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Sensory processing disorder or part of Asperger's?

Hey everyone,

I am a 20 years old male who was diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger's last month. I read that people with Asperger's can have sensory problems too, but I am wondering if the following signs/symptoms that I have been experiencing (ever since I can remember) can still be classed as being part of Asperger's or if there is an actual sensory processing disorder involved too:  


-I am an extremely picky eater and drinker (no restaurants and alcoholic or warm drinks for me)

-Showering is a problem for me because the water trickling/rushing down on my body is either always too cold or too warm to feel comfortable

-I am extremely sensitive to cold/warm weather: my fingers usually start turning blue'ish purple at 50F/10C and I tend to get skin rash when it's very warm (95F+/35C+)

-I have problems with the brightness of sunlight and I usually can never walk facing the sun without wearing shades

-Loud music or television makes me very uncomfortable and unable to focus on work or studying

-I often get watery eyes outside: when it's cold and/or when there's wind

-The chlorine in swimming pools hurts my nose on the inside

-I cannot stand seeing blood or the sensation of having my blood drawn. In both cases, I always start feeling physically sick as if I am going to pass out.

-A very peculiar problem I used to have for years (but not anymore, although it might be important): I used to have a foot hygiene problem because rubbing the soles of my feet would give me an extremely painful and burning sensation in my testicles. To this day, this still puzzles me.

-Crowded places make me feel uncomfortable and anxious. I usually avoid public transport, even if it means having to walk through the cold and the rain.

-Chaotic, messy or unstructured work environments make it hard for me to focus on what I am doing. Furthermore, I am easily distracted and usually need to go to the library to study.

-When I am reading books, I often "forget as I read" and need to reread the sentences. I usually also cannot remember most of what I read (even if it's just half a page of text). This makes me have to slow down my reading pace and I actually need to do effort to focus on the text if I want to remember it. This also makes studying more difficult. When the topic interests me very much, I still have those problems, but to a lesser degree.

-I would say that pain seems to hurt me more than it does for other people.

-Rollercoasters or anything that goes upside down is not an option for me. I am also afraid of heights.

-I can't stand the smell of spices when someone's cooking. It usually makes me leave the room and it's the reason why I still haven't taught myself how to cook. This might be related to my first point.

-When I was between 13-18 years old, I used to have severe acne problems. It has improved a lot now, though.

-At age of 16, I was circumcised on request because retracting my foreskin (to wash the penis) had been hurting for a long time. I am mentioning this because the doctors claimed that a circumcision was actually not necessary, but they acknowledged that I was not supposed to feel that pain.


There is probably more that I forget to mention now, but I think this gives you a fairly good image. So what I essentially want to know is: is this still "acceptable" within the Asperger syndrome or is it too much and indicative of a more severe sensory disorder?

Feel free to ask questions if more information is needed and thanks in advance,


~




5 Responses
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973741 tn?1342342773
By the way ecologic, I'm wondering if you could be helped by an occupational therapist that specializes in sensory integration/processing disorder (without factoring your aspergers into it).  My son has overcome through occupational therapy many of the things you have issues with or at the very least has been given fantastic coping strategies that make them more bearable.  good luck
Helpful - 0
973741 tn?1342342773
I might add that EVERYONE  has sensory sensitivities . . .  

examples are that I hate turtle necks and condensation around a glass of something I'm drinking.  It BUGS me.  But I can deal with it.  It falls into sensory integration or processing disorder when one can't deal with it.  

But again, sensory integration/processing disorder is a medical diagnosis on its own, aspergers is a medical diagnosis on its own, and some people have both.  VERY important to understand that.  

good luck
Helpful - 0
973741 tn?1342342773
Here is some really helpful information for understanding that aspergers and sensory integration disorder are two SEPARATE  diagnosis:

http://www.aspergerstestsite.com/748/sensory-processing-disorder-adults-autism/#.Uwy8E6PTkic

Please read this to help understand this important difference so that those who post can work on root causes of different symptoms.  
Helpful - 0
803938 tn?1403748253
Most Aspies will have sensory overload or sensory hypersensitivities. I personally have hypersensitivities to noises and smells that are extreme and a hypersensitivity to lights and clothes as well (less). My hypersensitivities are the worst part of having the Asperger label, the rest pales in comparison to them.


