Survey: Sensory Sensitivities and Work/School Strategies

The response to the relationship survey last week was fantastic! People continued adding answers all week, so you might want to pop back there and read the latest responses if you haven’t.

This week we have 8 questions about sensory sensitivities and 6 about work/school. You can answer here in the comments or anonymously at Survey Monkey. I’ll bring the Survey Monkey answers over and paste them as comments.

A reminder: this is open to all those who identify as on the spectrum (professionally diagnosed, self-diagnosed  and suspected aspies/autistics/people with autism). Answer as many or as few questions as you choose. Tell us about yourself. Have fun!

I’m so excited by how many answers each person got to their question last week. Y’all are awesome. On to the questions . . .

Survey Monkey has a 10 question limit per survey so I had to make 2: sensory sensitivities and work/school strategies.

Sensory Sensitivities

  1. Does anyone else in the adult autistic blog-munity have issues with temperature sensitivity? If you have issues with heat, how do you cope with summer weather? With the effects of exercise? more details here

  1. For those who have hyper-sensitivity to light and sound: How do you cope when you find yourself starting to get overwhelmed, but can’t leave immediately? How do you recognize when you’re starting to hit that point of sensory overload? How do you deal with the aftereffects of the overload – and what aftereffects do you notice? How long can it take to deal with the aftereffects? more details here

  1. What texture sensitivities do you have? What specific textures are bad? How does your body react to them? more details here

  1. Bras. Do you also find them very stressful to wear? If so, have you come up with a solution to that?

  1. Shoes. Do you have difficulty finding comfortable shoes? What is your preferred choice of footwear?

  1. Does anyone else find showers almost physically painful?

  1. About sensory issues, how did you react to a overload and did you know at first why you reacted this way? Or was it simply a reaction without really know why you were annoyed/angry/overreacting?

  1. How many of us here find earplugs and Mp3 player to be important when going out? Does the stress level go up when you can’t have it on when being stuck in crowed or noisy places?

Work/School

  1. What kind of job would be right for your own ‘brand’ of autism?

  1. If you work, how do you cope with your errors in understanding they way that most humans think and behave, not just non-verbal language, but office politics and similar inexplicable behaviours?

  1. I get very anxious about interviews – what strategies do you have to cope with these?

  1. How do you deal with being bullied at work? (or anywhere else)

  1. How do you get a job if you can’t use the telephone?
  1. Have you ever asked for accommodations at work or school? How did it go?

101 thoughts on “Survey: Sensory Sensitivities and Work/School Strategies”

  1. 1.) Yeah, heatwaves are an absolute nightmare. As for coping with it – well, I don’t 😛 I just drink a lot. Seriously, I’m really looking forward to reading other people’s coping strategies on this one!!
    2.) I’m hypersenstive to sound. If I’m hitting overload but can’t leave straight away, I just end up stimming a lot! I can tell when I’m hitting overload because of said stimming, my speech going completely to pot (slurring, stuttering, getting “stuck” on a word etc), headache, not being able to think straight etc. Aftereffects = Headache, tight chest, generally wanting to go and hide somewhere small and stim a lot! I tend to just stick some music on and avoid people for a while. I’m usually fine after a few hours.
    3.) I’m actually okay with textures, although apparently when I was little I was really scared of grass!
    4.) Contrary to everything the media tells you about feminism, I’m okay with bras.
    5.) I tiptoe, so when it comes to shoes, my main issue is not completely wrecking them shortly after getting them! Possibly as a result of the tiptoeing, I very rarely wear heels.
    6.) I quite like showers, although I’m quite fussy about temperature (see above!). In fact, I’ve been told by several different people that I take far too long in the shower.
    7.) I was diagnosed at a young age, but I didn’t know sensory issues had anything to do with autism until I discovered all the autism Tumblr blogs. I thought I was just really jumpy – so glad it’s not just me!!
    8.) My MP3 player is so important to me for that reason. Oddly, despite what I said earlier about noise, I LOVE music, it’s pretty much my main coping tactic.
    9.) I have no idea. Personally, I’m doing a law degree at the moment. I used to have a weekend job at the local library, which suited me pretty well.
    10.) I’m not working at the moment so I can’t really answer that one.
    11.) Spend a bit of time thinking about questions that are likely to come up, and try to work out how you would answer them.
    12.) Answers on a postcard please!
    13.) Good question. I do have limited telephone skills, so it’s not really my place to answer this.
    14.) I never did. My primary school was basically “She’s doing well academically, she’s fine, we don’t want to know”, and a lot of that got passed on to secondary school too. D:

  2. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: Problem with humidity + heat = sweat like a pig. Using a fan in the bedroom over Summer months helps. Prefer swimming for exercise so I don’t let my own sweat bother me.

    Q2: I rock back and forth (stim), maybe more alcohol if possible. I recognize sensory overload when I can longer focus on what is infront of me. I need to be alone in a quiet dark room afterwards, usually take me a couple of hours to feel ok to face the world again.

    Q3: Only wear cotton and use 100% cotton beddings. Wool, feather, leather (hate the smell), most synthetic. Itchy and irritated skin which will become patchy after scratching.

    Q4: Hate bras. Solution is don’t wear bras at home and no sexy lacy bras for me.

    Q5: Yes, it is especially difficult finding comfortable dress shoes – most have hard soles, high, heavy, and pointy – as if designed for torture. Ballet flats are great but can’t wear socks with them, often get blisters. Preferred choice of footwear are sneakers and flip flops.

    Q6: Nope.

    Q7: I get irritated and annoyed with small things, have the need to get out of the situation/environment, did not realise it was sensory issues.

    Q8: Earplugs are great in shopping malls and restaurants, MP3 are great in public transports. Does stress level go up without them? Absolutely!

  3. Anonymous answers:

    Q9: Managing websites or software testing

    Q10: I ignored everyone and everything else in the office that is not (my) task related, I usually socialise with people not from the same department.

    Q11: I create the whole interview in my head so by the time I get there, the interview has already happened. Doesn’t quite work that way though!

    Q12: Quoting office process and procedures (if any) that favour my situation to explain I can’t fix their issues RIGHT NOW, and that they will have to get in queue like everyone else.

    Q13: I don’t like talking on the phone but worked in a call center, there are usually a set of responses, scenarios or scripts one need to follow in a call center which makes taking phone calls a lot easier. After awhile I became a robot.

    Q14: Was at boarding school for a year, it was hell, wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy. Shared hotel room with colleagues a few times, I make sure I get the bed closest to the window or in a corner for some personal space, usually work out ok.

  4. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: No issues with temperature.

    Q2: Sometimes I can handle these situations with no problems: my tolerance thresholds vary depending on my mood. The first sign that I’m experiencing difficulty is that I start stimming. If that doesn’t keep a lid on it then I tend to go into shutdown (that can also happen very briefly in response to sudden overload with either light or sound). My most significant aftereffect is exhaustion; in the worst cases it can take me a couple of days to get over it.

    Q3: I’m very particular about clothing materials (cotton for preference), and things like the feel and positions of seams – nothing obtrusive or scratchy because I quickly get swollen weals at the point of contact.

    Q5: I wear black leather boots almost exclusively regardless of the season. Usually either military or work boots – they have to be hard-wearing because I find “normal” footwear doesn’t last long.

    Q6: No, I enjoy showering, although as a young child I used to have issues with toweling dry because of the feel of the towel rubbing on my skin, and instead would stand there until I dried off “naturally”.

  5. My answers:

    1. I’m really sensitive to changes in temperature–like going from the cool locker room to the warm air of the indoor pool to the cool pool water and then reversing it all afterwards when I’m wet from swimming, that’s almost enough to make me not want to go swim at all. And it’s probaby only a few degrees difference from one area to the next but I’m really sensitive to the differences. I guess I cope by ignoring it as much as possible?

    2. I tend to shut down if I can’t escape. I’ll gradually lose speech and start to feel really disengaged from reality, like everything around me is at the other end of a tunnel. Afterwards I’m exhausted and cranky and don’t want to interact with people for a few hours. Sometimes I’ll get a bad headache. Until it passes, I like to be alone. I’ll read, spend time online, nap, pet my dog, or take a warm bath.

    3. I can’t stand anything lacy or irregularly textured/edged. No synthetics (except oddly for running clothes). No wool or knits, unless they’re super soft, but not angora because I’m allergic to it. Problem textures either feel itchy or painful, depending on how bad they are. I love cotton, flannel, worn-in demin, silk and chenille.

    4. A little? I’ve spent a lot of time finding a brand/style that’s comfortable and that’s all I buy.

    5. I mostly wear flip flops or running/hiking shoes. I also have a worn-in pair of cowboy boots that I love.

    6. I like showers and find them relaxing.

    7. Until I learned about AS, I attributed overload to all sorts of things: dehydration, being overly sensitive to flourescent lights (actually true), lack of sleep, being antisocial, being prone to weird illnesses (I often ended up physically ill), overwork. It was very frustrating.

    8. I don’t use earplugs/headphones as often as I probably should. Habit, I guess. I have to hae music on airplanes to drown out all the coughing, crying babies, chatter, etc.

    9. Something computer/data related that requires minimal human contact. Digging ditches. Firespotter. Caring for animals. Writing.

    10. I work mostly alone and I’m the boss so people basically have to put up with my weird behavior rather the other way around. 🙂 I worked in an office environment for a while and I’ve done jobs that had heavy exposure to the public. I managed okay but it was stressful and probably not sustainable for more than a few years at a time.

    11. I’m looking forward to seeing the answers to this one. From watching others prepare for interviews, I would say it’s important to practice ahead of time. Have some stock phrases you can fall back on, either to buy time to think or as filler material when you don’t have a good answer. There are lots of websites that talk about typical job interview questions, why they’re asked and what type of answers are most desirable, so maybe studying those would be helpful in trying guess what you’ll be asked.

    12. Looking forward to seeing answers for this one as well. I tend to either shut down or overreact in a nonproductive way to any sort of bullying behavior.

    13. I’m not a fan of the telephone but I do have to use it a fair amount for work. I’ve developed some scripts that cover most things I need to deal with. The rest I just muddle through. I actually once had a complete strange say to me over the phone, “You don’t seem like a very nice person.” So yeah, I do what I can and hope for the best.

    14. I haven’t, though I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to structure most of my work around my particular needs.

  6. Sensory Sensitivities
    1. Summer: Not very sensitive to temperature to the point of breaking down, but I try to avoid it by staying home. Sometimes if I absolutely must spend time outside under the hot sun, I’ll reason with myself that walking outside makes for great exercise. Wearing a big hat or baseball cap that is one size too big seems to help with my sensitivities in this regard.
    2. I’m very hypersensitive to sound. I still remember the one time when some people at work were blowing balloons for an end-of-the-year event and I was so irritated, because there was no way to stop the sounds from continuing. I recognize it, but I don’t know how to prevent it from escalating.
    3. No texture sensitivities yet.
    4. Generally find clothes of certain material and tightness to be uncomfortable and irritating. I tend to wear loose clothing, especially flowy dresses and airy tops.
    5. Aerosole. I forget the name of another brand.
    6. No.
    7. I react to an overload by shutting down in some way. I may go quiet or I may start mumbling. But for emotional overload/highly charged emotional situations, they happen so suddenly i can’t figure out why they happen. I see those as a robot exploding after it repeats, “Does not compute!”
    8. Nope. I think for me I just dissociate from the world or focus on one thing if it gets too crowded or noisy.

    Work/School
    9. Highly structured job with clear instructions and maybe some more handholding than usual at least in the first year or two.
    10. I try to move on if I made a mistake and remember what happened. Then I add it to my internal set of rules “If this…then that.” I also try to think of ways to compensate for this, for ex. asking someone I trust who I should be talking to on my first day of work.
    11. Lots of scripting. But be prepared for the unexpected, if you can. I prepared for all the questions I might get asked, and they never got asked. Instead, my interviewer and I ended up going off-topic for most of the interview.
    12. Good question. I think even the nicest of people can still bully you, especially if they feel that you’re not doing what they expect you to do. Outside of work, I’ve learned to speak up more loudly about my needs and keep insisting that I will react differently than most people. If people don’t like it, they probably don’t deserve to be my friend.
    13. N/A.
    14. N/A

    1. #5. Found out the name of the other brand: Naturalizer. While I’m still picky about my shoes (no high heels, please!), I get a better chance of finding great comfortable shoes from Aerosole and Naturalizer.

      1. I should actually revise #3. I do have certain sensitivities. It’s sort of similar to the story of The Princess and the Pea. If my bed has even the slightest dent or if it’s too soft, I won’t be able to sleep well. I don’t like the feeling of sinking into anything.

  7. 1. Yes, there is a very limited span of temps. I feel comfortable at. I also have low blood pressure and that affects the body’s ability to adjust to fluctuating temperatures. I don’t really cope, and to top it off, it makes me anxious and last summer I almost passed out multiple times from hyperventilating because I felt like I couldn’t take a deep breath due to the humidity. Temperature changes during exercise don’t bother me so much because I think I’m mentally prepared for it, I’m the one bringing it on, and it’s going to fade after a certain time.

    2. I don’t cope well, but I’ll try to remove myself, even if it’s just to a bathroom or stairwell or something if I feel overwhelmed. I also have a lot of trouble recognising what I’m feeling until I’m full on in the midst of it. Basically I need to be alone to recover because I just get unreasonable, neurotic, and overcontrolling when I’m overwhelmed.

    3. I don’t have a lot of texture sensitivities. I HATE styrofoam, anything squeaky or draggy. If my hands are dry and it catches on anything, particularly microfibre cleaning clothes, that just makes me quail inside. But I don’t feel that any of this affects my life too much.

    4. Bras, horrible. I haven’t worn one regularly for years. I don’t really need one for support. Winter is easy, summer not so much. I think vests are helpful, comfy lined tank tops, and if necessary, a sports bra, a loose sports bra unless you are doing actual sports.

    5. I’m very picky about my shoes (and socks – can’t have seams I can feel!). I need the toebox to be big because if I can’t lift and separate my toes I feel claustrophobic and I can’t bear it. I used to wear mainly Doc Martens and Danskos, but I’ve started wearing minimalist/barefoot shoes now with thin soles and lots of stretch/flex room and I love them. Next best thing to bare foot or socks.

    6. Love showers. I find the them very soothing, especially the sound of them.

    7. I think I would just react without understanding it. I understood that I hated certain (many) situations, but I didn’t really know why, even after trying to figure it out until I read about sensory issues etc.

    8. I can’t wear earplugs or listen to music when I’m out because my kids are usually with me and they want to talk, and for me to talk to them, incessantly. I find going out stressful, period. It lessens when I’m with another adult who can “take over” and then I can put earplugs in or zone out or whatever. I’d wear them more if I didn’t have to be available to little people.

    1. I lied! I didn’t consider texture to be clothing, I was thinking about me touching things. I have to wear cotton mostly, no tags, no harsh seams. Swishy, silky clothing makes me feel insecure, but I don’t like my clothes too tight either. Wool is a killer though I quite like to touch and squish it, my skin hates it.

  8. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I’m very sensitive to cold – if I go outside in winter, I immediately start shivering and don’t stop until around 10 minutes after I get back in. With heat, I’m almost immune to it: I’m perfectly comfortable in long sleeves and pants in July.

    Q2: I’m not very sophisticated when I get sensory overload: I close my eyes and plug my ears. If I don’t, I’ll melt down and that’s worse than being the strange person with her eyes squeezed shut and her hands over her ears.

    Afterwards, I’m tired and headachy and more sensistive to touch, light and sound than normal, and also more prone to rely on my mental conversation flow charts, while being more likely to screw them up. This lasts for a few hours to over a week depending on how close to meltdown I came and whether or not I rest and avoid further overload.

    Q3: Um… Hard to articulate. Wool is bad (scratchy). Pantyhose is bad (itchy). Linen is bad (painful), pure cotton is good. Cotton blends or polyester are tolerable, as is denim. Nylon is bad. Faux fur can be bad or good depending on the faux fur. Felt is bad (too rough) but fleece is good, iff it’s not on my torso.

    I’ve hated touching grass since infancy, but I don’t mind barefoot on most other surfaces.

    Q4: So long as they’re not lace. I -hate- lace. I will go braless before I wear lace.

    On bad days, I’ll wear racerback sports bras, which I find less uncomfortable than traditional bras. Otherwise, nothing with lace, and I make sure they fit properly. I will try on every bra they have in a sale bin to find the most comfortable one, and if it’s not comfortable enough, I’ll leave it.

    I usually wait until it’s mid-day on a week day before I go bra or clothes shopping to avoid crowds, though.

    Q5: No, but I do have difficulty finding shoes that fit my orthopedic insoles, and sneakers. High-heels never (ligamentous laxity makes high heels a very bad idea), other dress shoes only on very special occasions and I have sneakers in my bag so I can switch out ASAP.

    Q6: Depends on the jet. Powerful jets are good, less powerful spray ones sting.

    Q7: Usually I figure it out after the fact. I can feel a meltdown coming on, but I usually can’t figure out why at the time.

    Q8: HECK YES. YES YES YES to the MP3 player with noise-cancelling headphones. Yes.

    And yes again. I can’t do malls/shopping without it.

  9. Anonymous answers”:

    Q9: Something that combines one of my special interests and where there’s always something to do so I get distracted into productivity. I work in Science.

