It can be very uncomfortable to be sensory defensive, to be overwhelmed by the sensations that the world throws at you.Sensations that most people dismiss as background sounds or sights may seem harsh and irritating, making it hard to focus on work, lessons or conversations. The easy answer is just to avoid whatever causes these bothersome sensations. In real life, avoiding them isn't very easy.Here, in this third of three blog posts on Autism and Fibromyalgia both sharing issues with sensory defensiveness, are some ideas for coping better.(Check out the 1st post, Sensory Defensiveness here, and the 2nd one, Sensory Processing and Pain here.)
For auditory issues: earplugs, listening to, or better yet, making music, white noise machines, nature sounds, water fountains. For visual: turn down lights, wear sunglasses, wear hat with a brim to shield from light source
I have had problems off and on with tactile defensiveness. I need to take the tags out of all my clothes, because they scratch and claw at me. I have sections of my skin on my arms and legs that are so hypersensitive that I am constantly aware of the sensation of my skin. Sometimes it is a slight burning feeling, other times it is a little more intense, not quite painful, but constantly in my awareness.Some ideas for tactile defensiveness, besides taking tags out of clothes- make sure fabrics of clothes are acceptable, buy used clothing that is already broken in, use fabric softener, wearing skin-hugging clothing like spandex, massage, rub skin with lotion, warm bath, bean bag chair, hammock. In addition, any kind of activity that requires muscle work- exercise, gardening, pushing, pulling, carrying, etc, seems to calm the signals down a bit.
As with anything, everyone is different. Experiment, try different things, try variations on what I suggest, find what works for you.