Here Be Dragons

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Autism, Sensory, Taste | 4 comments

I want to start out by saying that I’m not trying to lay blame on anyone, especially my parents, with these posts. The purpose of this blog is twofold: 1. to explore my newly diagnosed autism, and 2. to help neurotypical parents of autistic children understand how some people experience autism. I say “some” because autism is a spectrum and, thus, differs from person to person. The only way I know how to do either of those things is to look back at my own experiences and how I interpret them now. I grew up in the 1970s and ’80s, when autism was not as well known as it is now. I’m not sure my parents had even heard the term autism, so forget about sensory processing disorder. Even if my parents had known I was autistic, they wouldn’t have known what to do about it or had access to therapies to help. And there was no internet to turn to. They were good parents who did their best. Love you, Mom.

That said, I want to continue the food discussion from the last post. Specifically, I want to address the fact that most of the effects of sensory issues are invisible to the person not experiencing them beyond the protestations of the person having the experiences. And fear. I think fear plays a big part in it, but I’ll get to that later. Even if the effect is visible, the cause and effect relationship isn’t always easy to make.

Read More


Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Autism, Sensory, Sight, Smell, Taste | 5 comments

We have eight senses. I know, everyone thinks it’s five, but it’s really eight. I was going to put an explanation of them and of sensory processing disorder (SPD), but I just found this elegant explanation on The European Mama. So I’m now free to skip doing my own post on that and just tell you that sensory issues are a big part of my autism. I’m going to write about how each affects me. I’m starting with taste.

Taste is a funky thing. It sounds like it’s just about the flavor of something, how it hits the notes of salty, sweet, sour, and bitter on your tongue, but it’s really about so much more than taste buds. It’s about how a food looks and the feel of it in your mouth. And the smell. Don’t forget the smell. The smell of garlic and onions makes my mouth water. I once walked through the University District looking for a specific restaurant without knowing the name or location. All I knew was the air around me smelled like my favorite kind of onion rings; thin sliced, beer battered, and extra-crispy. I swear, I could smell how crunchy they would be. And they were.

Read More