My name is Suzanna. I have moved into the new role of The A List Socialite, which is an exciting hybrid role of blogging, consulting, and attending events for The A List. I attended the A List’s first birthday on Sunday. It was a big day, although I had a lot of fun!
Sometimes, at events, I struggle a little with sensory overwhelm. Sensory overwhelm is typically experienced by many autistic people. Normally, when I have sensory overwhelm I get a fuzzy headache and I cannot concentrate for a short while. Yet, what I love about being very self-aware is my ability to use strategies at the moment to help lessen the overwhelm that comes from auditory stimuli.
My top tips include
taking proper deep breaths
closing my eyes for a few seconds at a time
having frequent bathroom breaks and taking my time there
involving myself in painting – I painted a butterfly, bow, and unicorn
assisting and talking to the children and families at my art table
listening to music or sounds with noise-cancelling headphones
Additionally, I have happy triggers that in their own way are strategies to minimise sensory overwhelm. Happy triggers for myself are usually stimuli that bring me great joy, satisfaction, or happiness that help me be in the moment and stay in the moment. Being in the moment is important to me, because if I stay in the past then I will most likely get depressed, or if I stay in the future then I will most likely be anxious. But happy triggers give me the opportunity to stay in the moment. That is important because if I maintain a fairly happy mood then I will interact better with people around me, I can enjoy the moment more, and perhaps most importantly have nice memories of the day.
My top happy triggers include
favourite food – my favourite treat at the party was a Kinder chocolate bar
listening to music – my favourite silent disco song from the party was My Chance by The Rhinos
experiencing the colour rainbow – the party cake had rainbow icing, rainbow smarties, and rainbow cake layers, and did you know even my skirt was an iridescent rainbow?!
If there was one takeaway I wanted to end during my wonderful time in the One&All Hub is that I am stronger than I think. Truthfully, I had some sensory-affective moments, and they can be physically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally hard. But moments do not last forever, and I know all I need is to trust myself. I would not have some of the personal insight I have today if it were not for Reframing Autism’s Certificate of Autism Wellbeing for Autistics.