Sensory Notes from Temple

I read Temple Grandin’s book in April of 2018. It feels like yesterday but it has really been so long now. I took many screenshots of parts of the books I wanted to remember. I discovered many things that G may be feeling. Here I am posting some of the parts I wanted to share the most:

Tom McKean wrote in his book Soon Will Come the Light that he feels a low-intensity pain throughout his body which is relieved by pressure. He finds that tight pressure works best.

Therese Joliffe, an autistic woman from England, preferred using touch to learn about her environment because it was easier to understand things through her fingers. Her vision and hearing were distorted and provided unreliable information,  but touching something gave her an accurate representation of the world. She learned to do things like set a table by feel. She did not learn to put her shoes on the correct feet until somebody held her hands and had her run her fingers down her legs and along the sids of her feet and along her shoes. Doing this enabled her to learn what the right and left shoe were. She had to feel them before she could see them. She also learned to read by feeling letters.

A parent, Eastham, describes in her book Silent Words, how she taught her nonverbal son to read by having him feel sandpaper letters. Many totally nonverbal children with autism touch and smell things. They may be doing this to figure out where the boundaries are in their environment, like a blind person tapping with a cane. Their eyes and ears function of course, but they are not able to process incoming visual and auditory information.

Overly sensitive skin can also be a big problem. Washing my hair and dressing to go to church were two things I hated as a child. Shampooing actually hurt my scalp. It was as if the fingers rubbing my head had sewing thimbles on them. Scratchy coats were like sandpaper scraping at raw nerve endings. In fact, I couldn’t tolerate changes in clothing altogether. When I got accustomed to pants, I could not bear the feeling of bare legs when I wore a skirt. After I became accustomed to wearing shorts in the summer, I couldn’t tolerate long pants. Most people adapt in several minutes, but it still takes me at least two weeks to adapt.