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My first entry; a blog post on the importance of having a sensory space when you have Asperger Syndrome.

Overstimulation. I don’t know of anyone on the spectrum who doesn’t deal with this, and when left alone, it can lead to a meltdown fairly quickly.  For me, there are times I still melt down but one thing that has helped immeasurably has been creating a sensory space.  For me, it is in my office.  I have a tag I hang on my door to let everyone know I need sensory time.  I keep my projects in here, as restoring furniture is my catharsis, but I also have a weighted blanket, an eye mask, black curtains, earplugs, and lots of sensory equipment (Stress balls, foam pillows, things I can safely squeeze, hit, throw, etc).

I can’t put into words what this space means to me or what it means for my family and my ability to lead a normal life.  Even if you have to create sensory space in your bedroom, create it somewhere and create a signal to those in your house that you need time alone, uninterrupted.  The value is really beyond words, even if you really use it… and that’s the thing.  With a quiet space where you can decompress with some regularity, you will see a huge decrease in how often you need to use the space to prevent meltdowns.

Just my two cents, but I highly recommend it.

Originally posted to AspergerSurvival on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:22 PM PST.

Also republished by KosAbility.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for this. I have a family member who has (11+ / 0-)

    Asperger's Syndrome and information like this is very helpful for me. In the future, when he comes to visit, I will make sure he gets a room of his own where he can retreat.

  •  I'm "barely an aspie" according to my (12+ / 0-)

    psychiatrist.  Bad florescent lighting is the bane of my existence.   That and strong smells.  I'd rather spend five minutes nude outside in Antarctica than five minutes in the detergent isle at the grocery store.  The gf is pretty much forbidden from wearing perfume or nail polish.  

    I love heavy blankets.

    I don't get overstimulated by loud music though.  In fact I love it, most likely because it blocks out all competing audio stimuli.

     

    We want to build cyber magicians!

    by VelvetElvis on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:58:35 PM PST

    •  Same here... (9+ / 0-)

      Before I was diagnosed, I always told whoever I was in a relationship with that I absolutely require daily alone time.  I MUST have it or I go insane.  Little did I know why I desperately need it.  
      Another problem is how easily I snap awake at the slightest sound.  The skin of my ears are too sensitive to put plugs in them so everyone around me has adapted to be really quiet at night.  I really appreciate it when they try to work with me.

      What's the difference between the Federal government and organized crime? One's legally sanctioned.

      by FrankenPC on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:49:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  trying again (0+ / 0-)

      I replied to this, but it didn't post. I think because I didn't include a subject.  I am very new here and still learning.

      We are definitely on the same page with fluorescent lighting and the detergent aisle, and my poor daughter has to paint her nails on the porch because of the smell issue.  I also hate the candle store in the mall because you can smell it from the hallway.

      My weighted blanket is a godsend.  They were too expensive to buy, so my dear wife actually bought two types of Star Trek fabric, some weighted beads, and a sewing machine and embarked on the hellish mission of making me the ultimate weighted blanket.  It has saved me from so much overstimulation.

      I do the loud music thing sometimes, too.  I think it works like the blanket does- providing so much stimulation that other stimuli fall to the wayside.  I don't know.  But it works.  Especially in my headphones.

      Please check out my book on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-M-Day/e/B00IKR95D8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

      by AspergerSurvival on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 11:20:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting (6+ / 0-)

    My little brother's an aspie, and I'm still trying to figure out how to interact with him and understand him on his level. Any diary I can get my hands on, with this perspective, is a good diary.

    T'd 'n R'd.

    TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D)

    by Le Champignon on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:21:07 PM PST

    •  thank you (0+ / 0-)

      Feel free to ask questions if you like or to message me, and I can post diaries that answer or address them more in-depth.  If it is an issue for you, it is probably an issue for other readers with a loved one on the spectrum and has probably been an issue I have addressed in my personal life.  I'd love to help provide some insight that would help you and others and thank you for the input.

      I am new here... what does T'd and R'd mean?

      Please check out my book on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-M-Day/e/B00IKR95D8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

      by AspergerSurvival on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 11:16:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am very sensitive to qualities of color and (5+ / 0-)

    light and sound. Bad florescent lights...yeah. I much prefer to shop online because so many stores have those. White walls make me stressed and twitchy. Texture helps, but I much prefer a good medium well-saturated color to anything light. And ahh, the bliss that is heavy blankets! I sometimes have my boyfriend just lay on top of me.

