Hi everyone. Today is World Autism Awareness Day. Within World Autism Awareness Week. Within World Autism Awareness Month. (Phew that’s a lot to get your heads around!)
I’ve felt very split about doing a post centred solely around Autism Awareness Week as I am very aware of the online discussions centred around it and many people mentioning that it should be centred around acceptance and understanding rather than just ‘awareness’ of autism.
It’s a tricky one.
I love how Victoria from @actuallyasplings worded her most recent post, she honestly sums up how I feel too so I’ve pasted what her post said below:
‘This week is Autism Awareness/Acceptance Week, the one week where everyone hypes up the awareness. I’ll be honest though; we do need more awareness, but without acceptance what’s the point? I also think awareness should be all year round, not just April; and I think we should be accepted full stop.
I’ve seen so many puzzle pieces, and so much about AS, and honestly, this is not what we want or need. What we need is appreciation, inclusivity, and support. There are so many wonderful accounts striving for change, using their activism/advocacy to break stereotypes and this is what we need. People need to listen to Autistic voices, rather than try to silence our views. We are here to educate and inform, we have the lived experience and we want people to feel like they can ask questions and learn from us.
By all means, celebrate April how you wish, but please take Autistic people into consideration. Share our accounts, our posts, and more importantly listen to what we are saying’
Victoria did such a great job of describing how I was and still am feeling about World Autism Awareness week. Yes awareness is great but we want and deserve more as Autistic people. We really do deserve acceptance, understanding and respect.
Also just wanted to say that my latest 21andsensory Podcast episode has gone live and you can listen down below! I am uploading them every two weeks at the moment.
In this episode I speak to Glenn who is the manager of Waltham Abbey Focus which is a disability and SEN football team at the top of their game! Glenn chats about all things football-related and we discuss a documentary that’s being made about the team with the intention of raising awareness of disability football, and promoting it as an inclusive sport that can be enjoyed by everyone.
A blog post has just gone live on The Department of Experimental Psychology website to coincide with World Autism Week as a useful resource to help people better understand what it means to be an autistic person with sensory processing difficulties.
Hi everyone I’m back again with another lil’ drawing of a very sensory based grounding technique I find useful when I am anxious. You may of heard of it before, it’s usually referred to as the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. I find it useful because I am (obviously) a highly sensitive individual and it distracts me to tune into each sense separately (might be hard to do in a busy situation but I find it helps in most other situations!). It just turns your thoughts entirely to your senses and off cycling and worrying thoughts even if it’s only briefly. Below are some pointers that might help you…
👁 Really look for 5 things you can see: what’s in front of you? Really look and pick out some small details, maybe it’s a wooden surface which you can see the grain of, your own hands and your fingerprints, the fabric of some curtains and the way they hang, the specific colour within something like a hanging picture, what’s pleasing or not so pleasing to look at?
✋ Feel 4 things with your hands or even feet as you walk (please be careful in these COVID times with this though!) the fabric of your own clothes, the seat you are on, if outside the grass or pavement or brick wall you pass by. Even just the sensation of your feet within your shoes, try and really tune into that feeling.
👂Acknowledge 3 things you can hear right now. Can you hear traffic in the distance? Conversations going on a couple of rooms away? What can you tune into? Even if it’s a ticking clock, sound of a pet pottering about…
👃 What 2 things can you smell? Maybe it’s your own deodorant, perfume or aftershave…or someone else’s? Or the smell of a room, cooking smells, air freshener or cleaning smells, etc. Is there any sort of smell to the air surrounding you?
👅 Can you taste anything? Even if it’s a drink you’ve just had or something you’ve eaten is there any taste at all in your mouth?
Above is a link to a livestream that I am going to be doing this Saturday 27th at 7pm UK time. Please join me in the live chat and feel free to ask any questions!
I really enjoy doing these as it gives me a chance to speak to everyone and answer anything you might be wondering about. Also I get to just chill with my fidget toys and recommend good ones that you all might like!
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.
DISCLAIMER: Whilst all opinions are 100% my own, sometimes I use affiliate links in my description box and feature products that were kindly gifted to me (using *). I will always disclose when I work with a brand on any paid campaign.
Hi everyone. I did a series of drawing on Masking and Camouflaging as an autistic person (see slideshow above!) So what actually is masking? Masking involves trying to hide being autistic so others will accept us. It’s also referred to as camouflaging. This means we act in ways that other people will think we are ‘normal’ and to try and be accepted socially.
I usually don’t include a lot of wording in my work but I had lots to say about this topic and could have made more designs! Image description is in the individual image alt text on my Instagram post here
I’d love to know what you think and if you relate to anything I mentioned, feel free to comment down below! And yes I have been in a situation before when a hospital consultant (yes really) told me I didn’t look autistic 👀 honestly baffling.
Also just want to mention I’ve got a new 21andsensory Podcast episode going live tomorrow at 1pm U.K. time with the lovely @zara.bethx who last night hit 1 million followers on her TikTok account which was a huge achievement! So make sure you tune in via Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you usually get your podcasts!
Hi everyone! Here is a new drawing I did explaining how change can affect autistic / neurodiverse people and those with sensory issues. Below I’ve summed up some positives and negative parts about change. So here’s the little explanation of each doodle!
• Organising and labelling: I LOVE TO ORGANISE. It makes not only my space feel tidier but my mind too and I am able to more freely think. Also when it comes to paperwork I have dedicated separate folders for life admin, finances, freelance stuff, autism research, etc and although it took me a while to set-up it’s totally worth it in the long run! Now I don’t have to frantically search through paperwork to find things and dividers and my label maker = my best friends.
• Products that change: OMG do not get me started on thisssss. I will rant. Here goes. WHY DO PRODUCTS HAVE TO CHANGE? My safe foods get changed in the form of packaging or recipe and it just causes absolute chaos in my head. Also my shampoo changed its ingredients and branding / look and feel a while ago and I was NOT OKAY. I know many people like to buy products and clothing in bulk or multiples because they know it works well for them and they don’t want to find them gone the next time they go back.
• Cleaning up at home: Again a bit like organising things this gives me a sense of purpose and it’s a nice change to see in your house when everything has it’s own place and you know where to find things. I like dusting and cleaning my shelf’s and workspace regularly just to keep it clean!
• Last minute change: UGH. I hate when plans change last minute or something or someone cancels on you when you’ve sort of worked yourself up for something social. I know this is probably happening less as a whole due to the pandemic but even if one one cancels an appointment or video call with me its really unsettling.
• Decorating and painting: I am TRULY AWFUL when it comes to this. I find a change in my immediate environment HUGELY distressing. It took me ages to liking our family bathroom once it was renovated and it didn’t feel like my comfortable space anymore. I just hate visual change and I cannot describe my emotions or feelings (alexithymia) at all it’s just complete shutdown / meltdown inducing.
• New special interests…ARE THE BEST! It’s a good sort of change as you become deeply focused into a new topic and dive deeper into random wormholes and research avenues and truly loose and immerse yourself in information!
• Change in smell / scent: Again this is not cool. I can’t use an air freshener in my car because it’s so overwhelming to have such a strong scent in such an enclosed space and I stick to one detergent religiously because I can only stand that smell when it comes to my clothes (I even take it on trips with me I’m that rigid with it).
• Seeing growth: This can be both mentally and physically. If I try and challenge myself with a small bit of change I do see some growth in terms of succeeding at something I found difficult.
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!