Interoception (inner sense) drawing…🧠

Hello! Here is drawing number six (part of a series on our 8 senses, scroll back in my feed to see my previous drawings!) ✏️ which is all about Interoception which is a lesser known sense that actually helps you understand and fell what’s going on inside your body (think of it as an inner sense)…

  • A sensory diet is important! It’s a way of self regulating (like using fidget and stim toys) and usually involves physical activities like rolling on a yoga ball, having time on a swing or trampoline, heavy work activities like using weights or lifting and carrying things. The idea is a sensory diet helps you to become more grounded as you are getting the regular input that your body needs. As a result you may feel calmer and more in control of your behaviour and mood. I’ve definitely seen the benefits of having a sensory diet (for example I use a therapressure brush to do body brushing which has helped me to desensitise my limbs to touch).
  • I never feel full…like my stomach and brain just doesn’t have that sense wired in..it’s really odd and can be annoying (comment down below with a hands-up emoji to join the club) I experience this even more in restaurants, due to the busy, noisy environment I literally cannot connect to what my stomach is feeling because I am filtering so much other information.
  • Visual cues – these can be super helpful, especially to remind ourselves to do daily tasks like personal hygiene, to drink and eat enough and what to expect during the day. I know a lot of people use social stories (google the term for more info, they were developed by Carol Gray in 1991) as a tool to help with self care skills, social skills, changes in routine, etc. You can make Velcro versions so you can easily change out what your day looks like.
  • Hypersensitivity to pain…if you’re a sensory being you may well be hypersensitive (over-sensitive) to pain…I know I am!! I am very tuned in to pain and when something hurts it REALLY HURTS even if it’s something small like a cut it’ll be super distracting to me. Equally you may be hyposensitive to pain (under-sensitive) and not realise if you are hurt/injured.
  • Grounding exercises – these are super useful when your mind is whirring, thoughts swirling and your heartbeat feels a bit rapid and all over the place. Most smart watches have in-built breathing exercises / apps built into them (e.g Apple Watch does, my Fitbit does too!) and these can be helpful in terms of distraction by looking at something visual and timing your breath along with an animation. Of course there are lots of different grounding exercises, another good one to use when you are overwhelmed is to sit and use your senses to ground you, name a few things you can hear, smell, touch, see, etc. This can diverts your brain and distract you.
  • Alexithymia is a difficulty in recognising emotions and identifying feelings. This is something my autism assessor said she think I might struggle with. I definitely find it super difficult to explain my feelings to others because I genuinely cannot recognise or process my own emotions.

    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. Two more drawings to go in this little series!

Fidget and Stim Toys ✨

I did a little photoshoot with my small box of fidget and stim toys (because why the hell not?). I think I underestimate how helpful these can really be and I forget to use them if they aren’t in my line of sight, which is when I end up biting my nails, bouncing my legs or flicking / fidgeting using my eyelashes and eyebrows.

I appreciate those might sound weird but literally if I have nothing in front of me I somehow unconsciously resort to doing these things which can end up being a little bit destructive. I’ll list the links to the fidgets below (or head over to my YouTube channel and they are linked in an older sensory box video I did)

Most of the fidgets are from Amazon, The Works, Flying Tiger, The Entertainer or direct online stores:

Sight and Visual Processing…👁

Sight and Visual Processing…here is a new drawing (part of a series on our 8 senses, scroll back to see my previous drawings!) ✏️

  • Mood lighting is…THE BEST. I have @philipshue lights in my bedroom and it makes the world of difference especially before bed as it’s such a calming way to unwind rather than having my main light on 💡
  • DO NOT get me started on a rant about fluorescent and neon clothing. I once ranted for a solid few minutes on my podcast (search 21andsensory hehe sneaky plug right there) about a guy who worked in my open plan office who ALWAYS hung his bright yellow fluorescent cycling jacket in my view EVERY DAY. Gees it was too much to handle visually! I knew he was unaware the pain it was causing me but it’s the little things like this that can really affect my mood and ability to generally function! 🚴‍♂️
  • Visual stims such as bubble liquid timers, desktop and fidget spinners are the best! 🙌🏻
  • Lights flashing such as sirens, alarms and cameras can be disorientating and bewildering 🚨🚔📸
  • Bright screens = not okay with me. I always have my screen brightness down whether it’s on my phone, tablet or laptop ☀️😎
  • Aaaah clean and tidy places fill me with joy visually! Tidy room = a tidier(ish) mind for me 😍
  • Okay ewww colourful shelving at supermarkets = NOT cool. I cannot find what I need (cereal aisle, confectionery aisle, you know what I mean) it’s borders on physically painful to walk down these aisles and it messes with my mind trying to process all the colours at once 👀
  • And finally…hello sequins. I have sequinned fidgets, notebook, doorstop and a pillow! I love the sight of sequins especially in sunlight (and the sensory feedback in terms of texture too!) 💚

So there you have it, what do you love and hate in terms of visuals? Comment down below!

