I recently sent out an e-mail to a bunch of people asking them to tell me about any sensory issues they seem to have. I wanted to know what people can't stand, because we all constantly hear about occupational therapists can help with sensory integration. It is my opinion that EVERYONE has some sensory issues, and that song lyric “Sounds like…you need some OT” is correct. 😉  If any of you guys have weird sensory issues, comment them for me!! I want to know!

I've read the book “The Out of Sync Child” by Carol Kranowitz(sp) and also have her activity book, and I've worked with a child who had sensory integration issues, so this has always been an interesting topic to me. One new thought I ended up having based on the e-mail responses I got, was wondering when you draw the line between actual sensory issues versus psychological issues. Many people shared things that disturb them, but are really not so much an insult to the senses as to the brain. The most common one seemed to be the stereotypical “fingernails on a chalkboard”. You have to wonder if kids today would never have that answer, since chalkboards basically don't exist anymore.

So first I'll share a few of my own sensory issues and then share some of the ones I got via e-mail.

My main sensory issue: I cannot STAND to have my neck grabbed. I will shriek and hiss and even fall to the floor, depending on how unexpected it is or how tense I am. Also, I am really freaked out by loud noises, and busy visual patterns make me feel sick. Probably the time I feel most sensory-pounded is when I am forced to shower really early in the morning when I am tired. The sound of the water hitting the tub floor, the bright lights, and the overly hot or cold temperature, is like torture to me. Also, again if I am really tired or stressed, I cannot STAND the sound of people chewing if I am not eating too. I truly want to hit people in the face because it sounds so hideous to me.
And now, voila, the sensory issues of others:

“I cannot stand heat and humidity.  I am taking tamoxifen for the next 5 years and it makes it even worse.  It is horrible horrible awful  no good terrible to get hot.  About once every hour I have about 2 seconds of dizzy/nausea and then the heat comes.  Sweat just pours off of me.  OMG!  It is horrible.  It is hot hot hot and comfortable I am not not not! – Christine

“I can't stand for my hands to be wet after I have washed them.  I hate it when the restroom is out of paper towels.  Also, I absolutely hate to have my nails filed.  Manicures and pedicures will never be relaxing for me.”-  Brooke

“You know how I am about the back of my neck, too. I guess one thing for me would be I can't stand the texture of cantaloupe or mushrooms — it just feels too weird in my mouth. plus, I get really agitated when there is more than one source of sound in a place, like a tv and radio on at the same time.- Suzanne

The only thing that comes to mind is fingernails on chalk boards. Sometimes I think my nose is broken—Ray-ray is always complaining about how Georgie smells, but don’t think he smells bad (unless he’s wet) – he just smells like a dog. – Dad (John)

“I can't stand to look at or to deal with liver .. gives me a gag reflex
fingernails scratching on a blackboard..makes me cringe.. moot point now
that they use dry erase boards.” – Carol

“Bright lights in the morning along with, overly
cheerful people…[edited]…
In general, I don't like eating any food(s) that still
has bones and/or skin still attached. …[edited]….
Listening to someone in the office over the cubicle
wall eating anything.  Making those yummy,
lip-smacking noises along with

-munching noises absolutely
drives me nuts! Makes me want to rip my ears out of my
head and chew them to bits! – Bill

“I don't know that I have any issues.
But I read an interesting article in the LA Times Health section indicating
the people born with anosmia often have sensory integration issues. The
woman described in detail how icky most food feels and what extreme lengths she has
to go to to accommodate her issues.”- Mom (Kathy) (Hey Mom, needing about fifty pounds of blankets on you at night is a sensory issue…;))

“Bodily scratching sounds make me want to barf…
Abnormally large fruit freak me out!” – OT friend
“I am extremely sensitive to TV or radio commercials.  Almost everyone I know can simply ignore them and carry on a conversation or think about something else, but not me..[edited]…It's a visceral experience for me.  On a cognitive level, I deeply resent and reject any attempts to manipulate me or force me into buying some product.  I think this is hard-wired in me.  I would change it if I could.”-Arnie

“I am extremely sensitive to music.  In the early years of my telephone company career, they used to play Muzak through speakers in the office ceilings, which absolutely drove me crazy, since it was crappy music – usually pop tunes played by Montevonti Strings or some crap like that.  I had to plug my ears with both hands when composing correspondence.  I would think of a line to write, then write it down before forgetting it, then cover my ears again to think of the next line.  I'm sure that is not what the “efficiency experts” who designed Muzak had in mind.” – Arnie

“If I am on a ladder and look up, I feel like I am falling backwards.  I have to hold on to something other than the ladder, like the gutter, when cleaning them.” -Burt

“When I was a kid, I could not eat cherry tomatoes because the thought of them exploding into my mouth was too much to bear.” – random friend I won't name 😉


Hope you enjoyed this episode of SENSORY ISSUES PART 1!!

This weekend has not been as productive as planned. I just finished my dessert of a 100cal pack of oreos, fresh strawberries, and fat-free CoolWhip mixed together…now I am going to go shower and then do a little bit more studying before bed.

Aug 27, 2007 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 2