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Autism And The Power of Our Senses

It’s Autism Awareness month here at The Band, and we need you! We  encourage everyone to share their stories about autism, what it means to them, and how they deal with it. Please, share your stories with Band Back Together. You can even do it anonymously

Thursday I went with my daughter to our local theme park. It’s been many years since I’ve been to one – after a couple of hours at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO I remembered why I don’t go to them.

Between the crowds milling around, moving to and fro in no discernible pattern, and the noise hitting my ears from all sides, I was in autistic hell.

It was because I didn’t properly prepare for the day.

My daughter works for a large, high-end resort and got a smoking deal on season passes, so we each got one. I figured I would mostly use mine to go, walk around a bit, people watch and find a table where I could sit with my laptop and write.

But not this time.

It was our first ever trip to the park and  we only were spending a few hours there because my daughter had to be at work. So we rushed from place to place.

That was my first mistake.

I should have gone to the park for the first time when there was no pressure to be anywhere anytime soon. That way, I could mosey along and find a quiet place to sit and take a break when things became overwhelming.

There was no time for that. I was trying to be a good dad so I followed my daughter from place to place, taking only small breaks while she went on rollercoasters.

Rollercoasters are a no-no for me since I had a stroke sixteen years ago, so I avoid them at all costs. I’ve been mocked by people for “being a grown man” and being afraid of roller coasters.

It’s not that I’m afraid, I just don’t need my equilibrium off center for at least the next few hours.

If you have never dealt with sensory overload, be thankful. It can be hell. This day wasn’t quite hell, but it wasn’t heaven either, so I’ll call it Catholic purgatory. That somewhere in between.

When we finally got home, I laid down for a couple hours and it helped a bit, but not as much as I hoped. I spent a couple of hours editing articles for Good Men Project, and then crashed for the night.

I woke up feeling much better and went about my Friday just fine. Until 6 pm. That’s when my Friday night ritual starts. It’s also the way you can tell that I’m single.

Friday night is what I call, Nerd Game Night at my local comic book shop. A bunch of my people gather to play Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder or whatever else they want to play.

Normally I handle Nerd Game Night just fine, but this night was different. This night it seemed louder than usual and I needed a few breaks outside where it was quiet.

I asked Gail, the store owner, if it was louder than normal and she didn’t think so, which leads me to believe that this was residual from my day at the theme park.

The good thing is that every time I have an episode that overwhelms my senses, I learn something. This time I learned what I need to do when I hit Silver Dollar City the next time.

I’ll definitely have headphones, even if there’s no music playing, just to drown out some of the noise attacking me from all sides. I also learned that I can’t go on days when I feel rushed.

I learned that as I plan my day at the theme park, I also need to plan some extended down time the next day – possibly a little longer.

Being on the spectrum doesn’t mean that we have to stop doing things that most people consider a lot of fun. It just means that we have to sit down and use our out-of-the box thinking brains to plan our adventures properly, so that the day is fun for us as well.

Thursday wasn’t a wasted day, I look at it as a day of scouting and strategic planning for the next time.

If you deal with sensory issues, don’t let it stop you from spending time with friends and doing enjoyable things. With a little planning, we can enjoy the same things everyone else does, just in a different way.

If you have sensory issues, what do you do to help overcome them? Share your ideas with us so that we can all be better prepared for our next big day out!

This post was previously published on Good Men Project and is reprinted with permission from the author.

Sound Check 4/3/19

What is UP The Band?

It’s Aunt Becky here rocking the suburbs like Ratt tried (and failed) to do. Even with two “t’s?”

March was a weird month for me – it felt that it both flew by and was extra long, although we all did survive the Ides of March, though, tragically Caesar did not. Presumably, if you’re reading this, you did, indeed survive. Congrats!

On Sunday, we had an excellent amount of posts come in for trans visibility day, so if you haven’t seen them, I suggest you do.

This month, we’re mixing things up like Grand Master Flash, so please take a gander:

You can post any post about anything – as always – but we’re looking for all kinds of stories and writers and non-writers. In fact, we’ll happily take any and all posts that have been published before. Don’t worry if you’re not a writer because we have an excellent editing team (shout out to Rosalie)!

I’m super excited for all of your posts, especially the “hear’s the deal” ones. See, for these posts, you get to be open, honest, and explicit about something in your life, such as here’s the deal for Autism. Or loving an addict. Or, as you will see tomorrow (TUNE IN), my own post about the state of mental healthcare. Really, vent away!

I know some of the stories you could tell aren’t “as bad” as the others, but that doesn’t change them from being important – we’re not running the pain olympics and as far as we’re concerned, if you have a story, tell it. I know, I know, it’s hard to do, but it’s a task I’m making myself do, because it matters. All of it. It all matters.

You can even do it anonymously, if you so desire.

And as always, we’re expanding. I’m hoping that we do, in fact, get moved to the next theme, which our site guy Matt is taking care of. We know this theme is a bit wonky so we’re mixing it up and making it a bit more user friendly with functioning things like links.

If you don’t already follow us, you can find us out and about on social media (shout out to our amazing team of social media gurus who make everything easier for us!)


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I’m really thrilled to read all of your stories this month, and remember this: you can write anything about any subject at any time. Don’t feel constrained by the calendar.

If you need me, you know where to find me:

Loves you!

Aunt Becky