Understanding the world that autistic children and adults live in can be difficult for someone that lives a normal life. Even the parents or relatives of an autistic individual may become frustrated at times. In an effort to help those that do not suffer from autism understand the condition, the National Autistic Society has released a short video that puts the viewer, and listener, in an autistic individual’s shoes for a short period of time. The annoyance of the video may seem a minor inconvenience to the viewer, but to an autistic child or adult the video represents his or her reality.
The video, as shared by Metro, allows non-autistic individuals the opportunity to realize the hidden side of autism, the side that leads many sufferers to appear frustrated or even retreat into their own minds, in an attempt to block out the overwhelming noises that plague their senses, but are just a minor annoyance to those that do not suffer from autism.
The muddled array of sensory overload, of all senses infiltrating at once, is not fully captured by the video, but sound and vision are represented. Imagine adding smell, touch, and taste in the video, too.
The National Autistic Society (NAS) released the video to give a sense of how difficult it is for an autistic individual to perceive reality with so much going on around them. Sensory integration difficulties, or sensory sensitivity, is all too common among autistic children and adults, and present them with a barrier to processing the sensory information in the same manner that those without autism do.
“Many people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty processing everyday sensory information such as sounds, sights and smells.”
Autism Speaks has also released a series of videos that are aimed to help non autism sufferers to understand what an autistic individual experiences. Although, they warn viewers to use caution when watching their videos, especially if you are prone to seizures. Dr. Paul Wang shared that the sensory experience an autistic individual lives through on a daily basis can be noxious and unsettling.
“It is hard to appreciate what it is like to be in the shoes of someone with ASD. To the extent that these simulations can illustrate how noxious sensory stimulation can be for individuals with ASD, they may help the general population to better understand the difficulty of living with ASD.”
Pair the sensory overload with the often-present difficulty communicating, and the frustration and feelings of being alone are all too much to handle for those that do not live the life.
Individuals with autism may feel overly stressed, anxious, and can even experience physical pain with the influx of sensory stimulation. Autism.org shares quotes on their website from individuals that suffer from autism, explaining how sensory overload affects them. One such individual, who was not named, explained that he or she just shuts down.
“If I get sensory overload then I just shut down; you get what’s known as fragmentation… it’s weird, like being tuned into 40 TV channels.”
Autism.org does provide some hints to help alleviate the sensory influx that an autistic child or adult may experience. Their top three suggestions are to be aware of the environment, especially areas that can be controlled, such as home, encourage the individual to think of positive sensory experiences, and to warn the individuals of potential sensory issues they may experience in an unfamiliar environment.
[Image via Dubova/Shutterstock]