To go over some of your points:
-I am an extremely picky eater and drinker (no restaurants and alcoholic or warm drinks for me): I am not a picky eater, nor is my son (Aspie as well)

-Showering is a problem for me because the water trickling/rushing down on my body is either always too cold or too warm to feel comfortable: I don't like showering, but I force myself to do it.


-I am extremely sensitive to cold/warm weather: my fingers usually start turning blue'ish purple at 50F/10C and I tend to get skin rash when it's very warm (95F+/35C+): no problems here

-I have problems with the brightness of sunlight and I usually can never walk facing the sun without wearing shades: I have problems with the sunlight as well

-Loud music or television makes me very uncomfortable and unable to focus on work or studying: you got it bro! One of my main problems.

-I often get watery eyes outside: when it's cold and/or when there's wind: not a problem here

-The chlorine in swimming pools hurts my nose on the inside: not sure about that one

-I cannot stand seeing blood or the sensation of having my blood drawn. In both cases, I always start feeling physically sick as if I am going to pass out: I was physically sick the first time I had my blood drawn, I had to sit on a bench - but it got much better, probably totally unrelated to being an Aspie

-Crowded places make me feel uncomfortable and anxious. I usually avoid public transport, even if it means having to walk through the cold and the rain. I do like crowded places actually, my son as well, we love going to the mall whereas my NT husband does not like crowds, ah ah!

-Chaotic, messy or unstructured work environments make it hard for me to focus on what I am doing. Furthermore, I am easily distracted and usually need to go to the library to study. Same here

-When I am reading books, I often "forget as I read" and need to reread the sentences. I usually also cannot remember most of what I read (even if it's just half a page of text). This makes me have to slow down my reading pace and I actually need to do effort to focus on the text if I want to remember it. This also makes studying more difficult. When the topic interests me very much, I still have those problems, but to a lesser degree.: Not a problem here, I am actually a super fast reader of stuff I like. I do get distracted easily when reading boring stuff.

-I would say that pain seems to hurt me more than it does for other people.
Not here.

-Rollercoasters or anything that goes upside down is not an option for me. I am also afraid of heights. I was not afraid of heights when I was your age but I am now.


Helpful - 0
973741 tn?1342342773
Sensory integration or processing disorder is absolutely a separate diagnosis from aspergers syndrome.  However, many with aspergers do have overlapping or comorbid sensory symptoms.  

Many things you describe are sensory related.  My son has some of these such as picky eating and they are do to his sensory processing/integration disorder.  

One of the interesting things about sensory is that kids can have days in which they are more regulated than others.  On a day that a sensory child is tired or not feeling well or over excited, their sensory symptoms can be worse.  This can make it challenging.  My own son would be chugging along just great and then a birthday party would hit and his motor skills would be less, his ability to calm down would be less, etc.  Then the day after the party, back to chugging along.  So, it is important with sensory to stay regulated as done through what they call heavy work.  This can something like weight lifting or swimming or running, etc.  Typically it is physical activity or deep pressure that regulates the nervous system.

Here is a great web site to learn about sensory:
http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/

You should find that helpful.  

Over sensitivity to pain, sensory related.
roller coasters, inner ear or vestibular/sensory related.  
brightness of sunlight causes a problem, sensory
loud noises cause distress, sensory related
picky eating, sensory
tactile discomfort in the shower, sensory
oversensitivity to smell, sensory
sensitive to cold/heat, sensory

Several other things are not things I'd associate with sensory based on the typical profile.  

good luck
Helpful - 0

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