Anne Blackwood

United States

16
Christian
Theatre kid
Singer (soprano)
Poet
Twin (fraternal)
Spoonie
Disfusive
Highly Sensitive Person
Living oxymoron
Kindness Krusader: Blueberry cotton candy
XXFJ, Melancholic-Sanguine, ambivert

Joined 1/16/20

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How to detect and diffuse someone's sensory meltdown

October 12, 2020

FREE WRITING

11

    Hi, all. I don't do many informative pieces, but I realized that I have the ability to help a lot of people with the information I have.
    First, a little background. Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. This is prevalent in people with autism, but fairly rarely seen alone. To make a long story short, people with SPD experience different senses in a way that isn't "normal". Some people may crave deep pressure (i.e. a weighted blanket), are bothered or even severely distressed by certain sounds, are very picky eaters, enjoy spinning and rocking, develop headaches when exposed to strong smells, or have an extreme sensitivity to loud noises.
    If these people are faced with one of their triggers, it can be very overwhelming, and sometimes painful. They experience what is called a sensory overload, which can lead to a sensory meltdown. Telltale signs that someone is about to enter this state are the person tensing up, their eyes getting very wide and dazed, and them looking as though they want to escape (hint: they do).
    When in one of these episodes, people with SPD often feel out of control. The best solution is to remove them from the situation, but that's not always possible. To help ground them, have them look at you. If they're not comfortable with eye contact, just make sure you have their attention. Then, speak to them in a quiet, calm voice and distract them from the situation. Try to get them to picture a calm place. If this makes them laugh, it's okay. At least they're no longer focused on whatever triggered them.
    This is a technique that I have carefully developed with much thought. It was never taught to me, but I have incorporated coping mechanisms for other conditions into this method. I have used it on a girl I know who has autism, and the entire situation was diffused in under a minute.
    The most important thing for people with disorders like SPD is for them to feel seen. I cannot tell you how many times my struggles have been brushed off or flat-out ignored. So, if you see someone experiencing a sensory overload, take a minute of your time to help them out. It's worth your time.
Wow, I didn't expect to write so much! I hope this helps. :)

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  • October 12, 2020 - 6:36pm (Now Viewing)

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9 Comments
  • Emi

    This actually reminds me of something my mother experiences—she is really sensitive to loud noises (or noise in general) and will leave the room if I put music on that's too loud. Thanks for educating everyone on this topic; it really helps me to feel empathy for people who might go through this.


    7 months ago
  • SunV

    This is really informative! Thank you for writing it!


    7 months ago
  • lochnessie

    thank you for this! i had no idea about this condition, good on you for sharing this <3


    7 months ago
  • CAT with a SOWRD

    I wish my dad could read this he just screams threatens me and insaults me


    7 months ago
  • rainydayz

    very informative! i had no idea this condition existed before. this is helpful but not only that it helps to raise awareness. keep up the brilliant work.


    7 months ago
  • Paisley Blue

    re: yup, she only wears leggings (yes she's younger than me--6th grade) and she loves her flip flops!! Thanks for the suggestions!!!


    7 months ago
  • Paisley Blue

    re: yeah i totally get that!! well, it's kinda nice to know it's an actual thing and she's not just freaking out... that's good. I'm glad yours has gotten better--it seems like that would be really hard to have :( she's getting braces sometime this year and i'm kinda nervous for her... anyways, this is a great piece <3


    7 months ago
  • Paisley Blue

    you know, i wonder if this is what my sister has!! She complains almost daily about her feet being itchy for no reason whatsoever, she absolutely hates wearing socks and shoes, and seams in clothing can set her off. She has meltdowns, if not daily, weekly. I'm definitely going to use this!! This is a great piece, thank you!! :)))


    7 months ago
  • doodleninja

    Super helpful and informative piece! Thanks for this! :)


    7 months ago