Autism & Sensory Sensitivity

2016-07-18_17-26-54.pngIt has been a while since I put out a post about Autism concentrating primarily on Aspbergers’ Syndrome. This post will be about sensory sensitivity.  Of course, that means being sensitive to sight, touch, taste, sound, and smell and is often a symptom of Autism.

I continue to discover new traits in my life that point me to Aspbergers. This one came from a billboard that I saw several times a month while traveling back and forth from my small town to a larger one with more services and medical options.

Let’s go through the list with my stories:

Sight –  I am a late riser in the winter months and an early riser the rest of the year.  The reason for that is two-fold. One is that I have too much to do around this 3-acre homestead to spend extra cool hours in the morning in bed. 😉 The other one, more relative to this post, is that I can’t sleep in a room filled with any significant amount of light. My eyelids just don’t filter out much light it seems. I am very sensitive to bright and flashing lights. Even TV flashes cause me to wake up from a nap.

Touch – Creases in my bed sheets are a cause of my frequent sleep interruptions.  I am an Apple watch guy now, and it tells me I am an extremely restless sleeper. Another touch sensitivity is that after about six months of use, I have to replace my bath towels as they just get too scratchy.  I could add a few more to the list but I think you get the idea.

Taste & Smell – These are two biggies for me. There are things that just make me wacky in the taste and smell area. I just can’t understand how anyone can put mouthwashes like Listerine in their mouth. The taste and smell are utterly intolerable to me. But something that is even worse is the smell of mint in any form! Whenever I get even a whiff of mint I pretty quickly abandon the area.

It seems that all the oral hygiene manufacturers think that adding mint to their products is a bare necessity! For that reason, I have to special order many toiletry items so they are mint free. If I had a choice between sitting next to a cigarette or even a cigar smoker, or a gum chewer, I would without a doubt chose the smoker. Mint just drives me up a wall.

Sound is usually included in sensory sensitivity but since I am totally deaf I am at least free from that one. 🙂

I recognize that for many on the Autism spectrum these types of things cause a panic meltdown. I am thankful that for me my reaction is not quite as severe.

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A Touch of Austism…

I have previously discovered that I have some characteristics that are identified with Asperger’s Syndrome which is part of the Autism spectrum. As a result, I have been more deeply studying the topic. I don’t call myself an Aspie as I have not been formally diagnosed with that condition but, I am certain  I have common traits with it.

I have recently discovered that there is a LOT of variation in what people say is the definition of autism. Here is a little more about that:

2016-07-18_17-22-29.pngPerhaps we could detach Asperger’s from autism and say that Aspies are different from other autists the way zoologists say that cheetahs are different from leopards. Let us stipulate the obvious: they are different species.

But in my analogy, naming them as different species does not erase the fact that they belong to a broader category called “big cats” or “predatory felines,” and giving Asperger’s a separate name does not erase the fact that there are large areas of overlap with what I call “deeper autism.”

The above was (I repeat) only an analogy. The point intended is to say: we can change our labels and create a more exclusive definition for autism. But the fact remains: the spectrum is broad because it is describing a fundamental reality.

Autism (broadly defined) is much more common than we thought.

Source:  Why is the autistic spectrum so broad and diverse? – Quora

To me, the classifying of autism is in a funk right now. No one knows just how to classify it. There is now a term labeled “Broader Autism Phenotype” (BAP) that describes people who are “sort of ” autistic but still highly functioning. I think that kinda describes me.

I know there are probably some people who have children with severe forms of autism that resent someone who is, for the most part, a fully functioning member of society using the label.  I can relate to that because when I hear that someone is “deaf” I immediately question if they can hear but not fully understand the spoken word. Many with that condition are labeled as “deaf.” when they are really just hearing impaired. There is a world of difference between the two and so I kinda, but really not too much,  resent them saying they are deaf.

Another example might be that someone proclaims they are a cancer survivor when all that entailed was to have a mole removed. To someone who is struggling with lung cancer that is demeaning of their condition.

I don’t know how this will all eventually work out. We can change our labels but as it presently stands autism is a very broad spectrum because it describes a fundamental reality that there are many of us who struggle with life’s social situations.

I will continue to proclaim that I have some Aspie type characteristics but will not call myself an Aspie. I hope I don’t offend those who struggle with this condition much more than I do.