Every human being, NeuroDivergent or NeuroTypical, has a unique sensory profile. This can vary significantly from person to person, even from Autistic person to Autistic person.
People with sensory processing differences, or sensory sensitive humans, are sometimes referred to as having a sensory processing disorder when this causes problems in our ability to live daily in the world.
If we think of sensory processing and people’s individual sensory profiles, each person has a DJ’s controller board with all the sliders that can go up or down.
The sliders can be adjusted for each of the senses – sight, smell, touch, vision, taste, balance, and how well you feel your body in space.
There is an average range in the middle (where people who are not sensory-sensitive sit), and sensory humans tend to slide up or down from all those averages.
Autistic (and other sensory-sensitive humans) often have sensory profile ranges that usually tend to be on the extreme ends of things (being overly or under-sensitive in various areas of a person’s sensory profile compared to those who are not sensory sensitive).
For those of us who are sensory sensitive, the sensory atmosphere is always top of mind whenever we venture out into the world.
I’m only physically comfortable when I have near complete control over my environment and situation -so I have to be very mindful of the types of circumstances that I am putting myself into.
Suppose I spend too much time in a climate hostile to my senses. In that case, I may become overwhelmed, meltdown, or with repeated extended exposure, I can face serious health side effects (migraines, vertigo spells, and seizures).
One NeuroDivergent person’s idea of pure joy may be torture for the next NeuroDivergent person.
It can vary significantly from person to person. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.
We can have competing/conflicting sensory needs.
If you are a parent who has experienced what it’s like to have young children at home, you may already know this too well.
For example, as I mentioned, I’m susceptible to cold, but my AuDHD is partner more sensitive to heat. I’m also light sensitive, and my partner LOVES (and sometimes needs) big, bright, annoying lights that hurt my eyes.
These are just two of the many compromises we make in our relationship.
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