Autism NeuroDiversity and Sensory Processing – an Autistic perspective on SPD

Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on July 18, 2022. The video’s public release will be September 21, 2022.


Welcome back to the channel, Lyric here.

I am a late diagnosed, multiply NeuroDivergent, adult. I’m Autistic. I’m also ADHD.

For me, that comes with having sensory processing differences, that really can be inconvenient, to say the least, in the NeuroTypical world, that hasn’t been designed for brains like mine.

If you’d like to know more about sensory processing differences, and the impact that this can have on NeuroDivergent brains, please do stay tuned.

Every single human being, whether they are NeuroDivergent, NeuroTypical, Autistic, non-Autistic, has their own unique sensory profile.

 I like to describe this as, either a music, or a DJ sound controller board, because in my head a lot of things are related to music.

If we have this little sound controller board, that has all these little slider knobs that go up and down, up and down, up and down. We could place all of the senses on this slider.

Each person will have their own board. We have sound, sight, touch, taste, balance, being able to feel where your body is in space. Things like that, are all on unique sliders.

You can take any of these knobs and slide them, up to where they are more intense, or down to where they are less intense.

People who have sensory processing differences, Autistic People, NeuroDivergent People, and some others, are gonna have those slider knobs to where they are out in the extreme ends of being more sensitive, or less sensitive, to the given stimuli.

Whereas people who are considered, air quotes, “sensory average”, NeuroTypical, those who do not have sensory processing differences, are gonna be more in this middle average, to where sensory things tend to be less distressing to them.

That’s not to say that people who don’t have sensory processing differences won’t have particular sensory experiences that they do find overwhelming, because sensory processing differences are something that are vast among the human spectrum, not just Autistic and NeuroDivergent People.

However, Neuro Divergent People, tend to be in those extreme ends of things, where we are more sensitive, or less sensitive, to sensory stimuli.

Often, when talking about sensory processing differences, we will talk about sensory aversions, sensory overloads, and sensory protection the most. That’s because there are some things in the environment, that people who are sensory sensitive can find downright painful, even torturous. When we are exposed to things that are overwhelming to our brain, it can literally cause us to feel as if we are about to be assaulted, or we are in physical danger.

The message inside our head is saying, “get away, get away, get away, get away, get away, run!”

Sometimes we are unable to get away and run from whatever sensory input is, triggering that get away, escape get away.

When we’re stuck in situations with sensory things that are hostile to our senses, it can cause additional problems.

Sensory overload, and sensory related meltdowns, we hear about frequently because, often, with NeuroDivergent People, things that are talked about most, by people who are not NeuroDivergent, are the things that inconvenience NeuroTypical People.

Autistic and NeuroDivergent People having sensory overload can be confusing to someone looking in from the outside.

These sensory issues can cause serious problems. I’m gonna speak from personal experience, as someone who has a very sensitive nervous system.

When I was unaware that, fluorescent lighting is a very big trigger, I had recurrent migraines for most of my life.

With continued exposure to fluorescent lighting, after the migraines come… seizures, if I continue to expose myself to fluorescent lighting.

Other things that sensory overload can cause, and have caused in me, personally, would be: exhaustion, just from constantly being in that state of fight flight flee, need to get away, need to escape from the sensory hostile experiences I kept encountering, in the physical world.

I said the migraines seizures… uh, I was diagnosed with IBS, because when you have adrenaline pumping through your body, it messes with your stomach and your digestive system.

I was nauseous, and not eating, because I wasn’t hungry, because my, my, my digestive system was shut down all the time, because I was constantly in fight flight. It had major impacts on my digestion.

It has major impacts on my sleep, because those fluorescent lights that really amp me up, so I’m like amped up all the time, amped up all the time, makes it hard for me to fall asleep, makes my sleep very disturbed, and restless, kind of asleep, where I can’t fall asleep.

Then, because I spend all night trying to fall asleep, and not getting enough sleep, I’m very tired and exhausted.

All of this is a health impact caused by sensory issues. These are just the ones I’ve experienced personally.

