Our Autism Story – Day 6 – “Sensory Issues”
Brahm interprets many aspects of his world very differently than many people. This is particularly true when it comes to sensory issues. Brahm under reacts to some things. For example, he doesn’t feel pain and he can’t sense the feeling of needing to use the bathroom. Brahm can’t tell us if he’s feeling ill or if he hurt himself.
On the other hand, Brahm severely over reacts to many things. He has an incredibly difficult time in crowded and/or noisy places. And, noise to him isn’t just music or people talking – it can be the subtle sound of a furnace or a motor running. This makes it really difficult to do “normal” family things like going to a restaurant.
Brahm has proprioception issues, where he can’t feel where his body ends and his environment begins. Brahm will often push his feet, head, or body against walls, floors, and other objects to “feel” his body. He had a really difficult time sitting on a plane because his feet couldn’t push up against anything other than the back of the seat in front of him, and I’m sure you can guess how that went!
Brahm’s biggest sensory issue is often visual. He has an incredibly difficult time when he is around a large number of people. This can include family events where he knows everyone. In these situations, it is visually too much (and too many people) for him to handle.
We have tried a bunch of things to help with all of Brahm’s sensory issues, including noise canceling headphones (to block crowd noise), baseball hat and sunglasses (to block some of his vision), therapy swings, chewys, heavy blankets, heavy vests, ankle weights, and compression shirts. These things definitely help – We panic any time we forget to pack the headphones! But, it also means we travel with at least one giant duffle bag of stuff everywhere we go!