Sensory Experiences - for my animated film :)

Hi, I’m working on an animated short film (3 minutes long-ish) for my final year at the University for the Creative arts in Farnham and I’m making it about the sensory experiences of Autism.

I got diagnosed as High Functioning this January so I’ve been finding out a lot that what I see isn’t what others do, like I see the really tiny details in skin, where you look and see triangle shapes that then are made up of tinier triangles in to infinity it seems. At that point it starts feeling like a fractal and I have to stop looking cos it starts freaking me out! But anyway, I’ve found it makes me feel both like I have this amazing and sometimes scary lens which I experience the world through, but that I can’t quite articulate to anyone else, like my family who are all neurotypical.

This is what I wanted to make my film about. So it’s a young child drawing and what they see is different. (it’s shown as like a torch beam from their eyes, with a little patch of strong colour. It’s hard to explain, it’s a representative sort of metaphor I guess...) A neurotypical girl asks them what they’re looking at. When they point the girl can’t see it, they see things different to one and other. This makes the child dispirited but in the end, they have the idea to show her their drawings instead. The idea/message point of the film being that it’s difficult for others to truly see from the autistic sensory viewpoint, but us as autistic people can do our best to communicate it, like through drawing, to open up our world. It may only be the tip of the iceberg that people see, but it’s still an insight. (Please point out to me if I’ve got any details you think from your experience, I’ve got wrong.)

ANYWAY! I’m hoping to have a little narration over the top, about the sensory experience and heightened sensitivity. Like for example, to me I see the tiny details and I love how light affects colours, so it’s like I’m living in HD. Sound is a big issue because sometimes I like it, but too much of it is distressing for me. (walking along roads with hands over my ears. I hate it when crockery clatters) it feels like I’m literally being pushed around or hit by the sounds.

SO! To get to the point, I was wondering if any of you felt like contributing your own experiences or descriptions of what the sensory side of autism can be like. I’d then use some to put together this narration for my film. I’m hoping to submit it to international festivals if it goes well (and I survive my third year!) so it would be a great way of highlighting this aspect of autism from an autistic person’s position and getting it out there in to the world. But I want to get it right, which is why I’m asking all ya’ll out there for your input,

Thank you!

Mim

  • Mimriam said:

    I got diagnosed as High Functioning this January so I’ve been finding out a lot that what I see isn’t what others do, like I see the really tiny details in skin, where you look and see triangle shapes that then are made up of tinier triangles in to infinity it seems. At that point it starts feeling like a fractal and I have to stop looking cos it starts freaking me out! But anyway, I’ve found it makes me feel both like I have this amazing and sometimes scary lens which I experience the world through, but that I can’t quite articulate to anyone else, like my family who are all neurotypical.

    I so so very much know what you mean here, in that I have fractal: point, line, circle, triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon and or heptagon 'lenses', as which occur singularly or collectively together in part or whole ~ for shorter or longer durations ~ along with black, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet and or white lensings; as depending upon which one or ones happen to be phasing in or out at the time.

    My basic vision is what in artistic terms is referred to as 'Pointillism', with the works of the French post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat (1859 to 1891) being quite literally 'spot-on' for 'pointed' examples.

    In terms of the geometric stuff, I found a book titled 'Migraine' by Oliver Sacks to be referential gold in both the descriptive and depictive senses. A couple of other rather elucidating books for me on this topic by the same author ~ were 'Hallucinations', and 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat'.

    Another point of reference from a fellow Aspergian community member here at the NAS is 'mr aspie' ~ with his art and music website 'mraspie.com', which if you have not seen it is particularly relevant to my visual sense of things and your current inquiry seemingly.

    Like yourself Mr aspie is a new member, and he recently posted the thread 'Adult aspie using art and music to communicate' ~ should you feel inclined to use the 'Search Community' function at the top of the page.

    Oops ~ forgot to write all big and welcome to you first, yet none the less and all the more ~ I really hope that you get to enjoy being able to articulate away your sometimes scary feelings about your Neurologically Divergent (or N.D.) sensibilities, and instead become confident about them as being quite normal for some others as well.

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    P.S. It seems as is unfortunately all too easy currently ~ that you have not read the community rules, being that rule number 2 states:

    "This Community forum is public, so do not post personal or identifying details on it. This includes, but is not limited to: full names, addresses and phone numbers."

    Some of us have attempted to get the NAS to make the rules compulsory reading before people become Community members, but to no effect seemingly. It makes no sense to me that the NAS has rule number 2 and does nothing whatsoever about it getting broken. So unless you have ignored this rule, if only on the 'selfie' front, you have not knowingly done wrong, nor need you then as such to apologise. Please though peruse the community rules as they are for everyone's personal safety, and should you decide to accept and exemplify rule number 2 accordingly ~ this Post Script will be duly deleted; unless you state otherwise.

  • Wow. I think your film sounds (reads) amazing. I hope you will share it when it is done. What I would say is that I think your story is quite unique and I think that it is important to reflect that everyone of us on (or off) the spectrum has a different perspective and a different experience of the world. I hope that others will share perspectives on their sensory experience because I think that it is great to share that and understand from others. However, maybe do not feel that you need to incorporate other experiences because creating a generalised character may not have that same impact as highlighting the unique experience of your character. I do not think you can get it wrong. I hope that made sense. I see myself and my differences in contrast to many of the "characters" in the TMI videos on the NAS site.

    I find it interesting what you shared regarding your experience of light and colour. That you feel like you are living in HD. Some years ago I now I started wearing shaded glasses. I often used to put them on in bright lights, but I wear them even at night because I find the world too 3 dimensional. That probably seems weird. I usually only take them off when looking at a screen (like now).

    I also experience difficulties with sound especially when there are multiple sound sources at once. I do the ear covering from time to time too. I have also noticed that one's tolerance declines as a day progresses so I might have handled the sound of traffic fine in the morning, lunchtime whatever, then by afternoon it suddenly sounds deafening, even though I "know" it is similar in volume. Unless tires on roads gets louder in afternoons. Maybe I should buy a decibel meter (!).

  • Good luck with your film :) I haven't got a diagnose yet but I will still share my problems with you, then you can use it if you want or not.

    Sounds: Any sudden loud sound makes me crumble, I get chocked so bad. Even a loud whistle can make my ears hurt. Certain sounds make me really angry, like the sound of people eating, sniffing up snot, crinkly bags, heavy breathing, kissing sounds.
    I can't filter out sounds so hearing a lot of sounds at the same time is really stressful. 
    Any little sound will wake me up in the night. 
    In a restaurant, I find it very hard to hear what people are saying to me because of all the other sounds.

    Touch: Any light touch, mostly on my arms or legs hurts me. I can't touch the little dolls called Sylvanian family  - it makes all my hairs stand up! 
    I can't have my hands in water for too long as I freeze if I get wrinkled skin. When I have a bath I sit with my hands above the water most of the time. When I wash up I have to swap with my husband before my hands get too prunified.
    Being touched intimately can freak me out if it's done on the wrong day (my poor husband)
    Kissing can freak me out if it's too wet. Even sex can freak me out because I feel too dirty.

    Hot and cold. I am always freezing cold OR boiling hot. I hate to be both.

    Air pressure: If anyone opens a window in the back of a car it really hurts my ears, it feels like my eardrum is going to explode.
    I feel extremely faint when taking off on a plane because of the pressure. I used to get stabbing pains in my sinuses when flying to the point where I would be sobbing with pain. That somehow disappeared after giving birth. 

    The vibrations of driving on a bus make my brain hurt.