Real Life Sensory Simulation

I’ve wondered what it’s like having sensory issues. It’s such a vague term and it’s not really easy for me to identify with. I’ve found a few videos on youtube that are sensory simulations put together by people with Asperger’s or just sensory issues, and some of them are pretty intense, but tonight I felt like I got a small taste of what it’s really like.

My husbands wonderful, loving, amazing parents offered to keep the kiddo for the night, and he actually went for it! We took the opportunity to have a date! There was the slight issue of me having a stomach bug to consider, but there was no WAY I was sitting at home watching tv when I could be OUT doing ANYTHING ELSE. So, we went to Cheddar’s. It was super crowded and we were seated between a Little League baseball team and a family with like 15 kids. It was so loud I couldn’t hear my husband who was sitting right next to me! I tried to be okay with it, just roll with the punches, but before we even ordered drinks, we knew we had to move. Our nerves were on edge. We couldn’t relax. It was so LOUD.

We moved tables, and sat next to a window where the beautiful, setting sun was blazing right into my eyes. I closed the blinds. I ordered tortilla soup. I figured soup would be the safest bet, seeing as how I’d had nothing to eat all day except crackers and ice cream. When it came, it was so spicy I couldn’t eat more than a single bite!  And suddenly I noticed that the fluorescent light above our table was flickering slightly. I felt nauseated.

The waiter never came back! So I had no way to communicate that I was hungry, but I could not eat this soup! All I wanted was a little sour cream to mellow it out. I ended up eating some of the hub’s chicken fried steak. It actually went down pretty well, although my stomach gave me a lecture while we were at the movies afterward. (We saw X-Men. It was fantabulous.)

So…during the course of this ordinary meal, I experienced overwhelming noise, agitation, lights that were too bright and lights that flickered, nausea, food I couldn’t eat, and a lack of a way to communicate my needs. Now, don’t get me wrong, we kept things light and it was still a great and much-needed date. But I thought…this is probably why Javan likes to be under the table when we’re at restaurants. THIS is what he experiences EVERY time we go out to eat or to the movies or the mall, or, or, or. We will still take him to all those places because to keep him from them would be to keep him from adapting to the real world. But now I can relate!


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