    Q10: Mostly: I am helpful but distant. I’ll help if asked, but avoid smalltalk and so on. I ask for clarification by email because my text comprehension is much better than verbal. Also, two of my coworkers have Autistics in the family and knew I was Autistic before I did – adult screened +ve, getting formal eval. Because of that, they know how to deal with me productively.

    Q11: I don’t know. I deal but can’t articulate how. I stim and exercise a lot the morning of an interview, so maybe that has something to do with it?

    Q12: I don’t know. I’ve never been able to address bullying successfully. I’ve been bullied a lot, but never have been able to attain a successful resolution. I can tell you what doesn’t work for me, but I can’t tell you what does.

    Q13: I can use the phone, but I’m not good at it. Most jobs I’ve gotten have been through word-of-mouth or other networking. I don’t do telephone interviews and avoid positions that require phone time.

  10. anonymous answers:
    Q9: I got lucky with my main special interest – computer programming. It was a revelatory moment when I realized I could make a living from it.

    Q10: I keep my head down and concentrate on my own work. Consequently I have no idea about “office politics” and wouldn’t recognize it.

    Q11: I never had much of a problem here because I have found the interviews for technical positions to be very structured and to have a high technical content – I feel comfortable with this. I would suggest learning about interviews, how they are structured and the aims of the interviewers because this can help you understand the flow of the process so you have a better idea what to expect as it progresses.

    Q12: I leave.

    Q13: An increasing number of companies these days (especially in technical industries) are open to communicating via email, and recruitment consultants work via social media such as Linked-In. Being unable to use the telephone still limits your choices but things have improved a lot just in the past 5 years.

    Q14: I have taken advantage of flexibility in working hours but have never requested accommodations specifically relating to ASD.

  11. 1. My biggest problem is with not realising I am uncomfortable until I am freezing/boiling. I get dehydrated easily, the best way of coping with that I have found is Gatorade (other sports drinks are available – but they won’t taste as nice).

    2. I stim. I become silent. I try and find things to occupy my brain with, in an attempt to distract it. I give short responses to questions. I get quite cross. The only way for me to recover is to sit in the dark with my headphones on.

    3. I’m not bothered by textures that may contact my skin, but in food, mushrooms and meringue. I am not sure exactly what it is, but they just feel wrong. Meringue in particular will make me curl up in to a ball.

    4. I think I would find it stressful if someone told me I had to wear a bra, luckily us guys don’t have to worry about that. 🙂

    5. Nike Air Force 1s. Every day. I hate proper shoes. Even the least uncomfortable pair of proper shoes are orders of magnitude less comfortable than my AF1s. General rule – If I am wearing Proper Shoes or their sidekick (and my nemesis) The Suit, then it is a bad day.

    6. Nope. Love showers. Get told off for being in there too long everyday.

    7. I totally did not understand why I felt that way, nor did I know I was not alone in these feelings. I certainly did not know there were words to describe it. I was so relieved to discover that other people experience the same things.

    8. I work in an open plan office. I would be totally lost without my headphones. I don’t like the earplugs style ones, I have over ear ones that envelop my hearing. It is almost like a sensory cocoon.

    9. I am a Software Developer and I think this suits me fine. My employer attempts to be very understanding of my needs. I consider myself lucky in this regard.

    10. It’s tough. When I make a mistake, I am always quick to apologise and attempt to make amends. I am totally not equipped to deal with office politics and the like. Again, I would say I am lucky because the guys I work with closest are engineers and so although not on the spectrum, in my experience are less susceptible to such behaviours. I am learning fast about ulterior motives and people who lie. I don’t like it, I would never do it, but I have to learn in order to be good at my job. I am actually the manager of a team of developers.

    11. I have one rule really. If I don’t think the interview is going well for me, if this isn’t the place for me, I end the interview myself rather than suffer through it.

    12. I don’t want to answer this question.

    13. N/A.

    14. I have never asked directly, but as I said before, I consider myself very lucky. My employer makes a big effort to be accommodating and understanding. For example, the evil strip lights above my desk are left off as much as is possible.

    1. I misunderstood what was meant by textures. I didn’t realise it meant clothes. I like my soft hoodies and t-shirts and baggy jeans. I really don’t like/cannot stand anything else. Especially not suits. I feel like they are attacking me. And I hate tags and/or labels. Yuk! I hate scratchy stuff, super tight (fitted) stuff. Other than my under armour stuff, they feel tight, compressions like and are calming to me.

      1. I was the one who asked that question, and I didn’t just mean clothes, I meant everything! Clothes, plastic vs wood vs glass, glossy vs matte covers for books, whatever applies to you.

        I hate mushrooms too. It’s like chewing on a condom!

        1. I hate mushrooms because of the texture too. And now I’ll never be able to look at one without thinking of your condom analogy. :-/

          Matte book covers are the best! I like to rub my fingers on them, especially on new books.

  12. I’m not neurotypical (DID), but I’m not sure I’m autistic either — I feel that a lot of my stuff can be better explained by other things, but I have texture sensitivities (probably related to PTSD), light-sound sensitivities (i have a migraine most of the time), and non verbal days (related to DID), auditory processing issues, special interests (related to being smart), trouble understanding social situations (very limited exposure to other people and difficulty understanding speech), and other symptoms that I’m probably forgetting. So, whether I have autism or not, I seem to have a lot of symptoms in common…

    3) can’t stand smooth things, like glass, or porcelain, or glossy books or plastic or shiny metals, silk, velvet, velour, fleece, wool, nylon. microfibre is awful. I also don’t like rubber gloves. in foods I don’t like grainy (apples) or squidgy (mushrooms, eggplant) or slimy. clothes have to be cotton. suede is okay too, and denim, and I love flannel. and my feet and hands are extra sensitive and I swear different dyes change the texture of the cotton because I can only wear certain colours. I hate touching slimy stuff like shampoo or conditioner or body lotion or liquid soap. I prefer harsher soaps that aren’t too slippery. I get a fight or flight reaction, palms sweat up, heart starts racing, i start flapping my hands in distress (I flap when I’m happy too, but that’s a different kind of flapping), i get irritable and antsy and nervous.

    I like unvarnished wood, paper especially rough paper, cardboard, brick, the texture of walls, tree bark. I have some nice terry-cloth sheets (like towels) and I like to lay on them and rub my fingers on them.

    5) yes, but my feet come in an unusual size. I can’t stand heels and I don’t know why — I toe-walk a lot so you’d think they’d be a good fit, but they aren’t. I wore my snow-boots for most of last summer because they were the only shoes I had, but eventually I found a pair of trainers that were unisex and fit me.

    14) I had accommodations for most of my schooling and was in a special ed classroom for a while before being mainstreamed. As a kid, I wasn’t really aware of how to utilise the accommodations or how to self advocate, so I mostly muddled along. I was usually too embarrassed to ask for what I needed and I had too much going on to really focus on school. But then when I went to uni I would have had to ask for them myself and I didn’t know how, so I went to lectures where I couldn’t hear a word the teacher was saying and then I went to oral exams worth 100% of my grade and wasn’t even able to say “hello my name is” and went to seminars where on the first day the teacher asked us to introduce ourselves briefly to each other and I wasn’t languaging at all that day and the teacher stopped to ask if I was a non-native speaker. Eventually, I failed out of uni.

  13. Anonymous answers:

    Q9: I’m an artist and graphic designer, so being a freelancer from home would be perfect. I’m creative, like working alone, and need to control my environment.

    Q10: I’m currently a college student. If I make an error, I usually just try to laugh it off. I’m sure there are also errors I’m not aware that I made. But most people at my school know I’m weird and not sociable, so they really don’t talk to me much.

    Q11: I get anxious too. I basically spend about six hours mentally preparing myself, and have a very concrete plan for what I’m going to say.

    Q12: As a kid, I was bullied terribly, and was basically just a pushover. Now, in college, I have a very cold, strong attitude, so people don’t pick on me much.

    Q13: I can use the phone, I’m just not good at it or comfortable with it.

    Q14: I did ask my school to be able to work at home for a few days. I got what I wanted, but not without a ridiculous and very stressful amount of social legwork (I had to email each professor individually and work it out with them).

  14. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I have a very narrow range of comfort for temperature. Even with a good thermostat, I start getting uncomfortable just before the thermostat decides it is time to turn back on again, I am THAT sensitive.
    Heat is hard. I tend to run the AC a lot. It gets very expensive, but otherwise, I am just too miserable. I try to stay indoors as much as possible and I drink lots of ice water.

    Q2: I start getting anxious and grumpy when I am getting overloaded. I have started carrying ear buds with me everywhere. Sometimes, I will use my iPhone and listen to some calming music or nature sounds. Other times, just putting the ear buds in my ears is enough to mute the outside noises.
    Once I am completely overwhelmed, it can take hours or overnight to calm my system back down.

    Q3: I am very sensitive to textures. I wear almost all cotton clothing. I cannot handle most polyester/rayon/nylon clothes. A bit of those in a mix with cotton can work depending on the mix and the fabric. I also don’t like bumpy things. My son likes the rougher/bumpier textures (see – even with ASD/SPD we are different) and got a phone case with lots of texture. He thinks it is funny to threaten to rub it against my arm. I won’t even pick it up without gloves or something to protect my hands. It makes me feel like my skin is crawling. It is like fingernails on a chalkboard. But, for my son, it is soothing.

    Q4: I have gotten used to wearing bras, but I am very picky. I wear 100% cotton bras with no underwire and no frills. They may not look great and they don’t do much for my cleavage, but comfort is the most important factor in all clothing for me.

    Q5: I am not a big shoe person. They are functional. I typically have 3 pairs of shoes that actually get worn. I have a pair of Crocs for summer. I have a pair of sneakers for when I am going to do much walking. I have a pair of comfy slip-on flats that are not very stylish, but they are easy on/off and K-Mart has carried them for 10+ years, so they are easy to replace. All 3 pairs are black. They go with everything.

    Q6: I actually love showers. But, that is partially due to having fibromyalgia. A hot shower helps my pain level considerably.

    Q7: It has only been the past year or so that I have started understanding more why I have the issues that I do. We got my older son diagnosed with autism about 3 years ago. Then, my husband with Asperger’s. I have an unoffical diagnosis with Asperger’s and SPD. I also have a son with ADHD and SPD. Once I started realizing what was setting off my kids, I started becoming more aware of things that I had always simply accommodated for with myself. I now understand all of us better and can accommodate more appropriately.

    Q8: I have started carrying these everywhere. If not for me, then for one of my kids.

  15. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I have a very hard time handling heat and humidity. I often get light headed/close to fainting if it’s too hot for me, and I find heat levels that other people condsider “normal” overwhelming. In the summer, I try to go out mostly at night, and stay in air conditioned places. As for exercise, because of overheating and a lack of body control, I just don’t exercise aside from walking.

    Q2: I am hypersensitive to both light and sound. When I’m overwhelmed and can’t leave, I usually just shut down. I try to do things to mimize the stimulus (ear plugs, headphones, looking at something dark, wearing sunglasses), but I cannot interact when I’m in sensory overload mode. After an overload, I nearly always have a migraine, low energy, and I really can’t do anything with people. To cope, I usually lie down in the dark when I get home and maybe listen to some very relaxing music. Headache pills are always in order too. Depending on the severity of overload, it can take anywhere from half an hour to a couple of hours. Even if I wasn’t overwhelmed, after every outing I have to have a rest.

    Q3: I can’t stand jeans, or any other stiff pants. I also can’t stand loose things on my bottom half. So I always wear either skin-tight and stretchy things: leggings, jeggings, or tights.

    I also have texture sensitivities with food. Some foods, I literally cannot swallow because of the texture. Things that give me problems include: potatoes, beef (especially steak), broccoli, celery, pork, pudding.

    Q4: Oddly enough, if a bra fits, I actually like wearing it. I hate the feeling of being braless (too much movement) and like my bras very tight.

    Q5: I do not really have problems finding comfy shoes. I usually wear boots or wedge heels.

    Q6: I like showers as long as the water pressure is fairly low. If it’s too high, then yes I do find it painful.

    Q7: In most cases, I was just vaguely but intensely frustrated and didn’t know why. Since learning about Asperger’s, I’ve been able to trace shutdowns back to sensory overload.

    Q8: I definitely find it important, and most certainly will have a bad time if I forget (though with poor executive functions, I forget fairly often).

  16. Anonymous answers:

    1: I’m okay with cold, but excessive heat makes me physically sick. Summer depends on swimming, AC, lots of water, and early morning exercise in those months.

    I can feel the impact of too much sound on my eardrums, and excessive light gives me headaches. My coping skills aren’t great: I stick it out until I just can’t take it anymore, getting more and more twitchy, then I go into shutdown and need a sensory reset in low-stim environment.

    Q3: I tend to shop for clothing with my fingertips, and certain fabrics ick me right out. Most textures are okay on their own, but the place where two very different textures come together can be very uncomfortable. My worst texture is stickiness.

    Q4: My chest is too big to opt out, but when I’m already anxious, the band can make the feeling of constriction around my chest feel even tighter. If I’m lucky enough to get a low-stim break, I might take it off for a bit. Mostly, though, I’m used to them.

    Q5: My difficulty comes mainly from my very narrow feet, and my fibromyalgia, which makes some shoe beds very uncomfortable for the rest of my body. What I really can’t stand, though, are shoes that squeak.

    Q6: They’re a full-body sensory reset, like a hard reset on a computer, for me, but I get a lot of mileage (for my autistic son too) out of a handset that lets me adjust the flow depending on how I feel that day.

    Q7: I was an adult before I understood that I was getting anxious and melting down over sensory stimuli. Learning that I could take a time-out and reset was the best thing in the world.

    Q8: I’m a hypersensitive hearer, and tend toward hypervigilance too, so I don’t like earplugs unless I’m expecting loud sudden noises like fireworks (LSNs are my only migraine trigger). Being able to listen to my own music was how I managed my environment all the way back into childhood, before I knew why it helped.

  17. 1. The heat makes me feel awful, I get very unpleasant and cranky when I’m sweaty. I also have thrown up and nearly passed out in the heat.
    2. I usually don’t have an issue with this because I find certain types of light or sound more annoying than upsetting. I usually just distract myself by trying to do something or talk to my family/boyfriend.
    3. I can’t eat really, really squishy food, like overcooked vegetables that are completely flaccid and water-logged. I feel like I’m about to throw up. Fat on chicken or beef is really horrible as well and causes the same reaction. I don’t like the texture of steak, I can’t swallow it and just keep perpetually chewing it until I spit it out.
    4. I can’t be without my bra. I refuse to sleep without it on and nearly never take it off. I have big boobs though, so no bra is a very, very odd feeling.
    5. I can’t wear anything but sneakers or flat-soled boots. I wear winter/snow boots, converse sneakers, running shoes, and I have one pair of sandals that I like that are flat platforms. I can’t stand the feeling of thong on flipflops between my toes, it hurts.
    6. YES. For years, it felt like needles stabbing me, and I couldn’t stand it. I took baths for years, and only recently after we got a new shower head was I able to take a shower. I still face away from it though.
    7. I had no idea why I was acting so oddly, but I was beside myself just repeating “no” over and over.
    8. I don’t use my ipod that much in public because I have a bad habit of breathing like Darth Vadar while listening to it because I end up breathing in time to the music. I focus on what I’m reading when I go out on a bus or train. I can tune everything out when I’m engrossed.
    1. Hmmm…I think writer is my best job or editor. I’m a grammar nazi by nature due to OCD, so I would be good at that. I’m good with laboratory work because I’m careful, but it would get really boring really fast.
    2. At school, I try not to say anything unless I’m fairly certain that I won’t get in trouble. I still have no idea how people end up being friends or hanging out together.
    3. No idea, I have never had one. I have only worked at my mom’s office.
    4. I have no idea, I didn’t notice when I was being bullied in school.
    5. Don’t work in an office. Retail (for a young person) would probably work for that.
    6.Nope. At school, I don’t require anything extra, so no one knows I even have it.

  18. 1) I hate the heat and humidity. I hate summer. I cope with summer by sharing my hatred of it with the world. I also bring a change of clothes with me where ever I go because I will soak whatever I wear outside in the summer. People usually ask me if I’m ok or if I’m sick in the summer because I do not stop sweating. I’m not ok, because I hate summer.
    2) I stim excessively, I also ask people to shush.
    3) There is a consistant level of itch I deal with all the time from clothes, but i can wear most stuff now. I don’t prefer smooth stuff like satin, polyester or silk though. I prefer cotton. I tend to lounge around underdressed when I know I’ll be undisturbed.
    4) No bra necessary. I’m a boy
    5) I wear boots that support my wobbly ankles that I’ve sprained 5000 times and go clunk clunk when I walk.
    6) I love showers, I love to stim in them, and stim and stim and stim until all the hot water is gone. This does not please housemates btw.
    7) My ability to speak or hold any conversation gets limited in an overload. Echolalia too.
    8) I like my mp3 player in crowds. It helps with auditory overloads and it helps distract me from the fact that I am in a crowd.
    9) Fresh Air Inspector would be ideal. I would like to take up competitive procrastination at some point. In all seriousness, I would like to do something that involves writing more.
    10) I don’t cope very well, which is why though I get good perfomance reviews and positive feedback from customers,I haven’t advanced much.
    11) I am comfortable in interviews. One on one interactions in usually low stimulation environments such as a drab office don’t bother me. With the low amounts of stimuli I can feign proper eye contact for a long time.
    12) I really don’t have the time or patience for peoples crap anymore. I confront the bully/harasser and complain to HR if it persists.
    13) I am usually ok on the phone, but if the spoons are low I can’t understand sometimes.
    14) No, I have never asked for accomondations in regards to Autism. I have in regards to my leg injury and was forced into leave and short term disability (which in hind sight was for my best)

  19. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I am extremely sensitive to weather changes in particular the cold. I feel frozen and take hours to warm up if I have gotten too cold. I struggle with the heat too. I have no energy when it is hot, I tend to keep cool and not do much. I try to exercise early in the morning before it gets too hot.