Self Isolation Achievements ✅

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Hello everyone, I’m back again, this time with an illustration of some self isolation achievements. I know that all the news on TV and online seems to be constantly swirling around and being updated continually (which is fine) but it can be really difficult not to get anxious, stressed, upset and triggered by it all. I’m trying to hold on to the small positives each day and the little autistic and sensory achievements I have been making along the way.

Why not comment down below any wins or things you’ve done with your time (they can be big or small – everything counts).

I hope you are all doing okay and staying safe (as much as you can be with all this going on).

What design stuff I carry everyday: notebooks, stationary and tech!

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I thought I’d do a post on the everyday bits and pieces I carry around and the journal and notebook I use. I currently have a Vinyl cover weekly/monthly diary A6 size from MUJI – the Left page shows one week while the right page has a grid pattern for taking notes which I love, I usually set up to-do lists on the right side and plan out my days on the left side. I love doing little doodles on the grid side.

I also have a black A5 Moleskine journal with cream blank paper as my notebook / sketchbook. This is where I do all my @21andsensory illustrations in before I then recreate them in Procreate on my iPad Pro (10.5 inch) with my Apple Pencil. I love this little set-up. For my daily design work I use my MacBook Pro (Late 2013 – 13 inch) with the Adobe Creative Cloud suite (Adobe CC).

I have a slight obsession with fine liner pens – my current favs are the muji gel ink ballpoint pen (0.38pt) which you can buy refills for and the Uniball eye ub-157. I also have a ridiculous collection of STABILO black and coloured fineliners too in a range of point sizes.

My clear glasses (London Retro River – Crystal) are from Glasses Direct and they are a new addition to my glasses collection (I have another tortoise shell pair from Glasses direct and a pair I wear daily from Specsavers.)

My little apple earphones are what I use most days, as people stop by my desk at work alot and I can quickly take them out and hear people calling my name (I have a little mirror set up on my desk so I can see people coming so they don’t tap me on the shoulder!) I use my Sony WH-1000XM3 noise cancelling headphones sometimes although they pinch my glasses!

What do you carry along with you daily? Share in the comments down below!

I was interviewed on the ‘Thoughty Auti’ podcast! 🧠

Hey everyone! Last week I was interviewed by the lovely Thomas from @aspergersgrowth on his podcast ‘Thoughty Auti’.

It went live last Saturday so go check it out! It’s everywhere you’d normally listen to podcasts and also on his YouTube channel too! Was such a nice chat and we talked all things sensory and autism related. Let me know what you think 💭

Links to the podcast:

Or search ‘Thoughty Auti’ wherever you usually listen to podcasts!

Aspergers Growth / Thomas’s links:

It’s that time of the year again: Halloween 🎃

It’s that time of the year again: Halloween 🎃 I hope everyone has a Halloween that suits them – whether you are going all out and dressing up, trick or treating or even partying (or if you’re just having a nice quiet night in with a book and a bath!)

I’ve done a little doodle above describing some of the things we autistic / sensory people struggle with when it gets to this time of year 🍂 It can be quite an overwhelming season (Halloween, Bonfire / Firework Night and then the Christmas festivities 😱) it all seems to follow one another in quick succession!

What is stimming? 🤷🏻‍♀️

Hi everyone 👋 this is a post in collaboration with the wonderful @agonyautie. Sara suggested working together on a post together all about stimming and what it looks like visually. Here are some wise words from @agonyautie:

‘Stop shaming stimming. Stimulate yourself through your senses. Have fun, Stim freely, be respectful of others and Stim Shame Free. Make sure to stim safely and stim boldly!’

I’ve tried to visually represent in my two illustrations ✏️ the wide variety of things that can be referred to as stims (which is short for self-regulatory behaviour). Stimming helps a person to self calm and process overwhelming environments. Some stims can be quite subtle such as hair twirling or chewing whereas others are more noticeable and can be destructive such as skin picking (dermatillomania) or hair pulling (Trichotillomania) which can cause damage.

It’s important to recognise that stimming safely (whether you are a child or adult) is okay and not something to ever be ashamed of. It should not be looked down on or discouraged. Go forth and stim freely! 🙌

Link to my original Instagram post here

An important pie chart 🥧

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Hi everyone! Hope you like my important pie chart drawing ✏️ does anyone else have a range of clothes but also just stick to your favourite, old, most worn and comfy clothes? I find it SO hard to wear new clothes and new shoes 👟 (it has taken me actual years to get into new shoes!). It’s so difficult sensory-wise to get used to new clothing 👕 and it always ends up that my clothes have to be washed multiple times before I feel comfortable wearing them…

Do not get me started on itchy / scratchy tags and labels, ugh! They are the worst 😭 how do you cope with clothing and footwear? Any top tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below. Please feel free to share my post on social media platforms but do please credit me @21andsensory thanks!