Sensory Overload in an Autistic Person

Sometimes, I seem to get sensory overload, which is common in autistic people.

My symptoms may include:

  • Things seems unreal
  • Hands feel like they’re about to disapper
  • Sounds can seem faint
  • Reduced peripheral vision awareness
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Being quiet

I think those are symptoms of sensory overload or shutdown. They don’t seem familiar to other people. From the outside, it may look similar to daydreaming, forgetfulness, zoning out, being withdrawn, or distracted.

With sensory overload, it can be much harder to function. More time is needed to concentrate, and memorizing things can be difficult.

The possible triggers include:

  • Traffic
  • Loud noise
  • Crowds
  • Stores
  • Sleeping too little
  • New commute route
  • New schedule
  • New routine
  • Visiting new places
  • Other surprises

To recover, you should remove the trigger if possible. Ear plugs and sunglasses may be helpful. Make sure that you have enough hearing and vision for safety.

Note that other people with sensory overload may have different triggers and symptoms.

What do you think? Please feel free to comment about your experience with sensory overload.

Why We Shouldn’t Skip Dental Check-Ups (My Experience)

I missed dental visits for a few years and I’ll share how it affected my dental health, and about my dental hygiene.

Please note that not everyone is affected equally. There’s only a small possibility of being to gum disease and cavities without dental hygiene. Diet, hygiene, stress levels, health conditions, medications, and hormonal balance may affect the risk of gum disease.

If you suspect a dental problem, you should see a dentist. I recommend dentists who’s also knowledgeable about health.

For a few years before 2010, I didn’t see a dentist and had days when I brushed only once a day or less.

In mid-2010, I noticed sensitive teeth and felt some pain possibly from a small cavity, I was concerned which was why I went to a dentist. My teeth were x-rayed. Surprisingly, the radiographs showed only decay at the margin of a filling, and between two teeth. I thought I would have a mouthful of cavities. From then on, I got dental cleanings and examinations regularly. A few small cavities were diagnosed years later.

In 2011, I got dental cleanings. Late 2011, when I flossed after a dental cleaning, most or all of my gum line was bleeding. Even after a few weeks of flossing, my gums were still tender. Months later, my gums felt sore when biting and my teeth felt a little loose after flossing.

At that stage, I didn’t let my dentist know about it yet because I thought there wasn’t a problem, and I must be too young. Healthy gums aren’t supposed to bleed.

In 2014, I noticed bleeding when brushing my upper molars. My gums also receded far enough that the space between two of the roots of my molars were visible, making cleaning more difficult. I had my gums examined. My teeth were also x-rayed which even revealed bone loss around my tooth sockets!

Here are my pocket depth readings in 2015:

  • 37 – 4mm
  • 9 – 5mm
  • 3 – 6mm

Since there were pockets, dental cleanings were recommended at least every four months instead of six months for those with healthy gums. With gum disease, it’s important to have more frequent cleanings to prevent our gum pockets from getting worse. Flossing only reaches 3mm, and 3mm or smaller pockets are healthy.

Interdental brushes and gum stimulator were also recommended. Adding more tools meant longer cleaning times which is one of the the good reasons for prevention.

I also had laser treatments which cleans our gums and helps them to reattach to the roots of our teeth. After the treatment, you’re instructed to wait for healing before flossing the treated areas. I had one quadrant treated per appointment.

Unfortunately, my gums didn’t improve in the long run so only two quadrants were treated. Maybe it was because I stopped using interdental brushes before the second treatment. I thought it wasn’t necessary.

Interdental brushes seemed to help but my gums were still inflamed. Even ozone wasn’t enough.

In late 2016, I started using the Water Pik after reading encouraging studies and reviews about it. It can actually penetrate 6mm! My gums became lighter and the pocket depths decreased.

waterpik penetrate.png

Tom Haws has articles about his experience with the Water Pik too. He claimed that his gum health improved as well.