    Q2: I tend to shut down if I am too overstimulated by noise (in particular) and wait till I am away from the noise till I start to wind down and be able to process everything. I am a Mum and find it overstimulating when my son whinges or cries. I can’t really change that or escape it so I do my best. Sometimes I just have to take a 5 min break in our walk-in wardrobe to calm down and then I go back to mothering him.

    Q3: I can’t stand wool or synthetic materials on my skin. I feel like my skin can’t breathe. I wear cotton clothes mostly as they are most comfortable.

    Q4: I wear non wire bras as I find wire bras so tight and uncomfortable. I like soft cup/crop top style bras. They are very comfortable for me.

    Q5: Yes. I am very fussy about shoes. They must be flat shoes. I cannot stand heels, they are so impractical and uncomfortable. They must have comfortable soles too. I don’t like hard shoes. I must be able to walk in them and feel comfortable. My last pair I bought are a pair of podiatry sandals that were on special, very comfy. Oh I also prefer leather shoes as my feet breathe better in them. I find my feet get a lot more sweaty in non-leather shoes. I tend to wear flip-flops alot as I live in a warm climate.

  20. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: When I get too warm, I make sure I do not move too much, and I put my pulse under streaming water more. On the other hand, my bf has to make sure he keeps warm, since he always seems to get a cold.

    Q2: I notice that I tend to turn inwards more, and get away as soon as possible. I have my mp3-player and headphones, or when there are places I cannot get away quickly, nor put those on, I make sure I am not alone and can let someone else lead me, since when I have a real sensory overload I seem to get incapable of thinking straight alltogether.

    Q3: I simply detest most fleece. It gets too warm and sweaty, which makes me get cold in return.

    Q4: I do. I only buy bras without brackets, and often do not wear one when at home without someone noticing it anyway – except the boyfriend when he’s home, and he does not mind.

    Q5: shoes can be too narrow, but that has more to do with the shape of my feet than the shoes or how they feel. I do not really have difficulty to find shoes otherwise.

    Q6: Nope, showers are physically relaxing to me.

    Q7: I really did not know – many of my ‘issues’ could be described from my dcd instead, except this. I only realized what it was, when I noticed someone close to me with ASS reacting the same way.

    Q8: Absolutely. They help me getting ‘strange’ noises out, while I know what noises to expect.

  21. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I hate heat and prefer a temp (especially nighttime) of 65 degrees, and I have to have a fan for air flow. I “feel” temps first on my face, so if I can cool my face, heat is a little more bearable. I stay near A/C a lot in the summer.

    Q2: I get jittery and distracted, start hunching my shoulders like folding in on myself. I self-talk “it can’t last forever”.

    Q3: Not a lot, but I do tend to choose clothes by running my fingers down a rack of clothes and go from there. I love soft, angora-like clothes but am allergic. Fake silk texture, shiny, is horrible to feel.

    Q4: Not really. I’ve found that a well-fitting bra helps my back and my self-image. I’m extremely sensitive to a scratchy hook or tag in the back.

    Q5: I have weak ankles, bunions, and a narrow heel, so shoes can be miserable. I like Naturalizers, and Ariat boots. I buy Ariats on ebay so that they’ve been broken in some already. I wear New Balance, but athletic shoes feel terribly heavy. I’ve just been able to wear thong sandals last year–until recently that feeling of something between my toes bothered me.

    Q6: No, I enjoy showers, any kind of moving water.

    Q7: I thought I was just severely moody. Unpredictable changing sounds or lights (like unfamiliar songs when you don’t know what’s coming next) will get me very stressed and angry. I thought it was the distraction of them (I also have ADHD).

    Q8: It helps (mp3 player) but if I have enough mental energy, I can create daydreams (very detailed immersive images) but I’ll seem and feel very absent.

  22. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: Something analytical, looking for patterns. I managed social work for years but it was very scripted and “if, then”. I was better with the analyzing of data and policy end.

    Q2: I took a lot of lumps. I wrote out detailed “reports” after I’d obviously offended someone and gave that to the powers that be, explaining why I did whatever it was. I asked a lot of questions, used metaphors when trying to explain or understand something. I was open about my ADHD, so that helped. I got a rep as being “weird, odd” etc. but had enough strengths so that others put up with it. I always kept “desk toys” around, and now I realize I was stimming most of the time someone else was in my office.

    Q3: Although I hate role-play, doing that with someone safe was the best way for me to rehearse for something stressful like that.

    Q4: Honestly, I cried a lot privately, internalized it, and became self-destructive. Therapy helped enormously with coping with bullying. Writing it all out helped a lot, and going over the scenario with a trusted person and getting validation that yes, this is bullying helped.

    Q5: Not sure–I was more comfortable with the phone that in person contact. I always had things (squishy water balls, magnetic rocks) to manipulate if I was on the phone.

    Q6: I have, for my ADHD (working with my door closed, getting tasks in writing). Other times, like needing to come in late and work overtime (morning stressors and melt-downs) I was given accommodation by one person, and had it taken away by their successor, because accommodations just for me “didn’t look fair”.That created a miserable stressful environment and I finally left.

  23. Anonymous answers:

    Q9: I’m currently working on an assembly line in a factory. Boring, but relatively low on small talk, high in predictability, and gives me 8 hours a day to be (semi-)alone with my own thoughts.

    Q10: These things posed a big problem when I last worked at an office, and caused me significant stress. Ultimately, trying to cope wasn’t worth it, and I’m much happier where I am now.

    Q11: Interviews suck. Try a temp agency. (Sorry, no useful advice!)

    Q12: Bullying seemed to drop off for me around grade 4. Most ‘bullying’ seems to come in the form of off-hand ribbing and digs, which is par for the course within NT circles (imagine 3-7 guys standing around and calling each other gay) so I have no problem ignoring it.

    In the rare instances where I’m explicitly targeted, I try to respond with cool, unbothered assertiveness. Being unconcerned with others’ perception of you is an alien concept to a lot of NTs, and seeing a lack of that familiar leverage, they usually turn elsewhere.

    (All from a male’s perspective; I know female bullying is a different animal.)

    Q13: This is a tough one. I really don’t know. I had a lot of trouble using the phone in my eatly teen years, but I found some ways of coping, and I think it’s perfectly possible to learn to use the phone even if it causes you great anxiety. (Sorry – that doesn’t answer the question.)

    Q14: I’ve considered it, but I don’t want to be defined by my disorder. If things got bad enough I would ask for accomodations. But then, if I’m providing enough value to an organization that they’d be willing to accomodate me, chances are I’m pretty comfortable there to begin with.

  24. Anonymous answers:

    Q9: One where I don’t have to interact much, where I have regular hours and know pretty much what I’ll be doing every day, but it’s not so repetative as to be boring.

    Q10: i’m a stuxdent, but from what I’ve seen in classes an labs, I probably won’t cope very well with those things

    Q11: n/a, never had one

    Q12: avoid the person if at all possible, or at least try to only be around them within earshot of someone else. Beyond that, not responding to them (mostly because I go almost nonverbal and phsycially/mentally can’t) and walking away.

    Q13: email or skype interview, or a script of answers to likely questions if it must be done over the phone? I’m actually less stressed talking to people in person than over the phone

    Q14: no

  25. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: When I’m at rest, I get cold quite easily. I’d rather be in a room significantly above room temperature. In these situations the cold invariably makes me sleepy or lethargic.

    The opposite is true when I’m in a stressful, active, or social situation, esp. at work. I’m prone to excessive sweating which leads to discomfort, so temperature control (a fan or A/C) is a must.

    Q2: sensory overload? How do you deal with the aftereffects of the overload – and what aftereffects do you notice? How long can it take to deal with the aftereffects?

    I find sitting still and focusing on meditation/introspection, thinking about virtually any topic not at hand, is helpful in curbing hypersensitivity. Mental escape is not too hard for me.

    Q3: No textures in particular, although I recoil from anything warm and moving (usually this is someone’s hand, but it could also be a dog’s tongue, or a self warming/vibrating pillow or something).

    Q4: I’m a (breastless) man, but I see where you’re coming from. I don’t wear underpants, or any clothes that aren’t immediately necessary. The same goes for watches, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, etc. The less material touching my skin the better.

    Q5: I’m flat-footed so I’ll wear anything with arch support. That said, when I can go barefoot, or sandals/slippers only, I will. I prefer loafers/velcro to anything I have to tie.

    Q6: No, although I’m often reluctant to take them because I’d rather be doing something more interesting.

    Q7: I’ve never had an overload that resulted in such a negative overreaction.

    Q8: I love headphones as a way to self-distract and deter pesky small talk, but I don’t feel at a loss without them.

  26. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I’m pretty sensetive to all temperature changes, though it’s much easier to wear a coat than be out in the summer. I stay inside a lot, or in/near bodies of water. My family also goes north most summers, which helps a lot.

    Q2: not hyper-sensetive, but I’m not good at recognizing my limits, so the times it has happened by the time I was aware that something was wrong I was having a meltdown. Afteraffects- extremely low patience and a general desire to get away from everyone, exhaustion, and hunger.

    Q3: I can’t stand wearing rough fabrics. Seams and tags bother me. I absolutely hate lace-y clothes and have scratched my skin red trying to wear them. Just touching these things with my fingers isn’t a problem, though.

    Q4: It’s complicated. I found sports bras massively uncomfortable when I first started wearing them, and put off doing that for a long time. Same with regular bras, which I only wore regularly for about two years before deciding it wasn’t worth it to be able to wear low-cut or tant tops. But gender dysphoria also played a big role in my postponing bras and forgoing cup bras. I wear sports bras because 1) mine are old and the fabric is worn and soft, so not as uncomfortable, 2) wearing nothing makes me feel masively dysphoric, 3) binding is a sensory and respiratory discomfort

    Q5: I generally wear sneakers, and don’t have much problem finding wearable ones. Sandals are another story, though- the between-toes strap on flip-flops is sensory hell, and the material of the straps has to be soft with minimal to no seams.

    Q6: Not at all, in fact the feeling I get in the shower is a lot like the feeling I get while doing my favorite stims

    Q7: I had no idea. It first happened at a night conscert when I was a tween, the noise and the lights and the /people bumping into me/, I ran out of the crowd ans just sat down on the sidealk crying and shaking. My mother was there as a chaperone and wrote it off as me being “tired and cranky”. For years after, I was afraid to have a sleep over for fear that I’d start screaming at people. When I had a similar reaction during a fire evacuation, I realized it was something else.

    Q8: I’m generally okay as long as it isn’t too terribly loud. A lot of stores have background music, which is all I need for most shopping situations. Unless I’m doing something particularly difficult, like trying to navigate an unfamiliar part of the public transport system, I don’t really need my own music.

  27. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I’m more or less addicted to heat. I love summer, taking hot baths that no one else can stand.

    Q5: Larger shoes are my preferred choice, with minimum contact with my skin. i love strap sandals.

  28. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I actually really like heat, especially direct sun heat. I find it soothing. I hate the cold.

    Q2: Sound is the worst for me. Sometimes I will try to discretely plug my ears. I have my noise canceling headphones with me almost all of the time. Otherwise I will either try to eliminate the noise or take repeated deep breaths. When I can I leave the room. I escape to the bathroom fairly often when I am overwhelmed. It can effect me for several hours afterwards, until I can get home and shut myself in my room for a couple of hours.

    Q3: I had to wear a uniform I used to steal my dad’s worn in and soft oxfords because new ones were horribly uncomfortable. I hated wearing a sweater over an oxford (not sure why).

    Q4: I hated bras at first, and still do not love them. I have a very specific brand and style that I wear and generally do not deviate from that. Sometimes, especially in the summer I will just stick to a shelf bra in a tank top. I sometimes wear sports bras even if I’m not going to work out.

    Q5: Yes! I love sandals, especially the really dorky ugly kinds that are really comfy (i.e. Keen). I have recently fallen in love with TOMs. They feel like nothing. I also wear a lot of Earth brand shoes.

    Q6: I shower on average 2-3 times a week because they are uncomfortable.

    Q7: Noises were always the worst trigger for me, and I was usually aware that I was “overreacting” to them, but was too overwhelmed to care. It was just another one of my odd quirks that I accepted.

    Q8: YES EARPLUGS ARE A MIRACLE. I bring my noise canceling headphones with me everywhere. I may not even be listening to music, but I prefer having them on when in public. I get anxious and annoyed very easily if I do not have them.

    1. Sorry, I’m too tired and shouldn’t have done this survey now..: lots of typos/spelling errors and some of the answers don’t make sense… (shoes to sleep in??;-) I meant walk!). I have saved it as a document so you can just delete my comment, then I’ll correct the errors and repost it tomorrow or in the weekend!

      1. I edited out the answers but left the post so I could reply here. When I read the part shoes being comfortable to sleep in I was very puzzled! 🙂

        After you repost, I’ll delete this whole thread.

      2. Thank you. I have emailed the corrected answer to you.

        When I read the part shoes being comfortable to sleep in I was very puzzled! 🙂

        Me too! I thought it as a ‘Freudian slip’ because I was tired, but I can see I meant to write ‘slip in’, so I guess it was more of a ‘phonetic slip’! or a combined slip…

  29. This is an excellent intitiative. It is very valuable to be able to read about other’s experiences in such a well structured, systematic, concise way. Especially in regard to the sensory question (Q2), I find it extremely helpful and calming to read about experiences are in some ways similar to my own. So thank you very much!

  30. 1. Summer is my favourite time. Although I don’t like high humidity, it is stressful. I become very angry & stressed if my husband doesn’t install the air conditioner in our bedroom on time. I CAN’T sleep if I’m sticky!!
    2. I have light sensitivity. I wear dark sunglasses all year. Sun bouncing off the snow is painful.
    3. No food textures for me.
    4. Bras …. Oh the hell. I need bras so I have to wear one . I’m very fussy, when buying ( no lace, seams ,awful fabric) I get hives from seams , elastic …. All my clothes have to be seam – free. I’ll even wear tank tops inside out to get rid of seams while I sleep! 100% cotton bedding as well.
    5. I have a wide foot so it’s a bit tricky. ( New Balance is the best runner for me)
    6. Showers are fine… Although I always have a bath
    7. All my sensory issues are skin related so … I use an allergy pill to remove the hives & itch
    8. I am self employed. I work in busy malls. I avoid busy times a day – no weekends

    1. Oh for Texture issues. As I said none for me. My husband & son ( also on the spectrum ) have major texture issues. My 3 1/2 year old son ( now almost 6 ) suddenly stopped eating most food. We tried so many ways to get healthy food in him ; he kept gagging then throwing up certain textures. He’s a little better now but still very limited . My husband cannot have ANY fat or gristle in meat. ( I don’t blame him ) I cook very precise meals.

      1. 9. I tried working for others and well, it never worked out. Usually I found imperfection in their work. Or ( as in a chef/kitchen environment ) it was far too high pace egocentric for my liking. I fallowed my father and started my own window cleaning business. 20 years later I’m still liking it. I get my favourite music going on my iPhone, and get very physical (almost dance cleaning). People say I’m an artist the way I work.
        10. No real office politics. Although I take some things said by a costumer wrong, and maybe get agitated , and sometimes overwhelmed with “what if’s ” going through my head. Once I get home I have a few glasses or wine ( my favourite relaxant )
        11.interviews, exams, speeches….. Can’t do these things at all. Avoid Avoid Avoid
        12. I don’t think it’s ever happened . I was once bullied in middle school. Some how I stood up to her.
        13. I like the phone.
        14. N/A

      2. Just realized textures is not just an eating thing. I have tons of clothing issues. I like super soft 100% cotton. I love good quality micro fibre workout/ yoga gear (I love ‘Lululemon’). Some fabrics are icky ( cheep nylon, wool, fleese, lace ) .If my hands are very dry, everything I touch feels discusting ( like scratching a chalk board). ‘ palmers cocoa butter lotion’ is heaven & it smells like chocolate. Yum!
        I have some food texture issues actually: I hate sticky ( okra ) and candy that sticks to my teeth ( hard caramel) . I only like meat that’s very tender. ( beef tenderloin or pot roast ) tought steak is awful ( you chew forever then your stuck with a wod of tasteless crap in your mouth that has to be spit out).
        Gum just annoys me ( as soon as the initial flavour blast is gone , so is the gum!

  31. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes. I have a narrow band. I am either very cold, perfect or extremely hot. With hot, i get more prickly feelings. For summer, I try to swim a lot. Also for walking the dogs, i try to do before sun up and after sun down. There are also the Frog Tog brand that is called a chilly pad. you put those on your neck and it is super cooling. No idea how it works but it does!!

