At WeBearish, our mission is to foster understanding and acceptance for autistic individuals on the autism spectrum. One facet of autism can involve sensory sensitivities, including light sensitivity. In this blog, we shed light on how light sensitivity can impact the daily lives of autistic individuals.
Autism Sensory Sensitivities
Autistic individuals often experience a unique interplay of sensory sensitivities, ranging from hypersensitivity to hyposensitivity. These sensitivities encompass the seven senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, balance (vestibular), and body awareness (proprioception). It's important to recognize that sensory processing in the autistic brain may differ from that of neurotypical individuals.
Light Sensitivity in Autism
Among the sensory sensitivities, hypersensitivity to certain types of light is a common experience for many autistic individuals. Bright lights, particularly those emanating from sources like LED or fluorescent bulbs, can pose a challenge. The harshness of such lighting can be discomforting, and in severe cases, even painful. Additionally, flickering or humming lights can be profoundly distracting.
Studies have unveiled insights into the neurological underpinnings of light sensitivity in autism. Researchers have identified structural variances in the central nervous systems of autistic individuals. Furthermore, evidence suggests that individuals on the spectrum possess a lower neurological threshold for environmental stimuli, including light.
When faced with overstimulation due to light sensitivity, creating a calming environment can be invaluable. Here are some practical steps to consider:
Establish a Calming Area
Provide a designated space equipped with sensory-friendly items such as fidget toys, pillows, a bean bag, and a soft blanket. This area can serve as a sanctuary where the individual can retreat to find solace.
Opt for lighting solutions that offer adjustability. This allows for tailoring the illumination to a level that is comfortable and soothing for the individual. Dimmer switches or lamps with variable settings can be particularly beneficial.
Raise Awareness and Accommodations
In educational or communal settings, it's crucial to raise awareness about light sensitivity in autism. Advocate for accommodations like using natural light when possible, employing glare-reducing filters, or utilizing alternative lighting sources.
Understanding Through Autism Acceptance
Understanding and acknowledging the correlation between autism and light sensitivity is a crucial step towards creating inclusive environments for autistic individuals. By implementing simple yet effective accommodations, we can help alleviate the challenges posed by light sensitivity, ultimately fostering a more accepting and comfortable world for autistic individuals, when called for.
At WeBearish, we stand firmly for autism acceptance, celebrating the unique strengths and experiences of every individual on the spectrum. Together, we can illuminate a path towards greater understanding and inclusion.