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Supermarkets – Autism, Sensory Perception, Impulse Control & Alexithymia

Note this is going to be from a personal perspective of how this affects me.

For me supermarkets are very much I love/hate relationship they are full of things to do primarily shopping for goods that you need for your home or otherwise however the way in which my autism profile works there are issues related to sensory integration, sensory perception, impulse control and emotional recognition.

Sensory Perceptional Issues

In previous posts I have documented how my fragmented vision affects the way in which I “see” and “process” the world around me this includes of course environments in which I am being bombarded by stimuli but one of the things I have to put one hold is the want to touch and experience everything I can within the store – this is not relate to the literal aspect of the what the object is but how it may sound, smell, feel etc, plus getting visual information for me alone is redundant so the irony here is that touch gives me far more “meaning.” than just looking.

Impulse Control Disorder (related to sensory perception)

This impulsivity can include getting “chemical highs” from objects, shimmers, shines, textures, noises, sounds and smells these in some contexts can be very distressing for me but in other contexts they can be alluring and very much a “want” of course a “need” is very different from a “want”.

Alexithymia – Could that be another factor?

Processing incoming emotions (and naming them) for me takes about 24 hours in general and longer depending on the situation. I wonder because I am getting a “bodily high” that is enough for me to get a “feeling” that comes from the outside in spurring on the impulsive want that then relates to impulse control?

Getting grounded

What I have done over the years has been able to self-regulate on a level where even though those a initial bursts may happen I am able to keep on task and do what I have to do.
My tinted lenses help not only with piecing the world together but filtering the lights and giving me clarity.

Headphones and music also help me as this keeps me on topic.
By sorting out what the relevant factors are (and just as importantly what aren’t) it gives and foundation not only of empowerment and ownership for th person but a confidence can challenge themselves in otherwise difficult situations.

Paul Isaacs 2015

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Supermarkets – Autism, Sensory Perceptual Disorders & Sensory Issues

Street Scene PixeledOVERVIEW

Note – This is a personal perspective of how I experiences Supermarkets 

There are many ways in and strategies which I have used to navigate a supermarket over the years when I was a child I never knew what this “big colourful space” was that my parents used to take me to, I had no concept or connection with what it was as it was a bunch of fragmented images (that I would like or hate or get sensory “highs” from) noises that I couldn’t decipher and would like or dislike, kinesthetic sensory experiences were a way of connecting with the environment and experiencing the products in this fashion was very useful for me as it was building a bridge of connectivity.

So here is what helps me –

HEADPHONES

This helps reduce noise input not only do I have Verbal Auditory Agnosia/Aphasia (meaning deafness) I also have an Auditory Hypersensitivity which is greatly helped due to headphones – (imagine hearing every single sound all at once at equal volume) it helps me connect better with my surroundings and focus on the tasks of buying the products I can also get stuck on “words” and “sounds” that I hear which is also helped by the headphones.

TINTED LENSES

These help and continue to help with processing visuals in light as I have Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome/Light Sensitivity they help with reducing light “over” visual information, I also have Visual AgnosiasProsopagnosia, Simultagnosia, Semantic Agnosia (seeing things in bits, without “meaning”  with a lack of depth 2D) this can cause problem with navigating surroundings. Although I still have  these agnosias and don not have a “visual memory” it helps me navigate surroundings much better, with reduced light input, less fragmentation and more visual depth and “real time”.

CLOTHING

I wear clothing with “pressure points” I have Visuospatial Dysgnosia (body disconnection) so I have tight bracelets round my wrists, my hair is in a tight bun/ponytail, tight fitted shoes – This gives me “anchor points” for my body to navigate around the “space” around me.

CONCLUSION

I still “see” and “hear” without “meaning” and in the supermarket I still like to touch to perceive and map my surroundings by remembering my patterns of movement around the store, however I believe in positivity and healthy challenges for myself and this is one of them. I hope this helps. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2014