    Q2: Light is a real bugger. I have to wear sun glasses outside.
    Sound is even worse for me. I have dog ears and high pitch noises like from flourescent lights and hum of electrons are a killer.
    In the old days i’d get overwhelmed and then pretty much bolt from the room. Getting outside and breathing or sitting helps.
    My challenge is I don’t always recognize that it is coming on.
    For sounds like loud restaurants I can feel my brain shut down. I don’t know about other people but it is like 50 million soundtracks 1 overlayed over the other. And you can hear it all and then it just hums

    Q3: none really

    Q4: yuck. I have so many clothes that I thought were good and then I can’t stand to wear. I was always a cotton girl growing up. Now some of the more tech fabric for exercise that has no tags has been good. These new shirts also are form fitting and don’t rub my under arms. weird but clothes that rubs onto my body as I move drives me nuts.

    Q5: Yes. I have figured that for all shoes i need a larger toe box. I can’t have large arches as they hurt. Also with sandals they can’t have any of those toe bumps. Often I try shoes on and they feel soooo good, I end up buying 3 pairs in different colors. (I do this with clothes too)

    Q6: nope. water is very calming for me

    Q7: Once we figured out what the issue was, I find that I get really twitchy. I tend to stutter a bit and get stuck on some words, have a hard time expressing myself etc. Also my hands tend to shake. My head then hurts and starts shutting down. Oh and I’d get much more “bitchy”

    Q8: would like to try this.

  32. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I don’t really have temperature issues. I do though have issues with temperature when it gets me sweaty and tend to get bad heat rashes and stuff like that.

    Q2: I often find ways to leave immediately even if I shouldn’t. I use the “bathroom” excuse a lot and then stim frantically in a bathroom stall to calm down. If I REALLY can’t leave, I just get really stimmy and have trouble with speech (or at least articulate speech) and zone out. Aftereffects I hide and spend a lot of time calming. The amount of time it takes to calm myself after overload is a lot longer than the amount of time it takes to prevent it in the moment.

    Q3: Certain types of touches. My partners beard during certain post-shaving stages of length. A few other random things I can’t remember at the moment. My body cringes and I move away.

    Q4: YES!!! I don’t have a solution. I take it off whenever possible as soon as I get home. I try to buy simple tshirt bras. Any suggestions from people would be magical.

    Q5: I wear good sneakers pretty much every day. In the summer I like to wear sandals (birkenstock type) and take them off mostly since I am often barefoot

    Q6: Sometimes. Once I’m in though sometimes I really like them. It takes a LOT though to get me into a shower and I don’t shower as often as I should.

    Q7: When I was younger I used to overload and internalize and then just meltdown and have no idea why. Then I learned to anticipate and understand and stuff

    Q8: YES to all. I just god new headphones and I’m super psyched with them. I almost always bring at least earplugs with me just in case.

  33. anonymous answers:

    Q9: i love research and watching trends. i have a unique ability to see trends that other people don’t see

    Q10: Until we figured out I have AS, it was like always hitting up against the wall with people. Same issues never understanding how we got there but back in the same boat again and again.
    Now, I am getting better asking if “i understand” things better. I also preface a lot of conversations, with “you will have to forgive me ahead of time, but I am really blunt and ask the questions that people want to know but are afraid to ask”.
    Office politics – I now shun them and tell my bosses that I just want to focus on my job and work hard. Please give “x” opportunity to someone else.

    Q11: I saw a neat 20 minute lecture on “Faking it until you Make it” on TED lecture series. She suggest to make yourself bigger before you go into the interview. IE try not to make yourself invisable but do something like outside your car or in the bathroom stretch out our do jumping jacks or something like that. It helps raise the Testerone in your brain and can kick some endorphines in.

    I also ALWAYS go in with notes or talking points to sell myself.

    Q12: I was bullied in school growing up, in college and in other activities. Then also as an adult. I hate girls and have nearly always hung out with the boys as there was no unwritten rules.
    As I’ve gotten older and in the work I have had to do, I realize there are as many men bullies.
    I tend to “call people out” on their behavior and them them they are being an asshole. Which of course has gotten me in trouble. But beyond that, find an advocate that can help you or at least listen to you.

    Q13: I work on a telephone and remotely it is so much better than in person where I can’t read body language.

    Q14: yes. I now work at home. the stress has gone way down.
    At first it was rejected, but my company’s HR finally told my big boss that they had to do.

    Focus on telling them how ” the changes” will make you more productive and a better employee.

  34. anonymous answers:

    Q9: I need a job where I can work in my own room for part of the day and can take breaks periodically. Also, I need one with some human interaction but for it to be almost exclusively one-on-one personal type interaction

    Q10: Not well. When I had a 20 hours a week internship I just sort of stayed out of that stuff since I wasn’t full-time and would feel like nobody liked me and found a few people who one-on-one I could be friendly with

    Q11: Use the anxiety to magically transform it into focus…I don’t have good ones. I get anxious too sometimes. Sometimes though, I get to the productive anxiety stage

    Q12: I haven’t been bullied since I was in high school (luckily)

    Q13: My internship involved a LOT of telephone usage. It caused a LOt of anxiety for me and I would avoid that part of the job. I would script the hell out of all the phone calls I needed to do ahead of time.

    Applying for jobs, I generally don’t apply for ones that require a telephone call of some kind (or cover letter).

    Q14: At school I have. It has always been a struggle convincing the office to give me even half the accommodations my psychiatrist recommends.
    Also, the ‘official’ accommodations

  35. Oh dear, this is going to be very long. I’m sorry. @_@ Your posts always bring out my rambles. And also I spent a very long time on this survey. XD

    1. Hm… I actually may have a sensitivity to heat. I can handle it, but I really don’t like it at all. I’m hyposensitive to cold weather, so it doesn’t bother me at all, really (I can walk barefoot in snow and it really doesn’t bother me), but I have yet to figure out a way of coping with heat. Exercise does help, especially swimming. I

    2. It usually starts off with sound for me, and then everything amplifies. I only recently realized that I actually DO get sensory overload, a few weeks ago at a gym practice. I tend to shut down rather than meltdown (but I used to get very snappy when going through it) I get quiet (quieter, at least~ XD) and more irritable and clumsier than normal- which is why I never realized that it was actually sensory overload. The way in which I deal with it? Well, when I’m at gymnastics, I stim and allow myself to go into hyperfocus while performing skills. It’s still overloading, but it help to focus on what my body is doing rather than the discomfort. I’m also considering using earplugs there in order to minimize the risks- it’s dangerous to do dangerous skills when I’m like that. @_@

    I don’t always have many aftereffects, but the ones that I have noticed would be increased exhaustion, irritability, and hunger. I’m more likely to meltdown after sensory overload. There are probably other efdfects, but I need to pay more attention. 😛

    3. I hate having anything soft brush against my fingernails unless it’s chenille. Strange, I know, but meh. I tend to avoid wearing jeans- I can handle them, but they’re just an extra distraction for me and they increase the risk of sensory overload unless they’re very soft and baggy. Ugh, there are so many textures that I’m forgetting right now. >.< I can 'feel' certain textures that I dislike for a long time after coming to contact with them. It's as though they make my skin crawl??? It's hard to explain. O_O

    4. I can wear them if I have to, but I've never found them comfortable in the least. I have to wear them, unfortunately, but I've found that sports bras and bras without wiring are the best. Also, I sometimes wear them a bit larger than I actually am so they aren't too tight.

    5. Oh goodness, yes. I couldn't stand socks as a child (THE SEAMS), and so I was rather limited in my shoe choices. I refused to wear tennis shoes because a) they were uncomfortable, brushed against my toenails if I didn't wear socks (thus requiring me to wear socks) and b) they required me to tie my shoes- which was very difficult for me. I could, but it was difficult and frustrating and took me a very long time to do successfully, so my mom gave up on making me. XD As such, I only wore flats and moccasins and boots and I think I had a few pairs of converse-type shoes?

    I'm a bit less picky now, but not by much. I can now handle socks, and I can tie my shoes better, at least. XD Now, I still prefer flats and moccasins… but I can wear other things if I have to. I've torn most of my favorite shoes to shreds. :<

    6. Hm, not in a physical sense? I'm a bit neurotic in regards to cleanliness, so I MUST take at least one showers per day. Sometimes the water is either too hot or too cold, though, and that does bother me. Showers are a ritual for me- they help me organize my thoughts and calm me before bed.

    7. I'm still trying to figure this one out. I've only just realized that I go into sensory overload, and I have yet to identify particular triggers. I can't even always tell when I'm overloaded, as strange as it sounds. I get too confused. However, I feel as though much of my irritability and confusion is caused my sensory overstimulation and anxiety, and I've been working on trying not to get so upset over certain things because I know that the problem is at least partially due to my sensitivities.

    8. I've been considering using earplugs more often- I feel as though it'd really help me. I haven't tried an Mp3 player, either, so I really should try that! :O

    9. That is a difficult question. I loved being a gymnastics coach, but it was hard for me because of executive functioning and auditory processing and social interaction. It was very hard for me to talk to the other coaches, and it was very isolating because of that.

    At the moment, I dream of doing something in developmental science. I love studying childhood development, and psychology fascinates me, so I'm considering educational/developmental psychology or something of the like. I'd love to be able to work with kids on the spectrum, to learn more about developmental disorders- it all fascinates me. I've also begun to consider neuropsychology. I'd love to do counseling, but I also think that I'd probably be better at teaching or researching. But I also want to work with children hands on, so I don't know??? XD Either way, it'd be like special interest heaven for me…

    But I don't know what I'd do about social interaction. ;~;

    I also love to be a writer, so…??? XD I'd still write, no matter what profession I end up with.

    10. See, I don't really 'cope'. I just kinda stumble around with a smile pasted on my face and hope I don't offend anyone. As stated previously, I really need to find new coping mechanisms. XD

    11. I've never been to a job interview, so I can't answer. I've done a few school interviews, though, and I tend to come off as very precocious to adults, so??? No one can ever seem to tell when I'm anxious. I don't know why. :<

    12. Haaa, once again, I DON'T. I usually can't even tell when it's happening and have to get a second opinion from someone before I realize… I always feel uncomfortable, though, so I end up internalizing my feelings and acting very passive aggressive towards the people who care for me. My mom says that it's as though I reflect the way that I'm being treated? So yeah, I don't necessarily deal with it. :/ I just shut down.

    13. I used emailing and texting at my last job. I can use the telephone when I NEED to, but I avoid it at all costs unless I'm comfortable around the person.

    14. Nope, but I've been considering doing it for my college courses next year and/or mentioning my problems to my current home study supervisor.

  36. Anonymous answers:

    Q1. I don’t feel good when it is too hot (>25ish), so I try to avoid the heat. Heat waves are terrible, but air conditioning helps.

    Q2. “How do you cope when you find yourself starting to get overwhelmed, but can’t leave immediately?”

    Noise: ear plugs. I always have skin-coloured foam ear plugs with me, which I can discretely use when needed (they are not noticeable if I let my hair down).

    Light/vision: I have problems with sudden light flashes (like camera flashes), and if there are many things flickering, blinking, shining and/or moving at once.. I try to stand/sit so I can’t see too much, shield my eyes, look down, find a point that isn’t stressing to look at, and use it as a ‘safe point’ where I can rest my eyes, and blink with the eyes a lot to ‘reset’ when visually stressed.

    “How do you recognize when you’re starting to hit that point of sensory overload?”

    I don’t recognise it until it is too late. My husband apparently recognises early warning signs (if he is with me), and asks me to wear my ear plugs, or go and wait in the car.

    The sign that sensory overload has ‘hit’ in a social event is that I feel very tired, depressed, slow, and withdrawn. Everything seems unreal and out of proportions (notice random details or colours or sounds intensely, and can’t make sense of the overall situation). I may still be trying to socialise, but have no social interest at all and can’t hear properly/make much sense of what people say. I might start feeling extremely depressed, almost suicidal, and just want everything to stop. Earlier on I wouldn’t necessarily leave such a situation until I was totally drained, I didn’t have the initiative or ability to draw a conclusion because my mind had shut down and everything felt unreal. Typically, I don’t realise how bad I feel until I come home and begin to get ‘real’ again.

    “How do you deal with the aftereffects of the overload – and what aftereffects do you notice?”

    Basically, nothing works and it feels horrible: deep depression, intense physical restlessness, feeling incompatible with my own body, shakenness, sometimes ringing for the ears (tinitus), intense frustration and no relief… My damage control tactics include solitude in quiet surroundings and plenty of time with no social challenges (a must), darkness, a calm dog resting on me (she does that by herself if I’m stressed), lying down or sitting with my back to the wall, rocking, biting my hands or fingers. A hot bath, foot massage, different sorts of firm touch, weight sensations, and sensations hard cold things can be soothing too.

    “How long can it take to deal with the aftereffects?”

    From a few hours to several days. A bad party & subsequent overload can trigger a longer depression, but that might be for a mix of different reasons.

    Q3. None.

    Q4. No.

    Q5. Good shoes are very important to me and take a long time to find. Indispensable requirements include comfort, look, how easy they are to take on/off, gait (the way the shoes shapes the gait), and sound:-) My preferred work shoes are comfortable, enable an well balanced gait, look nice, are easy to slip in and have a nice sound when I walk in them:-)

    Q6. No.

    Q7. As a teenager and young adult (and older kid as well), I felt socially faulty for being so clueless at engaging socially, and felt overwhelmed/confused/withdrawn and instantly depressed at basically any party/social get-togethers, even fairly small ones. I was angry with myself for failing again and again and not learning it, and thought I just ought to figure out what to do and try harder, but nothing worked. Now I can see that sensory overload played a huge role in my social problems all the way through (incl. school) because of the set-up of typical social situations, and I don’t think I am socially hopeless at all.

    Q8. Ear plugs are vital to me in order to cope with many everyday situations, so I make sure I always have some of them.

    “Does the stress level go up when you can’t have it on when being stuck in crowed or noisy places?”

    That is an understatement.

  37. anonymous answers:

    Q9. I wish I knew. Something that enables me to go in depth, specialise and complete projects (‘create finished products’) and then move on to the next level.

    Q10. I try to always clarify what is meant by asking, if there is any ambiguity. That said, people can be a bit tired of that I think, and I have not been able to deal successfully with office politics so far.

    Q11. Prepare well, both for the content of the interview and practical details like how to get there, how the place looks (look at the street, building and front entrance via Street View in Google Earth), what to wear, and contingency planning (if …, then …)

    Q12. Typically, I don’t notice it until it is too late! But if I think one person is trying to target me, then I’ll first try to find out if I have upset the person with something I can change, by asking the person alone. If the person seems to just want to target me and talk behind my back, then I’ll try to confront the person in front of others (to bring it out in the open where I can address it, and can see others’ reactions to what’s going on). If it is directly bullying (and I’m aware of it), and/or there is a general mood against me, then I guess the only healthy option is to get out of there ASAP.

    Q13. The options are very limited for finding occupations where it isn’t necessary to use a phone at all, so the best option would probably be opennes about the problem, and to seek a position where special accommodations can be made (such as not having to use a phone), possibly for a lower pay or with some sort of disability subsidy to compensate the employer for the extra hassle

    Q14. No.

  38. anonymous answers:

    Q9: I’ve found my perfect job – I’m an air traffic controller. This job is usually branded as one of the most unsuitable for people on the spectrum, but I love it. I actually have no problem with handling multiple information at a time and stress impact is vastly overblown in this work. There’s usually just one person with me during the shift, I don’t have to look at the people I’m talking to through the radio or through the phone, and most importantly – pretty much ALL the interactions are scripted. Even our reactions to non-standard situations are following a flowchart and we rehearse them every 2 years or so. Also, I love how non-repetitive the job is. There are no two workdays alike.
    But hey, that’s just me. As with everything, YMMV.

    Q10: I’m rather detached from the social life at my job and all the professional interactions are scripted. If I don’t understand some office policy, I ask my boss (who’s a really great person) to explain and it works well. Other than that, I just don’t care enough to be bothered.

    Q11: I’ve only had two work interviews my whole life, I was nervous as hell both times. No help here. Well, I learned the strong, fast handshake and I think this might help make good first impression – and I try to remember to make moderate eye contact. But other than that, I just go through this and hope for the best.

    Q12: I used to be bullied in school and, well, I didn’t really deal with it. After that I grew confident enough not to care about what other people think and now I’m never bullied anymore.

    Q13: I can use the telephone (with great distaste, though), but I actually got the job through email application.

    Q14: Nope.

  39. Hey! Took me a while to get to this, because of not being well this past week, but I’m finally here!

    I’m really glad this is happening, and I think it’s going really well. *cheers Lori and Musings*

    On to the questions!

    Q1: Heat sensitivity?
    This is one of my questions, actually. I’m sensitive to anything about about 18°C (64.4°F) and up: I get a nasty rash on my palms and fingers, and then up the inside of my arms; then it starts getting inflamed and itchy; then the prickling (pain) starts (usually mainly in my fingers, but sometimes if it’s bad it will be my hands as well). The only things I’ve been able to do involve air conditioning, sleeping during the day, staying in the basement…. Not fun. However, I *am* being referred to an endocrinologist, to see if there’s anything connected to my hypothalamus or thyroid that might be causing part of the problem. It’s been getting worse, and while St. John’s’ summer is nothing compared to Toronto’s (which quite often will spend weeks in 30°C+, plus humidex), it can still get bad. And exercise (except in a pool, that’s a good suggestion) makes it worse, because my internal thermostat doesn’t seem to recognize when I’m getting too hot (see comment re endocrinologist).

