By Debra Muzikar
How does it feel when all of your senses are heightened? And how does it feel when your heightened senses collide? Imagine walking down the hallway of your school having to close your eyes because the flourescent lights are too bright, the school bell rings piercing your ears, you walk into the cafeteria and are bombarded with obnoxious smells, you have to go to the bathroom yet the bathrooms with their flushing echoing toilets and nasty smells are a place to be avoided.
Many autistic children in schools face these situations. Sometimes when students are overwhelmed with sensory overload they will shut down, other times they will scream and kick someone (like my son Kevin) when he was in second grade. Yet, many school employees have difficulty understanding what is prompting inappropriate behaviors.
Below are a few videos which simulate the experience of sensory overload.
The following film posted by the National Autistic Society comes with a warning: “this film contains flashing lights, bright colours and loud, sudden noises. Some people might experience motion sickness in this 360 degree virtual reality film.”
To see what it may be like from one who has trouble communicating with words watch Carly Fleishmann’s video about visiting a coffee house.
Alison Ludkin shares her experiences at a train station in this art video.
Miguel Jiron of The Interacting with Autism Project created this animated video about sensory overload.