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

A Sensory Book Review: ‘Baking for Dave’

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I have managed to finish the book ‘Baking for Dave’ (see my previous blog post – I’m known for my slow reading and slow processing speed so apologises for the wait!) so here is my book review…

Okay so firstly let me give you a little background in terms of the characters and storyline. The book is centred around a young girl called Iris Heller. Iris is 15 years old and has Sensory Processing Disorder. She finds it hard to cope with the outside world and becomes easily overwhelmed by lots of things such as loud noises, new places, meeting people, ordering at restaurants and changes in the weather.

Iris has coping mechanisms she uses in these situations such as humming, beatboxing, and making musical contraptions out of items around her. Iris lives with her mum Maisy but the book focuses on her quest to compete in a national bake-off contest. It’s the getting there that proves challenging though…

I don’t want to spoil the book incase you’d like to read it but below is a brief story description of the book taken from Amazon:

Iris Heller runs away to compete in a national bake-off contest. In order to get there, she “borrows” her mum’s car, travels through several states, and does the most terrifying thing of all — interacts with actual people! Iris has never been like other girls, but she’s not about to start letting that get in the way.

Iris has this profound fascination for the musician Dave Matthews, and she feels a compelling need to compete in the bake-off for Dave. It is this talent that gets noticed at several road stops along the way, which leads to her inevitable “gone viral” glory. At a donut shop, Iris sings like an angel. At a coffee shop, she plays a symphony using cups and the soda fountain. At a restaurant, she builds a glorious musical fountain out of dishes and pans. 

Iris’ mum (Maisy) and her best friend Eric set out to find Iris. All lives converge at Happy World, the Disney-esque paradise, where the bake-off takes place…

This book is absolutely ideal for anybody to read whether you have or know somebody with Sensory Processing Disorder or not! Also brilliant if you know someone who is a little bit sensory or autistic so I highly recommend to parents, carers, guardians, teachers, therapists and everyone in between.

I will be honest and say that I found it hard to read sometimes because of the sensory things mentioned so I stuck to reading it in small chunks and often. Iris tackles the most terrifying thing of all – interacting with new people along her journey. What I love about Iris is that although she is not like other girls, she doesn’t once let her sensory problems get in the way of her ambitions. Her family, friends and even new people she meets along her journey do their very best to try and accommodate her quirks and understand her more deeply which really was refreshing to read.

I was worried about how the book would end (what can I say, I hate a sad or happy ending I get emotional either way!) but this book surprised me by ending (no spoilers promise) in just the right way and it tied everything together nicely.

So what did I think overall? I saw so much of myself in Iris’s character. The way she struggles with new environments and forgets to breathe is a bit like me too! I learnt a lot from the main character actually, she comes across as the most genuine kind-hearted girl who brings the best out of the world and situations around her without knowing it. Despite the fact her life has been one of isolation and misunderstanding, she really does find out just how much she is loved in the end – definitely worth a read!

Buy a copy of the book in the UK here and in the US here

Note: I was given this review copy of the book free (which was super kind) but everything I have written really is my honest opinion ☺️

 

Sensory Book Review: Sneak Peek

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So the super lovely people at Sensory World (an American publisher who specialises in books on autism and sensory issues) have published a new title called Baking for Dave – a story of sensory processing, challenging yourself, and cupcakes!

In the UK, Eurospan is the distributor for Sensory World books, and they very kindly sent me a copy of the book to review! I am currently half way through the book (I’m a slow reader – sorry!) but I will be doing a review on my blog once I finish it – so keep your eyes peeled! 👀

Here’s a little bit about Melissa Palmer, the author of the book:

Melissa Palmer is a writer, nerd, baker, part-time kitchen dancer, and full-time mom. She pulls from her experiences with her own daughters — the two superheroes who shape and guide her life — to create the world and characters seen in Baking for Dave. 

Buy a copy of the book in the UK here and in the US here

200 Blog Posts!

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My last post discussing being sensational was my 200th post on my blog! I also now have over 260 subscribed followers of my blog so I thought I would take the opportunity to thank everyone for following – it means a lot that people actually read what I say and I absolutely love reading the emails and comments I get.

Don’t forget to check me out on Twitter and Instagram: @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!

Sensory Q&A Answers!

