Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sensory Preception and Autism

I found a site which actually contains some very accurate,hit-the-nail-on-the-head information about autism. Scroll down and take a look at the spider-type diagrams, especially the second one. I have experienced most of those things. This is a fascinating article...

Sensory Overload at the Workplace....

The last three days have been just *insane* at my job. It's rodeo weekend, with a large rodeo and carnival just 5-6 miles away in our neigboring town. If you haven't encountered my blog before, I work in the deli/bakery of a gorcery store. At first, I ran from the customers and could hardly function, but I adjusted. Now I'm a very competent worker. Anyway, I've had to work all three days!! We have been deluged with insistent people (many from out of town, therefore they have no reason to be especially nice to us)for hours at a time. We've also been shorthanded with our workers. This is a bad, bad combination for me....

I've been rushing around trying to help all the customers (frequently there is a crowd of them), trying to cook or prepare enough food for them (but they buy it just as fast as we make it!!) and it is a multi-tasking nightmare.

The effect has been:

-->Sometimes I can't seem to hear them. There is so much noise overall, I can't sort their voices out.
-->When they smell bad (perfumy, usually) it is affecting me worse and I am more likely to say something out loud to my coworkers. Today, I waited on a woman, and as she left, I turned to my manager and said: "sugary flowers!" and made a face. It was what the lady smelled (stunk!) like. Smells really, really bug me.
-->People say things to me and I hear words, but they don't translate into meaning. I hear only the words, and I know the person is trying to communicate with me, so I look at them expectantly, but probably quizzically. Sometimes I have to ask another time or two or say the words back before it decodes into something useful to act on.
-->Anxiety attacks, oh lovely.....
-->and my co-worker (one in particular) gets very, very impatient and somewhat bitchy with me, espcially if I give her the blank lok because I didn't understand. I am working just as hard, at least as hard, as she is, and I invariably end up stuck with most of the customers as well, so I don't understand the bad attitude.
-->It can be hard for me to prioritize what needs to be done first when there are a lot of things that all seem to need immediate attention. Three customers, the phone is ringing, the intercom is calling us, the buzzers and timers are going off, there is a chicken order to fill, the hot case is empty and needs food in it.... Usually I wait on the customers so they'll go away. Sometimes (groan) they keep coming! After that, the most annying stimulus gets attended to first (timer shrieking insistently).
-->Oh, yeah. Concentration. It becomes very hard for me to focus when there is so much going on. I begin to feel like I'm drowning in noise and demands and can't cope. I feel all scattered inside....
I'm really glad this was the last day of rodeo weekend (more on this morbid subject tommorow).

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