If you’re someone who experiences sensory processing differences, difficulties, I’d love for you to share if there have been health impacts that that has had on your life, because we don’t talk about this stuff enough.

A lot of people never put together that sensory distress can cause stomach trouble, or migraines, or all of these other things.

Taking sensory issues into consideration, and avoiding my own personal sensory triggers, has been something that, I feel, has been instrumental in me getting my mental, and my physical health, back on track, because I’m not sick all the time, from constantly having adrenaline pumping through my body, and constantly being just amped.

When I was a young person, I didn’t know I was Autistic… nobody knew I was Autistic, but my sensory issues often were labeled as air quotes, “behavioral problems”.

For example, me avoiding sensory trigger triggers, crawling under my desk, to avoid the bright fluorescent lighting that were bright, it hurts my eyes.

I was crawling under the desk to get away from that, and I would get in trouble for that, or stimming, to counteract all of the noise in the classroom, talking to myself and singing to myself, when the other kids were being loud or overwhelming. I was punished and scolded for that for sensory seeking or avoiding sensory triggers.

It was labeled “behavioral problems” or as me being impulsive and being unable to stay in my seat, or being able to control myself, as a young person.

I had sensory needs that were not being met. I now, as an adult, understand that sensory seeking, and sensory aversion, is really important, and have used that to create my own version of a sensory diet.

Something that is really common, if you are an Autistic person working with an Occupational Therapist.

Knowing your own unique sensory profile intimately, being aware, and understanding your own sensory triggers, avoiding those, wearing sensory protection around things that are a sensory hostile situation.

For example, sunglasses indoors, if I am going around fluorescent lighting, or limiting my time in those types of spaces, or wearing noise canceling headphones around busy places, and where there is too much sound input.

Also, embracing my need to sensory seek and to move. I’m someone that needs a lot of physical movement to stay balanced and calibrated, and my brain working the way it should.

If I am actively engaging in sensory seeking, filling my own sensory needs, going out for walks, wrapping myself in a blanket to stay warm, eating crunchy foods, like ice, and doing these things that fill my senses in a positive way… it is better for my life, and ties into the impact that sensory processing can have on stimming.

For example, if I haven’t done a good job, filling my sensory quota, and going out and moving, and dancing, and spinning, and listening to music, and getting physical, and doing all the things that I know I, personally, need to do, as my own sensory diet.

If I don’t do those things, I start to stim more in ways that are not great, more chewing on my lips, and the inside of my mouth, and my fingers, because I have all of this extra energy pined up inside me, from getting amped up.

When those sensory triggers amp me up, I need something to bring that energy back down, and to get some of that energy out. Being aware of how I’m feeling, if I’m feeling like I’ve got too much energy in my body from the sensory world, that’s always coming and go get some of that energy out.

Or if I’m feeling like I don’t have enough sensory input, and I need more sensory input, it’s getting the right sensory input that can actually energize me and using my sensory diet to power me through the day.

All right all, thanks for hanging out with me this week.

Do you have sensory processing issues? Differences? If so, I’d love for you to share what your biggest triggers are, and also, how do you sensory seek?

What are sensory situations that you find pleasant and enjoyable?

Because sensory stuff is not all bad. There are certain sensory situations that can be blissful, just as much as there are sensory situations that can be torturous. I’d love to hear about both the experiences.

This video was more dealing with the struggles, and difficulties that sensory issues can have. Drop a comment. Let me know your thoughts.

Thank you so much for hanging out. Thank you for sharing your comments. Thank you for sharing these videos. Your support is what makes this blog possible.

Also, thanks to the Patreon supporters, YouTube channel members, Facebook subscribers, and the Twitter, super followers, who do that little monetary subscription to help me fund this blog, paying for things like website hosting, transcriptioning software, the technology on which these videos are filmed.

All of this would not be possible without the help of viewers like you. So I’m really grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for making this possible.

I will see you next week. Bye.


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With gratitude,

– Lyric

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