Continuing my exploration of neurodiversity issues. I challenge you, reader, to see things in a different way than you’re used to seeing.

If you weren’t expecting it and someone started screaming in your ear, how would you react? Most likely, your first instinct would be to turn your head away. Screaming is intense, maybe even painful.

That’s the best way I can think of to describe sensory overload. Some people, including many on the spectrum, are extra-sensitive to sensory overload, and not just aural. For example, when I need to find a particular item in a colorful aisle of goods at the supermarket, it looks approximately like this to me:

Creative Commons NC Attrib by Dehydrating @

(Image by Dehydrating under CC license)

Many folks on the spectrum have problems with eye contact. I’ve mostly learned to deal with it, but then again so do new recruits in every single military movie learn to deal with screaming in their face when first confronted with the shouty drill sergeant. 🙂

I found this article to be a particularly good description of the phenomenon.

Do you have anyone in your life who doesn’t handle eye contact the way you expect? If so, the set of suggestions at the end of the article are particularly helpful.

  • Don’t force eye contact
  • Don’t assume that someone’s not paying attention
  • Explain, practice, and think.

In short, try to see things from a different point of view.

I welcome your thoughts and experiences.