This is the look of sensory overload. This is the look when a simple beep goes off when the front door opens up. This is the look when the ice dispenser is being used. This is the look when a lawn mower is being used outside even though you are inside. This is the look when the cousins are over and making a lot of noises. This is the look when it’s raining during horse therapy. Actually, this is the look we got when the rain was beating loudly on the car.
This is the look we’ve been seeing more this past week as it appears Courtney is going through a phase of being extra sensitive to noises. Courtney has always been sensitive to certain noises such as vacuum cleaners, blenders, hair dryers, her sister’s whining (she’s not a lone on that one). This week it’s exasperated. Little noises that never bother her are causing her to immediately cover her ears. Sometimes her covering her ears is all she does but sometimes the noise also causes her anxiety to go up. She starts sounding and looking distressed. Sometimes the moment is quick but sometimes it heightens her anxiety for several minutes or even longer.
The other day three of her cousins were over. I had not gotten home from work so I did not see it happened but apparently Courtney got overstimulated by the noise they were making. She usually can handle this. This time she couldn’t. She eventually hid down in the basement in a corner to escape the noise. Fortunately this calmed her down. When I got home a little later, although calm, I could see in her eyes that she was still trying to recover from all the stimulation.
Today was the worse meltdown do to noise that I’ve seen from Courtney. Storms rolled in while we were at horse therapy. This made it very loud in the barn. It was loud for me and I don’t have sensory issues. She started crying hard and covering her ears. She wanted me to cover ears but also didn’t want us to touch her. She was in full blown sensory over load. We finally ended therapy early. The hardest part to watch was how her sensory system was so heighten after this that it took the rest of the afternoon and evening for her to truly recover.
Today autism won. Today it paralyzed her. Today autism determined our day. Today autism was hard on all but we powered through because this is autism.