A new drawing and a new podcast episode…✏️🎙

Here is drawing number four (part of a series on our 8 senses, scroll back to see my previous drawings!) ✏️ which is all about auditory processing and dealing with sound….

  • Water flowing is something I find really calming to listen to and grounding, keeping me present in the moment. I love listening to the sea, and running baths whilst sat and listening is something I find very theraputic (to the extent where I’ll ask my family if anyone is planning on having a bath so I can listen!)
  • Surprise noises! Ugh they are the worst and I think alot of people will be able to resonate with me on this one. I’m talking about abrupt fireworks, loud babies and children crying (makes me feel upset / emotional I have no idea why), noisy clocks ticking, loud sneezes, that sort of thing.
  • The sound of nature is fab. Just getting out and away from screens and noisy town traffic for a walk has definitely been something I’ve been enjoying over the past few months. 
  • Noisy eaters…I appreciate a lot of people don’t know that they eat nosily or actually might not be noisy eaters but I LITERALLY PICK UP ON EVERY SOUND around me which is frustrating! Also weird sensory thing: I cannot stand the noise of drinks pouring. I don’t know what it is but I hate the ‘glug’ / ‘glugging’ sound as it pours into a cup – it sets me on edge. 
  • Repetitive sounds, I understand that these are important, such as ambulance sirens, loud halers, fire alarms, they are alerting us to important things. It’s just they can make me jump and feel overwhelmed / unsettled very quickly. I’m an expert at masking this when I am out and about.
  • Music and podcasts are something I naturally gravitate towards. I am definitely more into podcasts than I am music (I get songs stuck in my head very easily which is very annoying so I can never listen to music in the evening otherwise I go to bed with a song on loop in my head!). I like to work and listen to podcasts on loads of different topics such as crime, policing, graphic design, illustration, autism, mental health, self care, science, technology, etc.
  • Construction and building work…again I’m sure lots of people can relate to this one! There is nothing worse sensory-wise then the constant background noise of construction work. It’s unpredictable, varies in noise levels and can mess with my mood instantly.
  • Hearing protection is THE BEST! Ear plugs, earphones, over ear headphones, wireless headphones, ear defenders the list goes on. They can really help surviving in loud environments and blocking out varying levels of sound.

Let me know how you cope with sound and which sounds you love / hate in the comments below!

Also…I released a new podcast episode yesterday…

Episode 23: Special Guest, Allie from @whensouthmetnorth

In this episode I was joined by the the super lovely Allie (@whensouthmetnorth). Allie is an autistic creative and advocate who alongside her current postgraduate study (a masters degree in Education Research at the University of Oxford) is also a research consultant for Neuropool which is a start-up for supporting neurodivergent people run by neurodivergent people. Allie has a special interest in creative writing and is a published poet. She is currently writing a novel and also drafting her first ever play script, which features an autistic protagonist.

So here’s what we chat about:

  • All things autism related…her journey to diagnosis and her autism assessment experience
  • Life throughout secondary school and university and coping in a sensory world
  • We touch on relationships with friends, family and partners
  • And…annoying noises we both can’t tolerate!

Apple Podcasts   Google Play Music  Overcast   Pocket Casts  Spotify

Public Transport Doodle ✏️

Coming back at you with another doodle, this time about coping on public transport! 🚌

I’ve had 3 (day long) training courses in London throughout November (you might have seen some photos on my Instagram Stories which are now under my ‘London Trip’ highlight) 🇬🇧Commuting is hard like generally (I don’t think anybody truly loves commuting especially not long distances) but commuting can be just that bit more difficult for those who have sensory issues and are autistic.

It can be loud (like underground tubes seem to squeal on the tracks in London 24/7…listen below!

Add to that the change in smells, proximity to other people and just general rush everyone in it can be very overwhelming. It’s disorientating at the best of times trying to find your way around train stations, bus stations, airports etc!

