Care and Feeding of Your Aspie – part 2: Sensory issues

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Whether or not you know it… or even if your aspie knows it… there are sensory issues associated with Asperger’s Syndrome. In many cases, these are tied into other issues, so your aspie may never realizes that he has these issues. 

There are five senses and each can be effected in a different manner…
Visual issues:
Often you can spot an aspie with visual issues by tendencies towards taking pleasure in visual things… Colors, art, photographs, movies… these can all be indications, but not sure signs. Visual issues can consist of any number of conditions. Your aspie might have problems with bright lights, darkness, too many colors… it might be sudden changes in light levels. Sometimes it will be a quality of the light (like the overheads in certain department stores), a riot of colors, or other things that the average NT won’t be able to see or experience.
Scent Issues:
Your aspie might have a highly developed sense of smell, allowing him to cook effectively without ever tasting the meal, or be able to track a specific smell through the store. The problem with that is that he will smell EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING. Things you will not be able to smell he will smell extremely well… unpleasant smells can be a dominating assault. Scent issues can be confused with taste relatively easily, because 85% of taste is actually smell.
Auditory Issues:
As with all of the other senses, your aspie may have a finely tuned sense of hearing. Perfect pitch, relative pitch, a deep resonance with music or just sound in general are all symptoms. Auditory issues may manifest as problems with loud noises, issues with specific tones, issues with background noise, but sounds can be problematic for your aspie.
Taste Issues:
I don’t think I know of any aspie that does not really have sort of issues with taste. We all tend to be really picky with what we will eat. You will find that, at times, it is difficult to get your Aspie the right nutrition. They will often obsess on one food for a long time… one aspie I knew would only eat strawberry pie and cheese for almost a year… For myself, it’s often lasagna or pizza. Your aspie might not like certain flavors… and as you know, when and aspie dislikes something… he HATES it. 
Touch Issues:
The extremely high strung nature of aspie senses can manifest in touch issues. It’s hard to describe how these issues will manifest… but often, your aspie may not like being touched, find hugs and handshakes to be distasteful (at best) and may not want cuddling or sex at all. (Some aspies even find sex to be… “Icky”).
Often, your aspie will find themselves overwhelmed by sensory input… This can result in some severe occurrences. 
If you are out with your aspie and find him getting agitated, quiet or overly animated, your aspie may be suffering from over-stimulation. There are two main problems with this… 1) Your aspie is overhwelmed… and this can lead to severe irritation, aggressiveness and worse. 2) Your aspie might not even know that this is happening. 
Failure to remove your aspie from the situation may result in a temper tantrum or even a melt down.
I won’t go into the anatomy of a temper tantrum and meltdown in this issue… but if you see your aspie in distress, you may want to remove them from the situation. Unfortunately, this needs to be done in a tactful and delicate manner… In a way that avoids pointing out that your Aspie is having issues – as this can exacerbate your problems. 
Just get him to a place he feels comfortable and wait for a while… the stimulation will fade and then everything will be fine…
Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources:

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