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!


  • 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. 

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