    Q2: Light and sound sensitivity and overloads?
    My other question here. I… don’t tend to recognize when I’m heading into sensory overload. There have been a few times I’ve caught it – at my aunt’s Christmas Eve parties the past two years – but that’s because I’ve been consciously *watching* for it – which creates more stress / anxiety in and of itself, which bounces back to the sensory stuff, and before you know it the whirlpool of sensory overload is dragging you down…. Hm. *cough* Well. I wear sunglasses whenever I go out. I do my best to avoid crowds, noisy people, high-pitched music, and flashing / blinking / etc. lights. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work.
    Generally, I tend to shutdown, rather than go into meltdown, when it comes to sensory stuff. Meltdowns tend to happen with emotional overloads more than sensory with me. I tend to feel distant, distracted, unable to concentrate, unfocused, and usually in pain (headaches). Irritable, as well – easily annoyed. Exhausted / fatigued / drained.
    Coping with the aftereffects tends to involve shutting myself in my room with the lights off and trying to go to sleep. Unfortunately, when this happens in the middle of the day, my sleep schedule gets all screwed up. And it takes *hours* to recover (not just two, which is a reasonable time limit if you need a daytime nap), or even days. (Especially when a headache was produced.) Cuddling my puddy tat can also help; she’s quiet, she’s kitten-soft, and she loves me. Ironically, despite the fact that I love music, and music can sometimes help me deal with things (see Q8), when I’m in the “recovery from overload” state, I can’t tolerate any music at all. Not even my own music (the playlists I’ve got on my computer).

    Q3: Texture sensitivities?
    I don’t have many. I’m not terribly fond of wool against my skin, but I can deal. I *hate* the texture of celery, cucumber and zucchini; that, plus the taste, is why I can’t stand those veggies. Um… I don’t think I really have any others. I seek out textures; I’ve got this neat shirt that has sequins, rope, ribbon, and embroidery thread forming the design, and rubbing my fingers along all the different textures is a stim.

    Q4: Bras?
    I have to wear bras. I seriously wish I didn’t; not because they bother me (though some do), but because I find them a nuisance. (*So* wish I was small-busted like my youngest sister….) Um… I tend to need a lot of support, but I like soft bras. I’ve worn ones with underwire, and they help, but they’re not the most comfortable. (Not to mention what happens when the wire pokes through the fabric and then starts getting itself removed….)

    Q5: Shoes?
    I’ve always had trouble with shoes, mostly because – as a tall woman – I have large feet. I need a women’s size 12 / 13 (North American) or 42 (European), and those are hard to find. Half the time I’ve had to get men’s shoes just to have something that fits.
    The most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had so far are my MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology: http://www.mbt.com/ ) shoes. I got them in 2008 because of the problems I was having with my legs and feet at the time, and they’ve helped me walk a lot better.
    The problem is, I need serious arch support (like orthotics) and the podiatrist has said that the shoes I need have to be narrow at the arch, but wide at the toe (because my toes *seriously* need room).
    The last time I wore heels was when I was playing dress-up when I was about 11 or so. I *hate* heels. Even small heels, though I can tolerate a slight one.

    Q6: Showers physically painful?
    Not painful, no, but there’s *something* about showers that keeps me reluctant to have them. I don’t know if it’s a time issue (though that should be resolving itself, given the fact that I’ve learned to take a 5 minute shower!), or if it’s something else, but I just… have serious problems with my tendency to try to avoid showering. It’s illogical – especially since the hot water from the shower can sometimes help relieve tension – but I can’t seem to control it. *growl*

    Q7: First sensory overload reaction?
    I’m fairly sure that until recently (like 2007 / 2008 / 2009), I had no idea about sensory overloads – not really. I knew that I was sensitive to light and to sound, and that I couldn’t tolerate spices, or perfumes and artificial fragrances, but I had no real idea why. I suspect my sensory overloads up to that point resulted in headaches, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as psychosomatic symptoms including feeling nauseous.
    Emotional overloads – those I used to get all the time. I could never understand why I’d suddenly get upset over something small, and start crying, and be unable to stop, or say anything. Not until the fall of 2011 did I realize that those were meltdowns from overload. (And it sometimes happened with sensory overloads as well; it’s just those were mostly emotional.)

    Q8: MP3 Player going out?
    Oh, I need this so much… and half the time I forget it, or I’m going somewhere *with* someone, so I can’t use it! The car radio makes an adequate substitute, but only if it’s on a station that plays music I like. Which means that I have to be the one driving. And yes, not having the music to distract me causes serious anxiety and stress to rear its head.

    Q9: Right job for your ‘brand’ of autism?
    Data entry of some sort. Fiction writing. Editing / beta reading / grammar checking. Technical writing. Quiet places. Places where I’m given a definite set of instructions and expectations.

    Q10: Work – coping with non-verbal language and office politics?
    First of all, I’ve made a point of keeping out of office politics. I *know* that I can’t understand or deal with them, so I keep neutral. I don’t gossip, I don’t talk about people behind their back, and if people want to tell me something, I will *not* pass it along (unless it’s job-related and needs to be, or is requested to be). And while I know office politics is supposed to be this big deal, I have no interest in going for managerial positions (I could *never* handle that!), so I see no point to it.
    Other than that… I basically just do my best to act friendly, or at least, as I mentioned above, neutral. Sometimes people haven’t liked me, but I’ve found that in general, behaving like I do keeps other people reasonably friendly as well. I’ve seen “reasonably friendly” often enough to be able to imitate it.

    Q11: Interviews – coping strategies?
    Ouch.
    I’ve done mock interviews before, a few times; my most recent one was graded as excellent, with the only problem being apparent lack of engagement (aka not responding to emotional, non-verbal cues). But I still dread interviews. I never know whether I’m saying the right thing, or tossing my chances down the toilet, because I can’t read the interviewer(s). It’s particularly bad if I end up having more than one interviewer. One of them, I can generally turn it into a conversation (or they do – most of my one-on-one interviews have been turned into conversations); but two or more? Nope. Not and have enough concentration left over to actually *answer* the questions.
    And trying to come up with questions of my own? Argh! I never know what to ask, since you’re not supposed to ask about benefits or money in the (preliminary) interview – especially when you have to tailor it to the job! And asking about work culture is hard.
    One thing that we did on the internship I just finished that might help people is something called a “portfolio”. Basically, you get together your resume, and records of your accomplishments (certificates, newspaper articles, written commendations, papers you’ve written, etc.), and put them in a binder. Also include your answers to basic interview questions, lists of questions you might ask, details about jobs you’ve done before that aren’t listed in your resume due to space constraints…. Anything and everything you can think of to make you look good. Depending on whether you need accomodations, you might also have a list of what you require, or what your issues are and suggestions for what could be used for accomodating them. You carry it with you to the interview, and so if the interviewer asks a question about something you’ve got in there (accomplishments), you can open it and show them the proof! <– This is thanks to the ILRC (NL) Internship Program.

    Q12: Bullied?
    I haven't been bullied since my middle sister grew up and understood responsibility (aka I was in high school), thankfully. The way I dealt with her was to ignore her, as advised by my parents; but that didn't work too well, and also set up a sense of detachment in me that also interfered with my relationships with the two youngest siblings.
    These days? I'm not sure what I'd do. I'm fairly passive, or passive-aggressive, in how I cope with things. I have a *lot* of trouble moving towards assertiveness (beaten down self-esteem as a kid, plus the lack of understanding of non-verbal cues). So… I honestly don't know what I'd do, but it probably wouldn't help my stress and anxiety issues very much.

    Q13: How do you get a job if you can't use the telephone?
    Hm. I *can* use the telephone – I just hate it. (I'm *really* bad at figuring out emotional content just from the sound of a voice; at least face-to-face you can have the chance to see the body language and analyze it. I can't analyze voice emotional content besides the basics.) And the kinds of jobs I'm looking at… a telephone isn't really necessary. I've served my customer service time, and I am *never* going back to that. It was *toxic*! (Not the people – they were all *great* – but the environment, and the job itself.)
    Other than that… well, as some people above have mentioned, the world of business is starting (or has started) moving into the electronic realm. E-mail is a perfectly valid way to communicate, as are IM and chat.

    Q14: Asked for accomodations?
    Hm. I was *going* to say, "No," but then I remembered a couple of things. In my job with as a customer service rep, I ended up having to take longer breaks, and have a shorter work week (before having to quit because of the stress). They were really great about it, perfectly willing to accomodate me as much as possible. I was even told I was quite brave; that so many people quit and their supervisors had never known that they were struggling, because they'd never spoken up.
    And more recently, I ended up cancelling one of my work placements a month before the end of my internship, because it was just too stressful and toxic. (See my post: "Sensory Overload Fun (Not!)" at http://tagaught.net/sensory-overload-fun-not/ for details.) I talked it over with my internship supervisors twice (once right after Christmas, and I decided to try to stick it out, and the other the last week of February), and we decided that it was too dangerous to my health to continue.
    Other than that, I've got a few suggestions (note-takers, recorders) for when / if I go back to school, because trying to concentrate on more than one thing in a class pratically guarantees I won't hear / understand everything I need to. (I'm much more sensitive and responsive to visual input than auditory, and I remember it better.)

    Another nice long post to answer! Hope there's some stuff in there that can be of use!

    😉 tagAught

  40. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I get sick every year the first day it gets really warm. I get sick if I wear clothes that are too heavy. I wear sandals February – December. I sleep with a window cracked open in the winter. (And I have a terrible asthmatic reaction to cold air. Just thought I’d mention it.)

    Q2: I’m lucky on that score–I very rarely get overloaded by light and sound. On the other hand, I have extremely poor visual processing skills, and remember almost nothing that I see–faces, buildings, you name it.

    Q3: None really.

    Q4: Nope, I pretty much don’t notice them.

    Q5: I have to wear sandals unless it’s absolutely freezing. I go barefoot a lot.

    Q6: I hate showers. Not painful, but yeah, almost.

    Q7: I used to stop whenever my parents would enter a building like the grocery store. I’d rather follow somebody else in.

    Q8: Nope, never take them out in public.

  41. Anonymous answers:

    Q9: Something where I was completely alone–lighthouse keeper, maybe? lol

    Q10: I don’t work, but the office politics was a killer for me. I’ve lost jobs and never found out why.

    Q11: I can sort of ‘put on a face’ and pretend to be normal for a short while.

    Q12: I’m still trying to deal with that. I’ve been bullied all my life. I’ve learned to avoid people that treat me like that. I’ll stand up for myself if I have to (that’s when I’d get fired, I suppose, if the bully was my boss–it’s happened before).

    Q13: Don’t have a job. And I have a terrible time on the phone.

    Q14: Nope–I didn’t know I was autistic until after I gave up trying to work. Too sick now–applying for disability.

  42. Anonymous answers:

    Q9: Never been able to work it out, partly because a job that matches my autism would be something I did 100% alone, but being at work is the only time I interact with other people and I know it would be really bad for me if I gave that up.

    Q10: I don’t get involved in gossip. Up until recently(the first 15 years of my working life) I resigned and moved on every 1-2 years, so I didn’t have to worry about people getting to know me too well. I’ve beenin the same job for five years now and I find myself withdrawing more and more -I’m terrified that people will see the real me and spend a lot of time maintaining a mask of normality.

    Q11: I used to treat them like an acting job. It’s simply a stage where you perform for the crowd.

    Q12: Badly. Withdraw. Dissociate. Make mistakes. Have meltdowns. Think about suicide.

    Q14: Not yet.

  43. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I hate midsummer. Once the temperature goes over 26C, I’m done. I try not to use the a/c, but sometimes I have to put it on for an hour so I can cool down enough to function. Work is now air conditioned, so I don’t have to worry.
    I can also get sunburn in about 2 1/2 minutes (no melanin at all), so I stay indoors most of the day in summer.

    Q2: Because I’m a late diagnosis, I never knew there was a reason why I felt like this. My response is to keep going – I only fall apart once I get home.

    Q4: No solutions – but keep me posted…

    Q5: I love trainers. Hate sandals and can’t wear flip-flops or anything without a back as I can’t keep them on my feet.
    I used to love ballet shoes but I look stupid in them now.

    Q6: No – I love the heat and sensation, although I hate hate hate water running across my face.

    Q7: I just thought I was weak and stupid.

    Q8: I find it just adds to the sensory overload, and the thought of someone walking up behind me when I can’t hear them freaks me out.

  44. 1) Yes, though more to cold than heat. If I’m too hot I have trouble sleeping, but I’m mostly insensitive to it otherwise – to the point I generally get odd looks for being “overdressed for the weather”. (This is a real high-temperature tolerance; I can walk other people into the ground in the summer as long as I bring water to drink.) However, too cold really gets to me. I can’t think well when I’m cold – and my allergies seem to make me even more sensitive to it.

    2) Light and sound – if the walls start closing in, and my focus narrows down to just what’s right in front of me, then I know I’m pushing it. The best thing I can do at that point is try to keep any conversations as simple as possible; yes, no, and “later” if I can. The very best thing to do is get outside to some fresh air and away from people. If I get overloaded (too easy, sometimes, especially if I’ve had to concentrate on driving), then I generally feel dazed and “rubbed raw” afterward, sometimes for days. I also tend to get very literal for several hours after that, and need to concentrate on things I’m doing in a stepwise fashion, or I’m lost. I don’t get badly overloaded often, but when I do, the aftereffects can linger a week or more. I almost never go outside without sunglasses – I can walk into things like trees, even when I see they’re there. And loud situations like crowds, concerts, etc. are just about impossible.

    3) Texture – for the longest time, I couldn’t stand onions. I deal with them better now, but I still chop them up as fine as possible so I don’t have long slimy things in my mouth. For external textures, synthetic fabrics drive me up the wall. They grate, and I can get a rash. I don’t like flexible plastic pens, but hard plastic works.

    4) The invention of the sports bra was a Good Thing. I use them for going out in public.

    5) Oh, do I ever. Sometimes I think I’d like to hunt shoe designers down and make them wear the darn things. All. Day. I have short, wide feet that are difficult to fit at best, and when you combine that with the hyperawareness of what is touching my feet – I have to look for men’s sneakers and/or hiking boots, and hope I get lucky. I’m lucky if I find one pair that fits out of a whole store; two is downright impossible.

    6) Hasn’t been one of my problems.

    7) I reacted to overloads for years without ever knowing what the problem was; people just thought I was antisocial (also true) and unreasonable. Then sometime in High school, I think, someone finally gave me a pair of sunglasses. It was incredible. Suddenly I could actually _see_ outside. After that, I was able to start identifying getting overloaded, simply because it wasn’t happening all the time.

    8) I actually can’t stand earplugs or having an MP3 player attached to me when I’m around other people. I need to be able to hear them moving around, or they can sneak up on me – and I have an exaggerated startle response, that leaves me jangled for hours. The worst part is, a lot of people who know I jump find that _funny,_ and will go out of their way to sneak up on me. So I can’t use a music shield. Darn it.

    9) Anything where you give me a list of what you want accomplished, say “here are the tools, here’s when I need it by”, and then _go away._ I’m a whiz at computer-based research of subjects, I just haven’t figured out how to market that.

    10) Badly. I try to say as little as possible, be seen as little as possible, and nod politely. It just seems like such a frustrating waste of time – if the point is supposed to be to do the job, who cares how gets the credit or who’s kissing someone’s… unprintables. I also try to keep my tone quiet and level, if I can, and say things like, “I’m not sure I understood what you meant by X. Did you mean…?”

    11) Ugh. Try to anticipate possible questions, try not to say anything strange (and remember that odd facts about stellar phenomena and deep-sea vent ecologies counts as strange to most people), and if possible, try to do them by phone.

    12) Also badly. Bullies home in on people who don’t have social “buffers” against their behavior. And most onlookers are complicit – why stand up for the weirdo, when the bully might turn on them? Besides, weirdos deserve it!

    …I could rant for hours. You get the idea.

    13) Huh. And ouch. Try to do contacts by email?

    14) I’ve never formally asked for accommodations. I have asked people to slow down so I can take notes of exactly what they’re saying. Sometimes that works.

  45. anonymous answers:

    Q9: Techie work in the trenches.

    Q10: For what I do, I can be in my own world. I’m already known as the weird IT/dev guy. I stay out of office politics.

    Q11: I don’t do them. Yes. I stayed at a job for 16 years because I was afraid of doing an interview. And that job wore me down mentally and emotionally.

    Q12: Generally people stay away from me because I can make their computer life a living hell…

    Q13: I never used a telephone to get a job. I don’t even use a telephone for my job.

    Q14: Yes. To turn off the lights in my area and to lower the temperature to the upper 60’s/lower 70’s.

  46. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I can’t stand heat. I keep the AC on and stay inside from March->November (that is the summer months where I am at here in Central Texas).

    Q2: I’m just a bit sensitive to light. But they don’t overwhelm me.

    Q3: I hate microfiber. It grates on me like people running their fingernails across a chalkboard.