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Thanks everybody for your awesome questions! I got quite a few and I have answered them all individually below:

Which Disney character is your favourite?  What’s your favourite pizza topping.  What’s your #1 sensory nightmare?  #Thanks! From @adam62139
Hi Adam! Thanks so much for your question! Oooooh thats a difficult one. I am actually not a massive fan of disney (*hides from disney superfans*) I find disney films too much to handle emotion-wise because I cry at happy and sad parts! Butttttt if I had to choose a character I would maybe say Pip from the film Enchanted (2007). Pip is a chipmunk who is ADORABLE and I can do a great high pitched squeaky impression of him. I think Pip is small, challenged by the big outside world but is brave and tries to be fearless which is a bit like me…
I love PIZZA! I only eat margarita pizza though so my favourite topping is just cheese 😀
OOOOOOOH. Hard question there! I would say my number one sensory nightmare is being in a loud environment. E.g it could range from a concert environment to a loud restaurant! I am just awful with noise.
Have you used weighted blankets? If so, did you increase the weight of it as you grew?  Did you ever stop using it? From @mikeblair3
Hello! And YES. I love my weighted blanket and have used one since I was about 8ish years old. I got my current one from Sensory Direct (UK) on their website it states that:

‘One of the generally accepted principles of calculating the correct blanket weight is to take 10% of the users body weight and then add a pound. eg – if you have a child that weighs 5 stone this equate to 70lbs (5 x 14). Take 10% of 70lbs = 7 add a further 1 = 8lb blanket’

I definitely increased the weight as I grew as I found I needed more pressure and a longer blanket as I grew! I have done a blog post on my experience hiring and then buying a weighted blanket which might help further here

I unfortunately suffer a lot with night sweats so I find especially in the hotter months I have to sleep without it. I put my weighted blanket (in its own cover) over the top of my existing duvet.

Do you use any other tools or equipment to help? From @sensarounduk via Twitter
Hi! Good question – I have a Sensory DIY box that I use quite a lot. I find brushing my body really helps me and my mum is forever reminding me to do more brushing as part of my ‘sensory diet’. Sometimes I find a real need to walk and bang into walls and interact with the space (with my arms crossed over my chest so it doesn’t hurt) so I find things like walls are great for sensory input. Occupational therapy also works absolute wonders and equipment like awesome hanging swings, yoga balls, etc are also great for spatial awareness and getting sensory feedback. I also adore my ear defenders which are noise cancelling and help me cope in the world.
Hey! I have two questions, I don’t know if you’ve written about these things before here, but here they are: Do you use a time management or task management system? If yes, did it help with SPD? From M.O via comments.
Hi! Thats a great question. I literally LOVE managing my time and using to-do lists, schedules and mobile apps to help me be more organised. I use apps such as IOS Notes, Evernote, To-doist, Google Docs/Sheets, iCal and the IOS Reminder app to name a few! I also love to create mind maps and draw things to remind myself of objects, etc. Let me know if there are any good things you recommend or know of!

Do you feel scared when you have a melt down, not to be in control of your body? xxx From Many of Us 1989 via comments.

Hi! I do feel very scared and also very very alone when I have a meltdown because I cannot explain how I am feeling or acting. I can only express myself in physical emotions which is usually in the form of crying. Crying obviously draws attention to me which means I get asked a lot of questions but I can’t answer them as my body is effectively logging off and shutting down like a computer!If you look on the National Autistic Societies website theres a great quote: ‘If I get sensory overload then I just shut down; you get what’s known as fragmentation…it’s weird, like being tuned into 40 TV channels.’ This is exactly how I feel!

What are you most over and under sensitive to and what are your copping strategies? From Chrissie via comments.

Hey Chrissie! I am most oversensitive to:

  • Loud noises
  • New foods or anything with any herbs or spices
  • Sudden or unexpected touch
  • Most smells that aren’t neutral and I dislikes people with distinctive perfumes, shampoos, etc.
  • Most textures (even underfoot when walking!)
  • New environments
  • Crowded places
  • Bright or flickering lights
  • Supermarkets – they are too colourful with all the products!
  • I have an inability to cut out sounds like background noise, leading to difficulties concentrating.
  • I have a low / no existent pain threshold (even though I don’t think I do because everything that hurts REALLY HURTS to me!)
  • I can only tolerates certain types of clothing or textures.
  • And much, much more that I can’t think of right at the moment!

Under sensitive:

  • To the space around me. I cannot walk in a group of people – I constantly bash and walk into others!
  • I have to have tight hugs and use a weighted blanket because I find touch very difficult.
  • I have the need to rock and swing to get some sensory input.