    I'm not fully Asperger or autistic, but I've got a lot of the quirks and have one kid also vaguely on the spectrum and one birth child who is fully autistic, and my father would have been diagnosed in a heartbeat.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:47:25 PM PST

  •  Excellent first diary, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamamorgaine, FloridaSNMOM, WakeUpNeo

    and welcome to Daily Kos! I personally don't know anyone on the spectrum but a lot of people here on DK do, so I'm sure your series is a welcome addition to our diary library.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:10:13 AM PST

  •  Absoutely (4+ / 0-)

    Aspie here and I have sensory overload sometimes too. Hearing announcements over supermarket speakers and having a radio play at the same time a TV is on is likely to drive me nuts. I also need a bubble of space whenever I leave my apartment but that may have more to do with my obsessive compulsive disorder.

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:21:16 AM PST

  •  My son is the same way... his space is his room. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo

    And when someone is visiting he will politely excuse himself to some alone time in his room. He has all his tools in there as well.

    A friend of the family recently invited him along on a 4 day canoe trip up the river, and I had to turn it down. I suggested he take him for a couple of hours sometime, just him and Draco. 4 days would be WAY too long without him getting some sensory alone time, and I'm afraid he'd wander off to be alone and get lost in the National forest. Said friend means well, but has no idea about autism.

    It hurts sometimes the things he misses out on. But letting him go into a situation that he can't handle is just asking for trouble. Melt down on a canoe or being lost in the woods? No thank you.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 06:33:49 AM PST

  •  You have found a receptive audience here, (3+ / 0-)

    AspergerSurvival. I hope you keep on posting diaries, and clearly others do too. Thanks.

    Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 06:40:13 AM PST

  •  I myself am on the autism spectrum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo

    my disorder isn't aspergers per se, its called pervasive Development Disorder, but in any event its very similar. Like aspies, I like having " personal space' and having stuff ' just so'. I don't do well in crowds, as I can lose track of people. the things that interest me, like sports, movies, history or trivia, lets just say i'm a fountain of info. but that stuff that doesn't interest ne , I don't care about. for example if you asked me to change a flat tire , I couldn't do it. but i'm a high-functioning autistic, so I can work, and be reliable at it . there are others who have more severe cases, that cant work, and require round the clock care.

  •  Overstimulation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight

    can also be a serious problem for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), post traumatic stress, and various other neurological conditions.

    We can learn a lot about coping and thriving from one another --- so thank you for this helpful diary, AspergerSurvival.

  •  Thanks everyone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    Thank you all for your comments and for being so welcoming.  I was nervous posting here for the first time, and it is nice to have a receptive (and understanding) audience. I would love to keep posting and hope to learn to navigate the site better so that I can find other diaries (my wife told me about this site's diary feature).  I also need to find out how to tell when I have comments, because I just came back to my diary for the first time and found  16 of them... would have loved to converse with you all a bit more personally.

    As you can see, I tend to ramble.  I apologize.  I just wanted to say thank you and I hope that my writings and ramblings entertain, educate, or even just resonate with you.

    Please check out my book on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-M-Day/e/B00IKR95D8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

    by AspergerSurvival on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 10:24:49 AM PST

  •  unrelated question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    I am new here, and first, eternally thankful again for all of you reading and commenting on this.  I have been through all of the settings I can find and cannot seem to find a way to be notified when someone comments on my diary. If there is a way, can someone tell me?  I am still learning to navigate here.

    Please check out my book on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-M-Day/e/B00IKR95D8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

    by AspergerSurvival on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 11:23:41 AM PST

    •  Sorry, DKos doesn't offer any easy way to know. (0+ / 0-)

      When I return to the site, I click on Diaries (top of right-hand column under Welcome Back). That takes me to a blog view of my diaries. Underneath the title of the diary is a line that includes, at the end, the words Comments followed by a number, a backslash and the number of new comments since your last visit.

      You can also find any responses to comments that you have made by clicking on the word Replies, after the word Comments, which appears underneath the Diaries link in the same right-hand column under the Welcome Back heading.

      •  thanks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29

        Thank you!  I have a hard time with new things, and feel lost with the navigation here a little bit, so that was very helpful!

        Please check out my book on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-M-Day/e/B00IKR95D8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

        by AspergerSurvival on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 12:53:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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