I think once you have pockets and other difficult to reach areas, you need more than brushing and flossing. Now I rinse my mouth after eating, brush twice a day, and use an interdental brush, floss, and the Water Pik before going to bed.

I don’t recommend repeating my mistake. It’s better to prevent dental problems in the first place. Even if you already have gum disease, you may be able to prevent its progression and even reverse it.

Bike Light That may Improve Cycling (Features List)

I’m working on a bike light for improving cycling. Its features include:

  • Low beam brightness controlled by speed for longer battery life
  • Inactivity timer for improving battery life
  • Daytime running lights
  • Side visibility LEDs
  • Turn signal lights
  • Brake light with brake status LED
  • LED strips
  • Tip over alarm for alerting road users of a crash
  • Horn
  • Bell
  • Low power modes
  • Adjustable modes for different riding conditions and power levels
  • Easy to locate switches
  • Li-ion batteries

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions?

Social Cues List

As someone with autism, I understand that socializing can be difficult for those on the spectrum which is why I created a list of social cues.

most-communication
Only 7% of communication is spoken words.
  • Eye blinking
  • Eye contact
  • Movement of eyes
  • Pupil size
  • Tear production
  • Saliva production
  • Facial expression
  • Gesture
  • Fidgeting
  • Posture
  • Walking style
  • Travelling speed
  • Content of conversations
  • Framing in conversations
  • Volume of voice
  • Tone of voice
  • Rate of speech
  • Perspiration
  • Skin temperature
  • Changes in skin tone
  • Appetite
  • Thirst
  • Interests
  • Alertness
  • Respiratory rate
  • Respiratory depth
  • Swallowing
  • Distance
  • Personal space
  • Pace of work
  • Energy levels
  • Jewelries
  • Sunglasses
  • Headphones
  • Hair
  • Clothing

I tend to rely more on spoken words and overlook the social cues especially if they’re subtle.

It’s possible to learn the cues by studying them. Even then, socializing can still be challenging.

What do you think?

 

13 Interesting Facts about Autism

Here are 13 interesting facts about autism. Some of them may be contrary to what we thought.

APR18650M1A Batteries Internal Resistance Measurement

The APR18650M1A LiFePO4 batteries are high powered and low cost. They have a rated capacity of 1100 mAh, a rated voltage of 3.3V, and a rated current of 30A. 10 pieces cost $36 on eBay. I measured their internal resistance with the SKYRC B6AC V2 Charger.

 

 

IMG_20161205_204101.jpg
Enter a caption The battery pack was soldered to power and charge balance connectors. It’s very important to get their polarities correct or you’ll damage the charger.

I bought them because they’re lighter than the 1.3Ah 12V SLA battery used for the car horns on my bicycle, quite safe, and long life.

Possible applications of the batteries include battery pack rebuilding, power tools, flashlights, battery backups, and e-bikes. Note that they’re 3.3V which is lower than the 3.7V cells commonly used in electronics. They also need a charge voltage of 3.6V instead of 4.2V.

To test them, I installed them into a custom built 4 cell 18650 battery pack and connected it to the charger.

total-resistance
The battery pack’s total internal resistance was 268mR. If you draw 30 amps, the pack voltage should drop to 5.16V.
resistance-individual
Individual cell internal resistances being displayed.
voltage-individual
Individual cell voltages being displayed.
voltage-whole
Battery total voltage being displayed.

Compared to other LiFePO4 batteries bought from DealeXtreme, the APR18650M1A batteries have a low internal resistance. Those from DX have an internal resistance of about 0.18 ohm, or up to three times higher. If your applications are high current such as electric vehicles and power tools, you’ll need a lower internal resistance.

I have tested the batteries with a pair of car horns. With two horns, they should draw 10 amps which means the battery pack voltage drops to 10 to 11V. Unlike other 18650 batteries I used before, the horns didn’t click.

If you’re interested in a battery that’s lightweight, high powered, safe, and long lasting, I would recommend the APR18650M1A batteries or something similar.