Sensory Processing Disorder

Apr 12, 2022

For those with a sensory processing disorder – or ADHD, PTSD, and autism – sensory overload can be a difficult thing to live with. Here, writer Emma Johnson describes her experience, and shares tips for spotting signs in yourself and others

Over-stimulation may not be very obvious from an outsider perspective – and, having ADHD, sometimes even I have trouble spotting the signs from the inside, too. But many adults with ADHD, autism, or PTSD can experience discomfort or feel extremely overwhelmed when exposed to certain sensory triggers. These can include:

• Excessive noise
• Intense or flashing lights
• Crowds or close contact with groups of people
• Textures of food, or clothing irritating skin
• Overpowering scents such as perfumes

Here, I will describe five common signs of sensory processing disorder (SPD) that I experience, and share how I avoid and ease feelings of over-stimulation. Familiarising yourself with these examples may help you recognise them in yourself or others, and could help avoid symptoms escalating into an anxiety attack.

Irritability – disproportionate emotional reactions – behaviours – Loss of

Body – Focused repetitive, or shift in focus – Anxiety attacks