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Using pressure to alleviate sensory overload

Discussion in 'Autism Science Discussions' started by Herschel Ruben, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. Herschel Ruben

    Herschel Ruben New Member

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    I think it's very interesting associating it with fight or flight.
     
  2. Herschel Ruben

    Herschel Ruben New Member

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    Just wondering if the heavy blankets are just when you happen to be in bed (at night), or do you seek out that kind of pressure at other points during the day?
     
  3. Herschel Ruben

    Herschel Ruben New Member

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    Interesting that you should say that, because my thesis is based on the idea that individuals on the autism spectrum are prone to heightened proprioceptive responses and are, thus, often and regularly overwhelmed by the external stimuli of touch. Although random and unexpected touch is alarming to the autistic brain, touch that consists of controlled pressure actually calms the nervous system.
     
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  4. Herschel Ruben

    Herschel Ruben New Member

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    It's been a long journey for me to know and understand myself and what's happening- like am I reacting to something because I autism or is it something else. It's often hard to parse it out.
     
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  5. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    I think that's just the kind we found. Or perhaps it was assumed (by whoever sold it to us?) that sleeves would be too hot. Not sure, it was 20+ years ago. Also it was a used wetsuit, so it might've just been what was available.

    As I said, usually I used it at home when my weighted blanket wasn't enough, or sometimes when I found my compression vest wasn't enough. Though I seem to recall also using it for dentist visits, to help with anxiety. (especially after that one dentist's egotism and etc. caused PTSD around dentist visits.) I believe I only needed my vest for optometrist visits. (that glaucoma testing air puff machine would otherwise send me through the roof! And take forever to recover from!) Really don't use either any more, so it's hard to remember a lot. (partly because my life is quiet, and partly because they don't fit any more, due to weight gain). I used to routinely carry my compression vest in my school backpack at University though, along with a conglomeration of stim toys for use in class. Also my FM set for help with auditory processing and understanding my profs. At least the ones whose brains wouldn't explode at the addition of more technology. ;))
     
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  6. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member

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    An end result? (fight or flight)

    If an individual doesn't know why unexpected touch is so uncomfortable and lives & works over many years in environments where this is expected, common practise and seen as a friendly, positive thing,
    Apprehension about the next handshake, hug, back slap, fist bump, arm or shoulder touch, accidental knock, shoulder to shoulder on public transport and so on, will be evident.
    Would it be fair to expect a fear response to develop?

    Not having the skills to cope because we don't know what it is we're dealing with.
    (I have those diagnosed later in life in mind when I write)
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  7. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    Well, I don't know about 'heightened' proprioceptive responses, since so many of us have poor proprioception, but as for your thesis, that is the general consensus on the issue, yes. (both professional and autistic) Many autistics report that there is a big difference between light touch, (alarming and painful) and firm touch (more tolerable, and often calming.) And of course, there's a big difference between 'random unexpected touch', and predictable, expected touch, of whatever kind. It's a whole, huge area of research. But I'm assuming you know that, having entered into a research project on the subject.

    Of course, overgeneralizing that 'all autistics are x' is going to lead you to trouble, because there's no such thing. Some autistics are under responsive to touch, and actively seek it (or movement, or...) out.
     
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  8. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    Yeah, it took me at least 10 years to really comprehend all the complexities of what it means to be autistic. and longer to figure out all the complexities of Sensory Integration Dysfunction. (which go far beyond just sensory processing!) And when there's trauma in the mix, and/or depression and /or anxiety... it adds an extra level of complexity. And then there's the part where it sometimes all interacts. Self discovery is a never ending process, I think. Well worth it, but never ending. :). I certainly wouldn't be where I'm at without spending most of the last 3 decades working on dealing with my ... stuff.
     
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  9. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    One of the things I remember most from my first interactions with other autistics in person is that everybody apologized for every single unexpected physical contact. Much of which I'd long since learned to tune out in self defense. It was enlightening to say the least. (never mind that pillow fight... :D Imagine a handful of tactile defensive autistic adults voluntarily engaging in a prolonged pillow fight! It was the most polite pillow fight I've ever been in! For some it was their first pillow fight ever.)
     
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  10. Herschel Ruben

    Herschel Ruben New Member

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    did any of you have to remove yourself from a situation or task because you needed compression but couldn't get it while in that place or doing that task?
     
  11. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    Regularly at university. Removing oneself from an overloading experience whenever possible is one of those self care tasks I learned early on in my self advocacy efforts. One of the benefits of having a diagnosis was being able to explain the need to, and have "permission" to. Growing up undiagnosed, I was often trapped in intolerable situations and not allowed to escape. My current autism specialist said awhile ago that developing a habit of scanning for exits to every room is a natural result, and a common autistic experience.
     
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  12. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    My compression vest became just one more tool in my sensory toolkit that was a go-to thing. Also more portable than a weighted blanket! :D of course, I've found I have different responses to a weighted blanket vs a compression vest/wetsuit. I've found the latter superior. I always thought compression vests should've received more championing, rather than just weighted ones, which didn't provide as even a pressure. But them that's just me. I've never actually tried a weighted vest, as my compression one worked so well, and I was offered it first. (no idea how that happened) I did see a friend's kid trying out a weighted vest though.
     
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  13. Herschel Ruben

    Herschel Ruben New Member

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    do you have favorite places to be compressed for example I personally loved to be pressured around upper arm
     
  14. Herschel Ruben

    Herschel Ruben New Member

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    have you used any compression furniture like a pod or hammock
     
  15. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    Not really, as I said, my experiences are with a vest or sleeveless wetsuit. I did find there was a certain level of patience needed when removing the wetsuit, as it needed to be done in stages so I could acclimate to the change.
     
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  16. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    Never heard of a pod, always wanted a "body sox" though. Too expensive. :(. Hammocks I like. Have a hammock chair. Love it, though I'm not allowed to store it at home anymore (my landlady probably qualifies as a hoarder), so don't get to use it much, and the old one rotted out, so the new one is shorter. Always found the old one messed royally with my propioception!! Kinda loved it while it lasted though, even though walking and typing became much more difficult until my brain reverted back to "normal" for me. The shorter chair doesn't have the same effect. Or maybe it is my brain that's changed due to a less stressful life?
     
  17. Herschel Ruben

    Herschel Ruben New Member

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    @WolfSpirit: When you were at work, or needed to type, and were feeling sensory overload, what did you do if you couldn't remove yourself from the situation and had to keep working anyway?