    Q4: I’m a guy, so not applicable.

    Q5: Yes. I have two different size feet, so shoes are very hard to find. I wear New Blance.

    Q6: Yes. I pretty much have to burn myself. I could never use showers at the beach or anywhere cold because I would scream out in pain.

    Q7: I react to overloads by hiding. I get away from as much as I am able to until I can recover.

    Q8: I kinda need to have noise in general to think. Earplugs drive me crazy if I have them in.

  47. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I hate the heat and the cold. In summer I avoid being outside unless it’s early or late. I wear long loose cotton clothing, couldn’t stand tight t-shirts and shorts. Am not sporty and have a few health issues, so I just walk the dogs,

    Q2: I get irritated, impatient and migraines from all overloads, light, sound, heat, noise, smells, crowds etc. If I can’t leave I resist trying to listen/participate and just concentrate on enduring. I always try hard to exit the situation.

    Q3: Synthetics – ugh I sweat and scratch and can’t concentrate or rest. Wool itches. Hate things poking me eg labels, domes, ridges in waistbands. I have to wear natural fibres, especially cotton, _especially_ underwear and bed clothes/sheets.

    Q4: Yes, luckily don’t really need to. I wear some 95% cotton / 5%spandex crop tops to work, otherwise nothing.

    Q5: Yes! Bare feet, socks, sheepskin slippers and comfortable walking shoes. Soft italian/german leather boots – almost always expensive, but have some great finds in the op shops.

    Q6: No, but my partner often asks “Did you have a good shower?” I don’t even understand what he means about that as a description for the experience. I do enjoy a hot bath, especially with rose oil.

    Q7: No didn’t know why, just could never stand any overload as a child, used to have tantrums at times.

    Q8: I don’t go to crowded places if I can avoid it, because of the stress. I hate earplugs, so at work I wear ‘outside’ earphones, but not for long as can’t handle them.

  48. anonymous answers:

    Q9: Haven’t found it yet. IT is okay for me at the moment, but I’d prefer to write from home.

    Q10: I’m older so have watched and listened along the way. I try not to get too involved, but ma lucky as I work with some very tolerant males. I find not having too many females is best for me, some of them find me offensive more often than the men.

    Q11: Avoid them! Prepare like mad, watch the people for cues, feel bad afterwards is my usual pattern. But if I didn’t like them then I try to let it go without too much self criticism.

    Q12: I was lucky and learned long ago how to stand for myself. My father taught me some techniques – my elder brother was bullied and I learned from that.

    Q13: ? Not sure what this means. To apply use email?

    Q14: No, didn’t know I was on the spectrum until just recently – just before I turned 49.

  49. Q1: Sensitive to both hot and cold. Can only sleep within a narrow range of temperatures (about 2 degrees); if it’s too hot, I can use a fan, but if it’s too cold I have to put the heating on. Most times in the year, if I am outside, I have to carry a jumper and a coat with me, and will change what combination I am wearing multiple times a day.

    Q5: Comfort, no; appearance, yes.

    Q8: Very much so. I carry a set of earphones (and often a spare) at all times.

  50. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Not too much issue with temperature.

    Q2: For me it is a combo of people, noise, lights, etc. I feel overwhelmed and a bit sick and out of control. I usually just leave. The effects dissipate fairly soon once I leave the environment.

    Q3: I dont like tight cloths of any kind but that is easy to avoid.

    Q4: For me, the answer is sports bras or a camisole with built in support. These are a big improvement.

    Q5: I prefer sandals or athletic shoes but I was OK back when I had to wear dressier shoes.

    Q6: No.

    Q7: I became confused and a bit ill. I did not know why so I went to the doctor. He thought it was stress. This was years before Aspergers was in the DSM and no one was looking for Autism in adults (though I was just barely an adult at that time).

    Q8: I do not use this strategy.

  51. Q9: I have always had a fantasy to have an “office” in a “real office”‘s stockroom. In my previous job, I would sometimes sneak into our stockroom and do some of my work there. I could control the lighting and, the door was locked (and I could hear anyone coming and going all around, because the “walls” didn’t go all the way to the ceiling). I got more work done in there than I ever did at my real desk (in the “open concept” office). It was amazing to me, despite my having asked several times, that my boss (who was an exceptionally strict “slave driver”) could not recognise the pure efficiency value of me working in there (i.e., the stockroom). It still makes me laugh ..how much this concept eluded him. My dream job is one that almost anyone else would find dreary, probably. I’d love to just have a stack of work that I can toil away at, in a routine fashion, without anyone bothering me, and with low lighting. I am really good at making “systems” to process large quantities of work. The only thing that I wish was missing was the social component ..I don’t want to talk to anyone throughout the day, nor do I want to “go drinking” with them after work, etc. And I hate feeling obliged to do so.

    Q10: I don’t work, at the moment. How I used to cope was by being extremely self-depricating. I had a lot of bowel/stomach problems, as well, because I would internalise everything. As I get older, I find I just don’t care as much. If I don’t like the atmosphere, I usually just leave (and try to preserve my “reserves”).

    Q11: I don’t think I have any really great strategies to cope with interviews. I hate them. If I could have an interview by typing over the internet, that would be great. Most HR people (at least the ones with whom I’ve interacted) are quite sloppy extroverts, so I don’t imagine an interview request of this nature would be very well received ! Also, I don’t drink ..so I can’t calm my nerves that way ! Actually, I’ll look forward to reading how OTHER people cope with the interview scenario..

    Q12: I used to work with a real old leather purse, at my former job ..I could tell, straight-away how rude she was to people (if not to their face, then shortly after they had left the room). My strategy with her was to try to “commiserate” with her and “be on her side”. This backfired, as I heard her talking about ME one day (she thought I had left the office, when I was actually just inside the conference room). I could tell this was not going to work, so I basically avoided her as much as I could. She was not nice and, did not respond to kindness. She was already too dried up for me to have any impact on her actions (by trying to be nice to her), so I avoided her as much as I could. When my boss bullied me (at that same job), I developed problematic bowel symptoms and, would be sick to my stomach a lot. This made me miss more work, which made him even harder on me. That’s funny, I just wrote “harder on her” ..I absent-mindedly, automatically just disassociated myself from that memory. Anyway, here again (as in the previous question), I seem not to have had a lot (if any) of proper coping mechanisms. I would, again, like to read how other people cope/have coped.

    Q13: Hmmm, thankfully, a lot of people are willing to communicate via email these days. I suppose it depends on what type of job it is (altho, most have some sort of communication factor which requires the use of a telephone). I was in a “back office”, at my previous job, so I would just click on my do-not-disturb (on the telephone keypad). I got away with it some of the time. If you are on a reception desk, etc., I honestly don’t know how you’d get around it. The teletype function is just for hearing-impaired people I guess.

    Q14: I have asked for accommodations (for several reasons), in the past. It didn’t go well. My boss bullied me so hard, and berated me in front of co-workers and strangers, that I felt my only option was to quit ..because it was making me too sick. I have worked very hard in my life to have a high “pain tolerance”, and I hate to quit anything, but, I did end up quitting. I lost all of my benefits, built-up-routines, seniority, etc., after almost 20 years of working there.

  52. Q9: At a guess, data entry or something organisation-related with limited interaction with a few people.

    Q10: I don’t work, but I’m in charge of a 3-week college event each semester, which might as well be a job. When I have a problem with someone I either tell them (if it’s relevant to working with them) or just pay attention and make sure I’m treating them as equally as possible (if it’s more a personality clash thing). When there’s a dispute between two people I talk to them to figure out what’s going on, so at least I know, and try to arrange things so they don’t have to work together.

    Before, when someone else was running the event, I always tried to keep on top of what issues people had with each other (and asked for clarification when they said something passive-aggressive), but I could never understand why they couldn’t compartmentalise and keep the friendships separate from the working relationship.

    Q12: I’ve somehow managed to make my bluntness intimidating. I also look physically strong, so that combined with people knowing I do martial arts makes them not want to piss me off. Which is nice, because I probably wouldn’t deal well with bullying.

    Q14: I’ve never asked for accommodations, however my high school was small, so my teachers suggested accommodations for me even without a diagnosis: honors or college textbooks for science, an essay instead of worksheets for science and history, creating my own prompts for English.

    I’m currently in college and exploring getting an autism diagnosis (currently diagnosed ADD) to ask for accommodations to reduce required speaking in class discussions and get a private room due to heat sensitivity–I have the window open year round, including when it’s snowing and apparently a lot of people like having their heaters turned up past 70 degrees.

  53. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I’ve always been over-sensitive to heat, especially if there’s no shade. Currently, I’m spending most of the summer in a sports bra and shorts, at least when I’m at home. I’m too scared of guys catcalling or something to go anywhere like that. I also find that shaving my head helps a lot, as my hair is dark and voluminous; before I shaved my head, I kept it up in variations of french braids. Other options for me are to wet whatever shirt I’m wearing, wear lightweight/sheer fabrics, carry around a spray bottle, or hope for shade and a breeze.

    I think I’m under-sensitive to cold–I really enjoy walking barefoot in snow and don’t mind if my feet get a bit numb. And I shaved my head in the middle of winter when there was snow on the ground and I loved it. Since I’m aware that I may not notice myself getting too cold, I try to find things I really enjoy wearing. for example, I knitted myself gloves and a hat that I love wearing because of the patterns, colors, softness, and the amount of work I put into them. I also know my friends will yell at me if I start shivering and don’t notice, so that helps as a deterrent.

    Q3: I can tolerate most textures, however when shopping with friends recently, they noticed that everything I picked up to try on felt nice. So it could just be that I shy away from bad textures instinctively. I do know that I can’t stand most tags or those dresses with elastic at the waist. For the latter, I just don’t buy them. And for the former, I look at how the tag was sewn in. If it was sewn into a seam, I don’t buy the garment. But if it was sewn onto the garment separate from any seams, I’ll buy it because I can remove the tag.

    Q4: I don’t have too much trouble with bras, but that’s probably because I wear sports bras nearly all the time. When I do wear “regular” bras, it takes me a long time to find one that fits comfortably, especially a strapless. One that I did find was a strapless/convertable from Victoria’s Secret that didn’t have that weird hot glue-like stuff to keep the bra up.

    Q5: Shoes are the worst! I had a pair of really thin flip flops once that I wore until they broke, then I just started going barefoot and got suspended from high school. Currently, I wear Vibram FiveFingers or flip flops when I can’t be barefoot most of the year, though I’m looking for a thin-soled closed-toed shoe that’s more normal-looking. And it takes me a long time to find boots flat enough to be comfortable. For socks, I find snowboarding socks to be comfortable, though I think it’d be even better if I were to start knitting my own.

    Q7: I think I used to overload from my mother yelling at me–specifically from the pulsing feeling in my ears. It was so uncomfortable that I’d start crying and stop understanding what she was saying. That just made her angrier, though, so I had to figure out how to shut down instead.

    Q8: I can’t stand having anything that blocks my awareness when I’m out, however I find them very useful for pseudo-alone-time when a roommate is around.

  54. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I hate being too hot and too cold. Any temperature more than 22c is torture and it makes me feel sick.

    Q3: I am picky with clothes and shoes. I like my garmets to virtually cuddle me.

    Q4: I wear them sometimes, sometimes I don’t. They don’t bother me but I like going without.

    Q5: Ugh this is hell, I am extremely picky with the feeling of shoes. I want to wear pretty ladies shoes but always end up with blokey boots because they’re the onle ones that are comfortable enough.

    Q6: I enjoy them!

    Q7: I get angry when people sing to themselves. More often than not their voices are godawful.

    Q8: Noisy places don’t bother me.

  55. Textures as a kid thought clothes had been designed inside out (Seams!) Later, I came to appreciate the soft hand of good fabrics. Yet, old sheets are better than new multi-hundred threads-per-inch ones. Rough materials anywhere are dislked.

    Interviews: 1. Go in with the attitude “this is NO big deal.” 2. Try to make the interview a conversation. Yes, sometimes we mess those badly, ces le vivre.

  56. anonymous answers:

    Q2: I try to stim, if I’m around a lot of people, like at work, I stim so people can’t see it, because I don’t want attention or answering questions. I can sometimes push the overwhelming feelings aside for maybe an hour or two. Then when I get home, I have a implosion meltdown. I recognize my sensory overload point break when I get headaches and I feel like crying. Or when I “black out” the edges of my vision and the colors turn bright, or when I feel a strong urge to be on my own, or my ears take up too much noise and I can’t filter. I get a minor depression afterwards, like I’m drained of emotion and joy and feelings and I have to rebuild my entire defences again. It’s like a reboot, I’m weak and vulnerable and my “censory” filter is blown to bits – so for 5 hours to a day I’m completely and utterly aspie.

    Q3: Cotton, the small itching tags in clothes, clothes that are too tight/too loose/too much of something. Something itches, my body goes into overdrive and I start noticing everything that itches, I pull at my clothes to make it stop, it get’s worse, if I can I change clothes so I get a new set and with new textures. If I’m at work and can’t do that I go to a bathroom or someplace void of others and stim or bang my head against a wall or hurt myself in some way. Because if my body burns by all the stupid textures I need something that can override the feeling. If only for a moment.

    Q4: I can wear them for a few hours up to a few days if I don’t get any irritated reactions, when I do I can’t wear any bras for a while until I’m calm.

    Q5: Hiking boots or running shoes. They are practical and I like them.

    Q6: No, I like the water, however I don’t enjoy drying up afterwards, getting water in the eyes (which means when I’m in the shower I have the towel nearby and everything already in the right position so I can have my eyes shut the entire time), I hate the cold shivers I get after exiting the shower.

    Q7: Until I was 22 and got information about AS and overloads/meltdowns, I thought I had panic attacks. I also thought feeling that way was normal, that everybody had this problem.

    Q8: I always have my mp3 player if I’m taking the bus somewhere. If I don’t have it with me I get tired so easily.

  57. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes yes yes. high heat and humidity really bothers me, I don’t notice it as much because I always put up with it before I understood why but heat makes me super sensitive to touch, clothing, and extremely irritable. I enjoy walking but not if it’s sticky and running for a very short period of time. I cannot tolerate too much exercise, especially running out side. although I am decently healthy, I cannot even run a full mile before it gets to be too much.

    Q2: I shut down and clam up. I tend to scratch myself of rub at my shoulder/collarbone, sometimes fidgeting with my phone or using it to hit myself. I find it harder to concentrate on one thing or conversation and maintain eye contact and I get increasingly anxious until I am able to leave or the sights/sounds go away. the aftereffects usually leave me extra quiet, sometimes super self-conscious and anxious and later emotional and I didn’t used to understand why.

    Q3: I don’t have specific texture sensitivities, but in some situations certain textures annoys me/puts me on edge, usually when I’m already stressed.

    Q4: When I was a teen they never bothered me but now they are very uncomfortable. I look for more comfortable ones and go braless whenever possible.

    Q5: I don’t feel comfortable at all in sandals or flipflops. I prefer wearing boots year round but will settle for vans style shoes. tennis shoes are too padded and extremely uncomfortable but I wear them when I have to to avoid injury when exercising.

    Q6: no.

    Q7: I didn’t realize until I was diagnosed (recently) that what I was experiencing was sensory overload and always just thought I was grumpy or moody. I tend to shut down, try to remove myself from a situation or just get very irritable or sometimes sad/emotional.

    Q8: when I was in middle and high school an mp3 player was absolutely necessary.

  58. anonymous answers:

    Q9: a job with freedom to work from home or a quiet office, with deadlines but not a lot of noise/people buzzing around,some social interaction but not required on a daily basis, likely writing or research. maybe a college professor. or working in a back room, organizing/cleaning/preparing (such as a cook, maybe?)

    Q10: I work in a coffee shop and have a “Barista Persona” that people know and love from me but I can only handle it for a few hours, after that I try to retreat to the back room to do other cleaning and prepping tasks. I also have a low tolerance for people who are slow, not good with customers, ask too many questions/try to be too social with me, don’t know what they’re doing, get in my way, etc. I don’t always understand “office politics” so I simply follow my coworkers lead.

    Q11: interviews make me incredible anxious because I don’t know exactly what will be asked of how to respond. I also feel nervous/guilty exaggerating my belief in my self, my experience or skills set, or just making myself look good enough to get the job. when I have to talk about uncomfortable things I usually find and adopt a persona, sort of like play acting to get through the situation. in interviews, I emulate my mom. it’s exhausting though.

    Q12: I’ve never been bullied.

    Q13: I can use the telephone but I highly dislike it. I once worked as a receptionist (thankfully, we didn’t receive calls constantly) and I am still terrified when I hear a phone ringing.

    Q14: no.

  59. anonymous answers:

    Q9: I’m 25 and I have no idea. My ideal working place however would be if I could work on my own, with no coworkers, no customers, in a slightly shaded room (no bright white lights/ walls/ annoying noises like the radio). I worked with fiber optics a while back, welding fibers was alright, now I work as a locksmith and I enjoy putting together padlocks, cylinder locks and all other kinds of locks with all the pins and details. If I could do that without my coworkers around, without any customers…and all that I’d be set.

    Q10: I’m working on that. Sometimes I pretend I didn’t hear the first time or I use a generic response.

    Q11: I get all hyped up before the interview and practice what to say. Then afterwards I get all exhausted and will most likely get a meltdown.

