Every April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Why not celebrate April 2 by wearing blue to show your solidarity, and do something meaningful to support autism advocacy, research and therapy in your neighborhood? Autism is a spectrum, and symptoms vary from person to person. There is no ‘typical’ autistic person. However, one symptom that almost all autistic people share is sensory overload, which can result in anxiety, panic attacks, and for the severely autistic, disruptive behavior. The autistic brain has trouble filtering out ‘background’ noises, sights and thoughts, so is often distracted and overwhelmed.
Sensory overload is at the root of many other symptoms of autism, such as fragmented attention, and difficulty with social interaction or adapting to new environments. All these problems result from the autistic brain’s inability to efficiently separate relevant from irrelevant inputs: in problem-solving, understanding social cues, and managing change. Sometimes, this extra input can result in creative thinking and insights, but usually at the price of weaknesses in many areas of life that non-autistic people take for granted. Here’s a short video that illustrates what sensory overload feels like. Why not start Autism Awareness Month by sharing this post with your friends, so they’ll understand autism a little better?