Monday, September 3, 2012

Sensory Issues: A Grown Up Perspective

I just got a chance to take a little time by myself this last month and noticed some things. I started to think about my own sensory issues.
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We stopped to visit a second hand shop. You know the kind you find in the country on the side of the highway...antiques... a building crammed with dusty stuff. I was starting to get that fluttery feeling being in there, and it wasn't just the dust, it was ALL THAT STUFF. It was serious sensory overload.  Everywhere I looked there was a vista crammed with stuff. It was like a hidden object game, but even busier. I couldn't handle it. It might have helped if I had something I was looking for to distract me from my distress; my sister finds some really cool stuff. In my house with its limited amount of extra space, collecting knick-knacks or salt and pepper shakers is not for me.
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After shopping at several different venues I also realized why my SensiGirl really, really hates going to the Big Box store. The carpeted part of the store is okay, but the rest of the interior with its hard echoing floor and open high ceiling is a problem, especially with all the carts going by.
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There is too much stuff in most stores. It is hard to sort out what you are looking for from what else is there.
Fleet Farm is probably the worst, since you could literally live your whole life from everything they have in that store. It's not just clothes, houses wares and hunting gear. They have food, veterinary supplies, automotive items, landscaping and gardening supplies as well as toys, crafting supplies and hardware. I am sure I missed a category or two in there. Again it did help that I had an item or two that I was specifically looking for.

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I think from now on I will involve my SensiGirl more in following our shopping lists and asking her to find things for me. It helps to know your progress of your shopping trip and it is reassuring to see the items ticked or crossed off the list to know there isn't much time left until you can check out and go.

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So I am sensory sleuthing again and trying to find ways for it to be easier for my SensiGirl to make her way in the world. I will say it again, if you are out and about and your child has some whacked-out behavior, it may be a sensory issue not a "behavioral" issue. Look around, listen, and use your sense of touch. How does the air feel on your skin, what does it smell like? Are the lights bright, do they hum? How about the refrigeration section of the store, is it loud? Is it too cold? Are there vibrations? It may be that their bodies have had enough sensory input and they are going into overload.  Keep sleuthing!

1 comment:

  1. Great insight, Lori! I don't think I've ever visited a shop that didn't cause some kind of sensory issue.

    You might want to look at the free ShopShop app for a really simple shopping list that you can cross off as you go... my husband told me about it and I was really skeptical at first (what's wrong with a piece of paper?) but after using it I'm hooked.