    Q12: I don’t show it, I pretend it’s not happening and the I go home and my world explodes. And I manage until I can’t deal with it anymore, that’s when I quit.

    Q13: I can use it. It doesn’t mean I like it.

  60. anonymous answers:

    Q9: something in medical profession

    Q10: I don’t work – I am only 13

    Q11: I haven’t had any interviews yet

    Q12: I get angry and threaten to get physical, but people laugh at me.

    Q13: I am fine on the phone.

    Q14: My school is very understanding of my AS. I have a a cool off card which allows me to leave the lesson for 5-10 minutes to calm down. I get very stressed by people distracting me in class.

  61. anonymous answers:

    Q9: Working alone in a dark, cool space station circling Saturn surrounded by computers.

    Q10: Keep to myself as much as possible.

    Q11: I don’t go to them!

    Q12: I’ve been lucky. I’ve never really been bullied much.

    Q13: I can use the phone but it’s a tool. Stick to business and that’s it. Hang up! Go away! leave me alone now! Click!!!
    Maybe not so abrupt, but they get the idea I’m going.
    I’m the master of ending phone calls. Not so good at ending conversations in real life. – in person.

    Q14: I’ve asked to be moved away from the window because the bright daylight can give me a headache.
    I’ve had heaps of times where people talking and keyboards clicking annoys and distracts me. I put my headphones in.

  62. anonymous answers:
    Q1: hate sweat making synthetic clothes cling to me. wear only smart wool to exercise, and cotton at work.

    Q2: I recognize it is getting bad when I stop hearing the person talking to me and start saying in my head “shut up! how can you keep talking?! how can you stand this?!” Can’t take it long, and limit places I go by sound level. Leaves me exhausted if loud and crowded, and I need a lot of time to myself in silence afterward.

    Q3: slimy noodles, synthetic clothes, gels – make me squirmy

    Q4: sports bras only

    Q5: clogs only – can regulate temp that way, and on and off is easy

    Q6: dislike getting in, and then getting out. Hate the temp changes.

    Q7: was always teased for being “too sensitive” but never knew why others didn’t feel things I did

    Q8: can’t have it on when being stuck in crowed or noisy places?
    earplugs are great. Avoid noisy places – especially restaurants with hard surfaces that make sound bounce all over

  63. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I turn into a lizard in summer: I want to just lie on the floor, breathing, and doing nothing else. Really dislike hot weather. Cold is unpleasant, and I start shivering long before others do, but it doesn’t sap my mental or physical energy.

    Q2: Earplugs. Best invention in the world, especially the “high-fidelity” variety that allow you to hear everything clearly, but at a lower volume. I almost always remember to bring them to loud events, though I sometimes forget when going to the movies, as movies didn’t used to be as loud as they are now. In that case I run to the bathroom and use dampened toilet paper to plug my ears. If all else fails: fingers covering ears.

    My only issues with light are sunlight (sunglasses) and fluorescent lights flickering (avoid).

    I tend to get tired and crabby when overstimulated in any way. Sleep and hot showers are best for this.

    Q3: Scratchy clothing, scratchy jewellery. Don’t have too many issues with textures. I simply avoid them.

    Q4: I do not wear bras. I got over the idea that I needed to long, long ago, and now I live in comfort. I make sure to wear only shirts that won’t chafe.

    Q5: Gave up on the idea of high-heeled anything long ago. My favourite shoes are Vibram FiveFingers, which are “toe shoes” and make you feel as if you are barefoot. I absolutely adore them.

    The sole is almost as flexible as a dancer’s shoe, but more durable, and I can walk confidently on ice while wearing them.

    Q6: Noooooo! I love love love showers. Hot water is my ultimate relaxation (as long as it starts out lukewarm, and I gradually raise the temperature).

    Q7: I had absolutely no idea what my reactions were caused by when I was a kid and teenager, and it’s taken a long time to tune into my body and let it guide me to what’s comfortable. When I was a child I had “tantrums”, and as a teen they turned into emotional meltdowns. I very rarely have full-blown meltdowns anymore, because I know how to take care of myself.

    Q8: Yep, yep yep. Besides my beloved high-fidelity earplugs, I have a “white noise” file on my phone that I can listen to on headphones to drown out irritating sounds.

  64. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I exercise only 10 minutes but one or more times per day–kind of the way I have to eat, little bits throughout the hours. Humidity really weighs on me, dry heat is better, but heat is only good now if I have a kiddie pool to sit in outside (cannot stand to be inside).

    Q2: I just go back inside myself–doesn’t everyone? Did some forget how to get back in? I must say that light especially car headlights or streetlights at night, just stays in my vision forever. I do not accommodate easily.

    Q3: Cushy stuff–it has to be hard, even my mattress is pretty hard against me. I tried a memory foam and it drove me crazy.

    Q4: If you are big, it is more stressful to go without, and the constant stim is way too much–aggravating.

    Q5: I just thought they were skimping on making the shoes–all bad. I wear slippers, even my boots are slippers.

    Q6: Not an rv shower, ther’s hardly any water pressure. I cannot stand massages, but do well with acupressure–it isn’t grating or rubbing–just deep nerve stimulation.

    Q7: Screaming and crying as a child to noises no one else could hear…later complete rages and meltdowns as a teen severe hormonal imbalances–and now in menopause again! estrogen must be taken every two days so three times per week, but rx written for two per week…always have some rage time.

    Q8: earplugs a must. I never go to concerts, rarely to plays and now I live 100 miles outside a city.

  65. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I either go to an air conditioned shopping centre or sit in front of the fan. I don’t exercise. In fact, I sit as still as possible.

    Q2: What can you do? Suffer!
    With too much light, I start to get a migraine. Certain sounds make me far more irritable. I hate 2 stroke motorbikes and petrol garden blowers. I want to stick the nozzle up the operator’s bum and blow ’em away 🙂

    Ticking clocks can also get to me. Once I’ve noticed them, it’s hard to ignore ’em.

    Q3: Some papers feel like gritty on my fingers and feel horrible. Tags on clothing hurt me. Need to be removed. Tight restrictive clothing is uncomfortable.
    Hate putting clothes on when still wet after the shower.

    Q4: I’m a male. I guess that doesn’t mean anything these days. I don’t wear a bra.

    Q5: Shoes are mostly fine – I only pick comfortable ones but on hot days, I can’t stand to get my shoes and socks off. I call them foot prisons!
    I prefer boots!

    Q6: Not really – but I hate them. It takes a lot to get me in there BUT once I’m in, I don’t want to get out.

    Q7: Some sounds hurt my ears (like sirens etc.). I block my ears, walk away when I can or just suffer.

    Q8: Listening to music while out is something I do all the time. It also serves as a good deterrent at stopping people from entering into a conversation with me.

  66. … y’all are SO interesting…
    1 .I live in the south – the humidity is excruciating. I try to be as still as possible under a fan and AC – but I have to work in the heat too – then I just muddle thru – but the older i get, i have to stop between hours of noon – 5 pm …. sometimes work all night and sleep all day. (see self employed)
    2. Light & sound can be overwhelming or fascinating – depends on circumstances. If overwhelming I concentrate to try & ignore until I can remove myself from the situation ASAP.
    3. Texture – I like to touch everything. Sometimes I go to the thrift store bc theres a lot of varied & affordable things to touch I might buy & make some art with. I am very particular about my clothes – if it doesnt feel soft I can not wear it – the thrift store clothes are not new & scratchy!
    4. I seldom find a bra that is perfectly comfortable.
    5. I wear a lot of work boots. I love cowboy boots.
    6. I like showers bc I feel like I am washing away everything that irritated me that day. I taked extremely long hot showers sometimes using the entire 40gal of hot water
    7. I recently went to NYC and my daughter treated me to a maicure. The oriental lady kept being annoyed bc I couldnt relax my hand. Long story short – I somehow got involved in getting a message. The lady kept saying I was very tense – I never had a massage before – I have always known somehow it could not be relaxing. The harser the lady ‘massaged’ the more tense I became. To shorten this horrific story, I left the place in tears – I had endured it for the sake of my daughter who was clearly incredulous & embarrassed by me. We walked several blicks before I was able to relax a little bit. I did not sleep well that night. Rhe next morning I was physically stiff like you get after u do extreme strainuoys activity all day long.
    8. I do not like to have my ears touched or anything in them at all.

  67. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I exercise only 10 minutes but one or more times per day–kind of the way I have to eat, little bits throughout the hours. Humidity really weighs on me, dry heat is better, but heat is only good now if I have a kiddie pool to sit in outside (cannot stand to be inside).

    Q2: I just go back inside myself–doesn’t everyone? Did some forget how to get back in? I must say that light especially car headlights or streetlights at night, just stays in my vision forever. I do not accommodate easily.

    Q3: Cushy stuff–it has to be hard, even my mattress is pretty hard against me. I tried a memory foam and it drove me crazy.

    Q4: If you are big, it is more stressful to go without, and the constant stim is way too much–aggravating.

    Q5: I just thought they were skimping on making the shoes–all bad. I wear slippers, even my boots are slippers.

    Q6: Not an rv shower, ther’s hardly any water pressure. I cannot stand massages, but do well with acupressure–it isn’t grating or rubbing–just deep nerve stimulation.

    Q7: Screaming and crying as a child to noises no one else could hear…later complete rages and meltdowns as a teen severe hormonal imbalances–and now in menopause again! estrogen must be taken every two days so three times per week, but rx written for two per week…always have some rage time.

    Q8: earplugs a must. I never go to concerts, rarely to plays and now I live 100 miles outside a city.

  68. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I turn into a lizard in summer: I want to just lie on the floor, breathing, and doing nothing else. Really dislike hot weather. Cold is unpleasant, and I start shivering long before others do, but it doesn’t sap my mental or physical energy.

    Q2: Earplugs. Best invention in the world, especially the “high-fidelity” variety that allow you to hear everything clearly, but at a lower volume. I almost always remember to bring them to loud events, though I sometimes forget when going to the movies, as movies didn’t used to be as loud as they are now. In that case I run to the bathroom and use dampened toilet paper to plug my ears. If all else fails: fingers covering ears.

    My only issues with light are sunlight (sunglasses) and fluorescent lights flickering (avoid).

    I tend to get tired and crabby when overstimulated in any way. Sleep and hot showers are best for this.

    Q3: Scratchy clothing, scratchy jewellery. Don’t have too many issues with textures. I simply avoid them.

    Q4: I do not wear bras. I got over the idea that I needed to long, long ago, and now I live in comfort. I make sure to wear only shirts that won’t chafe.

    Q5: Gave up on the idea of high-heeled anything long ago. My favourite shoes are Vibram FiveFingers, which are “toe shoes” and make you feel as if you are barefoot. I absolutely adore them.

    The sole is almost as flexible as a dancer’s shoe, but more durable, and I can walk confidently on ice while wearing them.

    Q6: Noooooo! I love love love showers. Hot water is my ultimate relaxation (as long as it starts out lukewarm, and I gradually raise the temperature).

    Q7: I had absolutely no idea what my reactions were caused by when I was a kid and teenager, and it’s taken a long time to tune into my body and let it guide me to what’s comfortable. When I was a child I had “tantrums”, and as a teen they turned into emotional meltdowns. I very rarely have full-blown meltdowns anymore, because I know how to take care of myself.

    Q8: Yep, yep yep. Besides my beloved high-fidelity earplugs, I have a “white noise” file on my phone that I can listen to on headphones to drown out irritating sounds.

  69. anonymous answers:

    Q1: hate sweat making synthetic clothes cling to me. wear only smart wool to exercise, and cotton at work.

    Q2: I recognize it is getting bad when I stop hearing the person talking to me and start saying in my head “shut up! how can you keep talking?! how can you stand this?!” Can’t take it long, and limit places I go by sound level. Leaves me exhausted if loud and crowded, and I need a lot of time to myself in silence afterward.

    Q3: slimy noodles, synthetic clothes, gels – make me squirmy

    Q4: sports bras only

    Q5: clogs only – can regulate temp that way, and on and off is easy

    Q6: dislike getting in, and then getting out. Hate the temp changes.

    Q7: was always teased for being “too sensitive” but never knew why others didn’t feel things I did

    Q8: earplugs are great. Avoid noisy places – especially restaurants with hard surfaces that make sound bounce all over

  70. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I don’t have that with heat, more with cold. And in regards to that– I bundle up (wear gloves, multiple socks, hats & cover my face with scarves in the house) and grumble a lot.

    Q2: Deal with aftereffects like tiredness, irritability etc. by being on my own, blocking out stuff with light music and reading or something. This can last anything from twenty or so minutes to a day. I’ve never had the situation where I can’t leave, that I can recall. Usually I get irritated or a little bit panicky which is how I can tell.

    Q3: Mushy with food, scratchy clothes, light/soft brushes against people, unsure what else.

    Q4: Yup. Solution: I don’t wear them. (Fortunately I have small boobs and can get away with it)

    Q5: I like no shoes because I find most shoes uncomfortable, but my most worn shoes are tennis shoes (very comfortable) and some cheap brogues I bought that are ‘stylish’ but are also the most comfortable shoes I own– malleable and mostly flat.

    Q6: Sometimes. Mostly irritating though I’ve never been sure why I dislike them so much?

    Q7: Just thought I was overreacting (to things like sounds), and then panic attacks (to stressful situations) before I realised.

    Q8: SO important. If I don’t have them it 100% stresses me out.

  71. anonymous answers:

    Q1: (un/self-diagnosed adult male aspie, currently trying to get a referral for an evaluation)(sorry for the coming brain dump)

    As a child/young adult I had a long period where I wore shorts and t-shirt all year regardless of weather. Now I am more often too cold and spend winter in many layers with long johns (ooohhh… how hard it is to find ones that meet my other requirements) — And I live on southern Vancouver Island in the lee of a mountain (it’s milder than Seattle)

    Q2: Light/sound:
    I have dark polarized sunglasses which remove glare. When I must work in a noisy office/store jobsite I have a phone headset that fully covers my ears, sadly I do not use this often enough as it is for my personal phone (different jack) which I use only on weekends/afterhours. On the rare occasion where I must work in an active construction or industrial site (I am a computer tech) Full CSA over ear muffs fit in with the setting. While driving (I cover a large territory) I often have loud rock music on the stereo and am biting my left hand, running my fingers through my hair or running my hands up & down my thighs.

    When I am getting bad, my ears start to hurt from minor noise and I get increasingly photophobic. The worst I have had was working in a noisy bank branch with old fluorescent tubes of several different colour temperatures that seemed to be out of phase with eachother (3-phase power maybe). I had not had adequate sleep the night before. After a few hours of describing what computers are doing to the helpdesk people I lost the ability to comprehend written sentences but could only see disjointed words. Soon followed by only seeing individual letters. It became very laborious and slow to speak, with long pauses between words. After several fumbled attempts I managed to phone work (speed-dial – hold down the 5 button) and say something the the effect of “Need help. need hospital.”. At the time I had had a few people mention aspergers to me but I did not yet understand. A coworker came and drove me to the hospital. The ER doctor put me in a segregated dark room for a few hours and told me I probably had an electrolyte imbalance, to go home, drink a lot of gatorade and take 2 days off to rest and work on a hobby then to see my GP to see if it was “something neurological” … it’s possible he knows… I went to a different GP at the walk in at my clinic and she berated me for wasteing her and ER time…

    More commonly I just need to sit in a dim room with headphones on listening to (specific) rock music, science videos, or videos about small aircraft. Really bad instances I may sleep for 12 or more hours then do this the following day too.

    I can’t sleep if there is any source of light or a ticking watch in the bedroom.

    Q3: Don’t like exposed elastic, sheets which are pilly or stretchy or stiff or hard (not sure how to explain that one) and can’t sleep on them (and consequently neither can my wife). I don’t like loose weaves or coarse knits such as linnen or sweaters. If possible I like fitted clothes with a little stretch but the collar can’t touch my neck.

    Q4: I’m a dude; so I don’t wear bras. Instead I will tell you about underwear. Maybe it’s something others will find amusing and/or useful.

    At one point after I had moved out on my own I decided to finally put some effort into determining what kind of underwear was comfortable (It certainly wasn’t what I had been wearing before). It developed into a minor special interest for about a year. I tried several different styles of every (yes EVERY) type of mens underwear. After much trial and error I determined fabric and construction was the biggest determinant of comfort, and specific types are designed for different things.

    Fabric: Knit. knit is best for everything except boxer shorts. But the knit must be a flat knit, no waffle texture or ribs.
    Fibres: polyester/lycra microfiber is good for summer; cotton or cotton/lycra or modal/lycra (rayon from bamboo) are good year round. Bamboo is good for winter. But I have to feel the fabric before purchase because some not on this list are acceptable and some on the list are not. Course net is right out.

    Construction: No exposed elastic. Encased elastic which puckers when slack is horrible; it must be smooth when not worn or it will pinch when I move. Fly? Nope, this is just too many layers of fabric and it shifts around and bunches up; button-fly on boxers is allowed. Front should have a pouch. Seamless is usually no good because there’s no support and they slide around.

    Types:
    Boxers: Silk boxers are nice with old-style loose dress pants. They’re not good for anything else, and non-silk boxers bunch up and drive me crazy. I don’t wear old-style loose dress pants anymore, so no boxers for me.

