with the most beautiful light greeny cover already on it (£19.95 to buy) I decided after my trial that I loved the weighted blanket they sent and the cover colour so much that I went on and bought both! (my birthday present from my kind parents).

I love the idea of trialling a weighted blanket in order to see if it’s the right weight and is comfortable for each individual and I liked the idea of not having to commit to purchasing one until I knew if I happy with it or not. My new weighted blanket was sent out SUPER quick and I am about to return my hire one with a pre-paid label in the box it came in which will be super easy!

If you would like to hire a weighted blanket click here. They also do VAT Exemption for people who are chronically sick or have a disabling condition (see their website for more details). Any questions feel free to ask me in the comments below! Also please note this is not a sponsored post at all – I just thought I would write about my experience with Sensory Direct (UK Based).

Stop, drop and roll…

I need this especially from an SPD point of view – anyone else need this too?

Im looking at getting a new weighted blanket that I can use at night time. I’ve had my current one (2.2kg) for a few years now and despite the fact that I love it, its now very old. I hate change. I hate the fact I’m going to get a different blanket and because I’m now much older the blanket should be a different (slightly heavier) weight in relation to my weight/age.

I have contacted a company called sensory direct who are super lovely people and they advised (over the phone) me to go for a 6kg blanket which is adjustable. They allow people to hire a  weighted blanket for 2 weeks to essential try-before-you-buy which is super handy. It costs £29.95 to hire it and if you decide to buy a blanket they put that money towards the cost of the blanket. It all makes a lot of sense really, even though I hate the change!

So I am about to hire a weighted blanket for the first time…keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up blog post to see how I get on! Do you use a weighted blanket or know someone that does? Which weight did you go for? Let me know in the comments below 🙂 Or if you have a question regarding weighted blankets or anything sensory feel free to ask me!

(Please note this is not a sponsored post at all – I just thought I would write about my experience with sensory direct!)