So my doodle above includes some things that have helped me before. Of course (as always) I can’t include everything in one small drawing and these thing may not help everyone but I thought I’d share the sensory aids I use. Any top tips for using (or just generally surviving) public transport? 🚃

Products from my doodle:

Steam trains and sensory meltdowns…🚂

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Yesterday I went to see my work friend who volunteers at the weekend on steam trains! (Pretty darn cool right?!) 🚂

She’s been volunteering for 2 years and I’ve being meaning to come and visit her on the railway for ages. I had a bit of a wobble as I missed the first steam train that she was working on that was due to depart at 11am because the car park was so rammed full I had to park elsewhere and walk to the station.

I got upset (it took me an hour to drive and I was anxious to get there okay and this sort of ruined my routine a bit) so after a *little* cry I was fine and went into the town to have a sit down over a hot drink.

SO after I reconvened with myself (lol) and got myself in a better headspace I walked back to the station for my friends 1pm train! I’m so glad I stuck it out because I had such a good time – my friend let me come up onto the actual steam train to look at the engine and meet the rest of the crew.

I’m sharing this because I think it’s important to be honest with you all and to share what a meltdown is sort of like. How do you manage when you get overwhelmed or your routine changes? Let me know in the comments down below ☺️

The world is too loud today 🌍

IMG_0203Hi everyone ☺️ Here’s a quick little doodle I did (which describes a couple of days I’ve had this week!) you know sometimes when the world around you just feels a bit louder then usual? 🔈 It can affect your mood and for us sensory-beings can lead to overwhelm 🌍

I work in an open plan office which can get loud as people pop by each other’s desks to chat 💬 instead of booking meeting rooms. I can deal with this to some degree but sometimes it gets too much and then I know it’s time for a lil’ walk out of the office for a bit or to the toilets just for 5 to get a bit of quiet 🤫

How do you cope when things get too loud for you? 📢

I visited a zoo…🐘

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At the weekend I got to visit a zoo (with my fav person) and I really enjoyed seeing so many different animals that I thought I’d share some photos I took. I haven’t been to a zoo in years.

(Short tragic story: last time I went when I was little I cried profusely during a free elephant feeding session during which an elephant touched my hand which freaked me out. Not cool…and my family remind me of this at every possible opportunity!).

Anyway…it was an interesting environment to visit. Lots of different indoor and outdoor areas and many loud children (not a complaint just an observation!) and lots to see and do. My favourite areas to visit were the incredible sea lion tunnel where we could walk underneath their huge tanks and see them swimming past – check out my @21andsensory Instagram post for the video I took of them.

Also I LOVED visiting the penguins at this particular zoo as we could see them swimming underwater and get up close to them on dry land too! Make sure you click through right to the end for a cute surprise…

Do you have a favourite zoo, park, museum, garden, etc that you like visiting? What’s your fav animal? Comment down below or post an emoji!

The search for noise cancelling headphones…🎧

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You may have seen on my instagram stories that I have recently bought a pair of bluetooth wireless headphones. I’ve been pondering (actually obsessively comparing and watching youtube reviews) on which were the best brand to invest in for months. I haven’t ever owned wireless or noise cancelling headphones but I knew I needed some as soon as more people moved into my office at work. The background noise can get too much and tip me over the edge mood-wise.

So I went for the Sony WH-1000XM3 and I am loving them so far. So it took me a while to unbox them (I’m rubbish at opening new stuff – I still have new shoes I’m struggling to get into!) and I shared the process of unboxing them and pairing them with my phone on my stories (if you’d like to have a look just click on the ‘Sounds’ highlight under my instagram profile).

So far they are SUPER comfy. I was really worried about them sitting funny over my head because of my glasses and the ends of them pinching behind my ears. But I can confirm: they are 10/10 great pick for glasses wearers.

They have active noise cancelling and ambient noise mode settings depending if you are sitting, standing and travelling. ALSO: If you are listening to music and someone comes up to you for a conversation / you walk into a coffee shop to order something you can just place the palm of your hand over the ear cup and instantly hear what’s being said in the place around you! Such a clever feature that also means you don’t have to take your headphones on and off all the time.

I am yet to try them on public transport but even in a quiet environment they’ve been fab. They have 30 hour battery life (38 hours without noise cancelling on), an option to switch to wired connection if they run out of battery and an accompanying app that has oodles of different features and sound configurations to play and test out.

Would you be interested if I did a little review post here on my blog after I’ve used them for a couple of months? Comment down below!