    Jockstraps: They’re just dumb and horribly uncomfortable. Exposed elastic. The seam where the two elastics join the cup is bunchy and sits right on the perineum. If you’re wearing lightweight or fitted or stretchy pants, everyone can see the elastic line. They only make sense if you’re doing an activity where you need a groin protector, which I do not.

    Boxer briefs/trunk briefs: These are usually what I wear under my work clothes. They’re comfy under my work clothes, but the pants don’t drape as nicely with more fitted pants.

    Briefs/bikini briefs: Just not my thing. Some pairs fit all my rules but I just don’t bother. A few decades ago I had a few pairs of silk knit bikini briefs with a satiny finish which were a precursor to analysing my underwear preferences systematically, long before I knew why I was different from my peers. I bought one pair on sale as a joke and after wearing them for a day went back and bought 8 more – not on sale.

    Thongs: (yep) They make tighter, stretchy, and/or fitted pants drape very flatteringly. In summer they are the coolest type. Thongs which fit my requirements of fabric, fiber, and construction above and are the correct size are actually usually quite comfortable. The non-bunchy elastic casing requirement is critical since bunchy edges feel like a saw blade on the perenium. By my categorization there are 3 main categories of guys thongs: support, fashion, and novelty. Support thongs give good support for activities such as hiking etc and seem like what whoever invented jockstraps was aiming for but missed horribly. Fashion thongs have less support but also often less bulk; they are good under lightweight dresspants etc. Novelty thongs are really only intended as gag gifts or for strippers; I have not tried them based on the assumption that a C-ring, feathers, or an elephant mask etc would be uncomfortable.

    Sadly it is really hard to find underwear that meets all my requirements in department stores; everyone seems to be using exposed elastic now – probably cheaper to manufacture. This means I must either go to a mens underwear store across the Georgia Straight (an all day trip, I stop in whenever I am going for a different purpose), or shop online – which runs the risk of not being able to feel the fabric or check for bunchy elastic casing. One of my favourite manufacturers sells directly online, but always at MSRP, never a discount, which can mean $35 + shipping per pair.

    Q5: Yes, I have trouble finding shoes but I have not systematically analysed it yet. They must be light weight but supportive. There is a specific model of safety shoes I buy over and over for work but for non-work shoes it is hit and miss.

    Q6: I dislike the feeling of greasy or sweaty skin and a shower is part of my daily routine so I feel off all day if I skip showers. They are not troublesome for me, but are much nicer after we swapped out the bathroom fan for a quieter model. Also I dislike showers in hotels because the pressure is always wrong – but not as much as I dislike skipping showers. When I go out of town I take my own soap, shampoo, and conditioner, or go to a pharmacy when I get there, since I am sensitive to many scented products and additionally allergic to many cheap perfumes (seperate issues, both bad).

    Q7: Reacting, past tense:
    I think as a small child I did know what was causing my reaction, and responded accordingly – staying in the shade, avoiding hyper kids, even leaving my own birthday party to go sit alone in the dark. Many years of being told not to be weird had drilled my natural instincts out of me. Now that I know what’s going on I am trying to pay more attention to it.

    Also, I’d like to throw in here (because there’s no other place for it) That I also like to lie flat on my back on the floor to orient myself, and I have family members who do this as well. Sometimes it is the first thing I do when getting home.

    Q8: Mp3?
    I strongly dislike the feeling of earbuds.

  72. anonymous answers:

    Q9: something in medical profession

    Q10: I don’t work – I am only 13

    Q11: I haven’t had any interviews yet

    Q12: I get angry and threaten to get physical, but people laugh at me.

    Q13: I am fine on the phone.

    Q14: My school is very understanding of my AS. I have a a cool off card which allows me to leave the lesson for 5-10 minutes to calm down. I get very stressed by people distracting me in class.

  73. anonymous answers:

    Q9: A desk job, or working behind a till in a book shop/clothes shop–definitely not a supermarket. Maybe working with other people with disabilities? Definitely working with animals

    Q10: I haven’t had a job yet /because/ of these reasons.

    Q11: not very many, hence the ‘not getting a job’ thing. i guess forcing yourself to make eye-contact, planning answers before hand, trying to act as NT as possible :/ …not sure.

    Q12: Don’t let them antagonise you/don’t let them know your affected and sometimes that’ll make them back off. If its violent or particularly bad you should tell someone.

    Q13: Email??? I know I struggle a lot with phones and wouldn’t be able to do a professional phone call.

    Q14: At school I have– with exams, and it was fine as my disabilities were disclosed to them.

  74. anonymous answers:

    9: Luckily, what I’m doing now. Tax prep, bookkeeping, and freelance artwork. Taxes and bookkeeping to satisfy my organizational urges, art to follow my passion. The social aspects can be trying, but I’m managing. I thankfully have plenty of distracting things to look at so I look busy instead of rude for not making eye contact.

    I really wish I could have gotten into web development/design. But that field is advancing more quickly than I can keep up since we’re in a drastic state of change in the technological field. I have to keep my coding as a recreational hobby for now.

    10: My mother had a Bachelors in psychology. I am a portrait artist who also draws a comic, so I study expressions often. Add in the fact my mother and I are both good at math, and reading people is barely an issue. They follow a set of patterns and algorithms, and once you learn the cause and effect sequences, they’re very predictable and obvious. Although staring at them like a hungry predator while reading them can make things a wee bit awkward.

    Politics is another story. It’s irrational and distracting and counter productive. And get your butt to work on time!! Why do people apply for a job they never intend to show up for!?

    11: Roleplaying. I was an avid RPer online at one point. So for job interviews, I try to get into character, and hope to goodness I can keep my fidgeting and interrupting to a bare minimum.

    12: Bless my mother again, she taught me how to handle them because she was only legally allowed to protect me to a certain extent. Very few bullies have the cahoneys to badger something that fights back and most suffer from some kind of inferiority complex. As a kid, that simply meant returning punches a time or two before they’d leave me alone. Ignoring my bullies NEVER worked, they saw it as a weakness and excuse to harass me further. Telling an adult only resulted in the bully having a finger shook at them and then they bullied me worse for being a tattletale.

    The adults were trickier because they were more mental than physical, but dominance is still a driving goal. I can’t really explain how, but you assert that you are the master of yourself, their opinion does not matter to you, and basically assert their insignificance to your life. Even in the case of bad bosses, I call them out on their poor decisions and behaviour to give them grief equal to what they give me. I have a very tender and caring side, but I also have a very cruel side, and I’ve been known to torment bullies. The part I struggle with is the hive mind. I believe in one-on-one fights, but often bullies go sniveling to the nearest sympathetic ear to whine about how that mean little girl wouldn’t let them flick her bra strap so we’d have to have a discussion about “my bad attitude”. (True story.) That was a dangerous game to teach me, however underhanded and disgusting it is. I use it when I have a “sympathizer bully” to deal with.

    13: Ugh, phones… Roleplaying again, but keep a pad or computer handy to transcribe the relevant points of the conversation. Appointments are easy. Answering questions not always so much. If it’s a busy day, it distracts me from the stress of using the phone until I get home and can have a proper breakdown or alone time with my music and art.

    For my art business, all but one of my customers is through email since I don’t have local customers yet. But there is one guy in the next state who likes to call. It’s back to the note taking, and a few hours to stop the jitters afterward.

    14: Yes, all the work ones involving touching me. (Because my social anxiety and phone issues were up to me to “manage”/suppress.)
    The first was easy, I tried to hit the guy who kept shoving me into the register every day (it’s not flirting when you’re 16 and he’s 35, it’s disgusting) and he left me alone. My coworkers were no help, they were too busy making goo-goo eyes over how “cute” he was to care he was being so rude all the time.
    The other two involved a customer who couldn’t keep his hands away from my butt and a coworker at a different job who kept trying to pull my hair. I was fired from both for being “an over sensitive bitch”. Don’t work at non-ADA businesses. And take a few martial art classes.

    School… I needed online classes because physical classes were no longer an option. (Mostly because I had a newborn and no babysitter available.) I ended up having to drop out because they cannot properly label their hybrid classes (online and on campus) from their online classes, and I even had a few “teachers” quite rudely tell me to drop out of their online course if I couldn’t come to campus at the drop of a hat. Apparently all that boasting of long-distance learners was just boasting, I couldn’t drive 2-4 hours to campus in some instances.

    But also bear in mind I have some of the worst social luck of anybody I’ve met. The first social worker I talked to told me he didn’t care if I was stranded in an alley so long as his paperwork didn’t increase, and after one very rough night of being threatened a cop referred me to a hotline to talk to so I could calm down and they hung up on me after thirty seconds. I guess I should have rambled and been very emotional for them to deign to talk to me. Oh well, lesson learned. Handle all situations myself because nobody will do their job.

  75. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I have trouble with seasonal temperature changes. When summer starts, I generally have an adjustment period during which I misattribute my discomfort to mysterious bodily changes (rather than to changes in the weather). I despise humidity. Also, when I run or walk in certain weather (usually cold or windy) my skin will start itching terribly.

    Q2: If I *know* I’m headed towards sensory overload but can’t leave immediately, I’ve started trying to cut out problematic stimuli (e.g., I pull the hood up on my sweatshirt, put on sunglasses, put in earplugs or put on headphones, etc.). I also stim a lot. Sometimes I still miss the signs that overload is on its way, but that happens less and less. In terms of dealing with the immediate aftereffects, I recently took a friend’s advice and have started doing a kind of sensory cool-down (which works well after long and/or intense periods of socializing, too): I go to my bedroom, leave the lights off, lie down on the bed, close my eyes, put on my noise cancelling headphones, and try to breathe deeply. It really helps me slow everything down. I’ll often fall asleep like that, and the napping helps me recover as well. My regular recovery plan is basically just solitude and refusing to leave my apartment.

    As far as aftereffects, I’ll feel exhausted and out of it, and like my body has been physically thrown around if things got really bad. Sometimes my brain will keep returning to the overwhelmed feelings and the experience, like it’s on a loop. The length of time these effects last seems to be related to the intensity and duration of the stress that caused them.

    Q3: Wool, new denim, and some synthetic fabrics are all bad.

    Q4: I almost never wear a bra at home. I have a small arrangement for when I’m going out–all super minimal (no underwires), mostly yoga bras. I like to have some different kinds so that if one kind isn’t doable on a particular day, I still have other options.

    Q5: I don’t have difficulty finding shoes I like, but that’s probably because I stick primarily to sneakers and boots. I could imagine formal footwear being more difficult, but I don’t bother with it.

    Q6: I don’t.

    Q7: When I was younger, overload (didn’t know that’s what it was at the time) would sneak up on me, and my response was usually a sudden burst of intense rage, followed by shaking and disorientation. It used to feel really abrupt, I think because I wasn’t fully noticing my own discomfort until it peaked.

    Q8: Yes!! My Mp3 player is indispensable: I use it whenever I’m walking anywhere or riding the bus, and frequently at work as well. If I have to use public transportation without my music, I’ll often get really overwhelmed by all the different noises and people talking.

    Earplugs are great for louder events like concerts or when I’m experiencing overload.

  76. anonymous answers:

    Q1: YES. Cold. Natural cold isn’t so bad, but out of an air conditioner? Oh goodness… I get more head colds in the summer than winter! I sleep with a lot of blankets all year and dress very modestly to keep what little body heat I can. I often wear many layers in the winter.

    Q2: Noise. I can’t handle noise, especially chaotic noise. If I’m lucky, I can turn on my mp3 player or something and focus out the noise, or just leave the room. If not, and I’m trapped, well… one of my college teachers learned not to walk up behind me when I’m overloaded because he let the classroom blast music and movies from their computer while talking over each other about stupid stuff. My chest starts to tighten and my head starts to hurt. I break down and get very aggressive. (Pain makes me grumpy.) It can take me hours of quiet solitude to get the anger and shaking to stop.

    In the mornings, I’m very sensitive to light. Until I wake up (and that can take a few hours), I stay in the darker places while my eyes adjust. I can’t drive much at night because of those evil, evil blue headlights. Some gas stations blind me too. All I can see is the blackness and then those bright lights of wherever they’re from. Very dangerous. Intense headaches too.
    Also, if I’m just the little bit tired, bright lights put me almost straight to sleep. I once had to go to class and drive during sunset. I fell asleep at the wheel many times and by a miracle never had a wreck. I can offset that problem if somebody will talk to me and keep me engaged, but that’s a luxury I don’t often get.

    Q3: Headphones can be difficult because wires and cords sometimes irritate me. My skin kind of… tickles, itches, and crawls. I’ll hold the cord in my mouth at the computer so the wires don’t brush against my leg.

    I’m picky about water. I grew up with well water, so city water and it’s high levels of chlorine feel slimy to me. The smell makes my stomach turn and I don’t like drinking it either. I’m also nauseated by strong cleaning chemicals (bleach, clorox, pinesol, etc.) and I don’t do well with vinegar either.

    Q4: Bras are of the devil and should be burned. Or something like that. I also have an injury in my ribs that never healed, so often I have a sharp pain in my side. Tomboy that I am, I wear loose t-shirts and during the winter those extra layers come in handy for me to “go commando”. Sports bras are less painful than normal ones, but they still hurt. I can’t breathe well in them either unless they’re really loose. But then they slip up easy (I’m small chested), so why wear them at all?

    Women’s clothes is generally ridiculous anyway. It’s too tight! (And what’s with all those “cute” holes in the fabric that let every stray breeze in to chill you to the bone?) I go commando or wear my husband’s boxers. I once made the mistake of buying women’s long johns one winter. According to my hips, it was the size for me. It was so tight in the legs, I lost circulation and got tingly from knee down. The crotch, like all women’s bottoms, was outright painful. And then the dang things were falling off at the waist! I took them off after an hour, returned them, and bought some men’s long johns. (Which were the next size up because all the little skinny guys my size had already froze their kneecaps off.) Fit proper in the waist, loose in the legs. Haven’t bought women’s bottoms since. Jeans are horrible for the same reason, I haven’t bought jeans for women in over five years.

    Q5: I went barefoot for years. My toes never had enough room. I usually wear wide sneakers / tennis shoes / whatever they are. Even though my husband and I have the same size feet, his shoes are way too tight for me! Flip flops annoy me because it digs into some part of my toes and flaps around in the back.

    Q6: Only if they’re hot. According to my husband, I take “cool showers”. But the water feels wonderful.

    Q7: I understood very well during my first overload. It was loud, noisy, chaotic, people were trying to talk to me, I couldn’t concentrate from the intense loudness disrupting my thoughts, and I lost it and left. I like fun, I can get into loud music, but chaos? Good golly…

    Q8: MP3 players are wonderful. I do fine without it when I’m out and about, but if I’m working, I need the music to help me focus and not get distracted by how boring work is, and to drown out other noises so I can concentrate. I’m nowhere as productive without music.

  77. 1. Not really, but I have issues with air movement. Mainly stagnant air and air, particularly fans, blowing on me (past me is ok). The perfect solution for me has been cycling. I avoid stagnant hot air in summer cars without resorting to blowing air. Movement on a bike always provides a nice cooling breeze, but I have to stop frequently to keep my body temperature down. In winter I dress light so that my heat comes from inside.

    2. I start to get really nervous and will remain nervous and edgy until I’ve decompressed with special interests and stims…generally 4 or 5 hours. If I don’t…it get’s bad. If I can’t get away I often cover my ears (mine are generally more auditory than visual). If that’s impossible…well…we’re probably headed for meltdown.

    3. I don’t have real strong reactions, but corduroy and denim are big no-nos. I think its that bumpy texture. Honestly, the food texture is a much bigger deal with me. But any touch tends to stick with me, and that’s also a big issue.

    4. For the first year bras were hell. Since then I’ve been pretty ok with them.

    5. I have a horrible shoe size. I’ve always wondered how most people feel in their shoes. It’s hard to sort out what is a size issue and what isn’t, but I loved working in Asia where taking off your shoes and wearing slippers through most of the work day was the done thing.

    6. Showers are fine with me, but water on me at any other time is not ok.

    7. I never knew why I reacted the way I did. My mom figured out the warning signs and some triggers over time and started to remove me from many situations. I was fine with that. It felt like an excuse to me. My reactions are pretty specific for different types of triggers.

    8. I never use them with cycling (safety issue), and I often cover my ears at stoplights. But when out walking around lots of chatter and less predictable noises I often use my mp3 player or, in some cases, earplugs. But I can usually hear over the earplugs.

    9. I would do well with a job with variety, mostly from home with a few different tasks and maybe a morning or two a week working with others to keep me from getting completely cut off.

    10. Not well.

    11. I tend to ignore the importance of interviews and treat them like meeting a teacher. I’ve never done well at interviews outside of my expertise. Retail stores certainly won’t hire me.

    12. I ignore it at first. Over time I cry at home, and in the final stages I scream at work. By that time it’s obviously time to find a new job. I’ve never had a boss who would have been willing to do a thing about it.

    13. You send emails. You give them a phone number but tell them you rarely hear your phone but always check your email regularly. You just repeat email, email, email until they get it. …could also try mentioning difficulty hearing on the phone…they might understand that a little better even if you have to justify it morally by metaphor.

    14. Yes, I asked, and I was often ignored. But I’ve found that people often do react well to specific direct requests. (I’m sensitive to the smell of your lotion. / The location of this desk makes me feel ill.)

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