a blog by an autistic adult

Category: Sensory

When people ask me certain questions…

Person: So are you a sensory seeker or sensory avoider?

Me: ……. um what does that mean exactly?

Them: Well do you like squishing things in your hands?

Me: Like raw meat? No.

Them: How about babies?

Me: I don’t think you’re supposed to squish babies.

Them: But do you like them?

Me: On a case my case basis. I’m not sure what this has to do with anything…

Them: Do you like wind?

Me: There are people who like wind? What do they like about it?

Them: Do you like loud music?

Me (five minutes later): I’m going to need to know what people like about wind before I can concentrate on any more questions. And in case you were wondering, I don’t like these questions.

Also me: Where’s my fluffy blanket? WHO MOVED MY FLUFFY BLANKET?

i think i will avoid you from now on

(because the whole time I’m just thinking other things like am I supposed to just be one thing or another? Are you planning on torturing me later and you’re trying to figure out the best way? Will you be running this survey with every autistic person you meet or am I the token chosen one and you’re going to write an article about why we are all weird based on my answers? Can I still like my blanket if you decide I am a sensory avoider?)

It still smells!

Image is a screenshot from the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry's car has an odor that won't go away. Jerry is in his car making a disgusted face and saying "It stills smells!"

Image is a screenshot from the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry’s car has an odor that won’t go away no matter how many times he washes it. Jerry is in his car making a disgusted face and saying “It stills smells!”

I thought I was being clever two days ago when I took a chair someone had placed on the street for trash day. It appeared that they were moving and threw away various items they no longer wanted. The chair was in fine shape and is the perfect size for my desk.

I have had a headache since and realized today that the chair smells of perfume or air freshener or something. I’ve cleaned it with everything I have and it still smells. I feel like I’m in a Seinfeld episode. (Anyone remember this episode? Where Jerry’s car smells so bad that he can’t get rid of the odor?)

I tried vinegar, alcohol, furniture polish, lemon essential oil, and lavender soap. Nothing worked.

Although I really liked the chair, I came to terms with the thought that I will have to put it back outside. I can’t keep being around something that has such an odor that it makes me sick. I would have put it back outside yesterday, but I live in an apartment and there are rules about leaving furniture outside. I can’t put it back out there until trash day.

In the meantime, people on my Facebook page have been kind enough to help me with more ideas. I am currently wrapping it in large trash bags with baking soda as suggested by someone on my page. I put some coffee grounds in there also as I read online that that might help.

Realistically at this point I’m just trying to live with it until I can throw it away. But it would be nice if this final method works and I am able to keep the chair.

Although I have always been sensitive to smells, it still amazes me how an odor can affect me.

I have learned one very important lesson from this; I’m not taking any furniture I find outside anymore. LOL

Sensory Issues

aspergers sensory issues adults

A few days ago I participated in #autchat, a Twitter chat for autistic people. (I’m kind of new to Twitter, but you can follow me at @aspified.) The topic of the #autchat was sensory issues. As an autistic adult, I have experienced various sensory problems that I know others with autism face such as feeling overwhelmed by bright lights and loud noises, strong smells, itchy clothing, etc. But it was nice to be in a chat with other autistic adults who share the unique sensory issues I deal with. I later participated in a similar chat within a Facebook group about autistic sensory differences.

I thought I would share some of the sensory issues I could relate to on the blog, because I thought it might help some people and also because I know that not everyone uses Twitter or Facebook.

1) Not being able to drive because of sensory overload.

2) Not wanting children because of not being able to handle crying and/or not functioning well when interrupted from sleeping.

3) Not being able to focus on what people are saying when in a group of people due to background noise, lights or smells.

4) Feeling overloaded in the presence of too many people, even if the people are being quiet.

5) Being able to smell and hear things that no one else seems to smell or hear.

6) Not being able to concentrate if there is a fan blowing or wind coming through the window.

7) Certain sounds can make our skin hurt.

8) Uncomfortable clothing causing a headache.

9) Having a reaction to a common over-the-counter medication that doesn’t usually give side effects.

10) Feeling irritated and overloaded by noises we can’t control, such as constant construction outside our homes.

11) Enjoying hanging upside down from a couch or bed and/or putting our heads on the ground.

12) Having people think we’re exaggerating or ignoring them because we are distracted by background noise or things no one else can hear.

What other sensory differences or sensory-seeking things do you experience as an autistic adult?

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