Friday, June 1, 2007

Sensory Intergration Disorder

Sensory Integration Disorder is commonly co-morbid with autism. My son has issues with sound still, something I've gotten used to as I've gotten older, but sometimes a surprise sound or some tones can bother me. He often will place his hands over his ears and scream "Too loud" in hopes that I'll make it go away. This make going to the movies a challenge sometimes. He and I both like watching a movie on the big screen, but often the sound is turned up so loud in the theater that he has his hands over his ears most of the movie and I sometimes wince in pain at times during the movie.

In addition to troubles with sound comes troubles with light. It can be bright light, or unnatural light like florescent or both. We both have troubles with both. He seems to be mildly affected by bright light, and more seriously by large tube florescents (luckily for us the compact florescent lights that replace normal light bulbs don't bother us most of the time, poorly made ones can be a problem.) I'm the reverse, bright light bothers me greatly and florescents much less so.

For me, florescent lights that trouble me make me dizzy and I start to feel sick to my stomach. One place that does bother me is OfficeMax. If I walk in the door, I start to feel dizzy right away and over time it gets worse.

Bright light can be worse. First I can't see as well, everything gets fuzzy and often my eyes close automatically. If the exposure continues then I can get a headache that can be described as a migraine. The pain can get so bad that I can't function until I've gone and hidden in a quiet and dark room for awhile. This happened to me yesterday. Someone turned on a light near my desk. It was a bright florescent light and it shined right into my eyes. I have a reasonable accomodation in requiring a lowered lighting level. I had a telecon meeting to attend, and by the time it was finished (sitting under the light for close to two hours) I was in pain and feeling ill. I was pretty out of it and went searching for somewhere dark. I did find somewhere and got the overload handled. I also contacted management, the light were turned off, not long before I had to leave the office for the day.

This occurrence brings up another issue, how ethical is it to use someone's disability to try to get one's way? The co-worker who turned the lights on wants me to move. He wants the four desk area for himself, even though it was built for my job-role not his, and never mind that I'm one of two and he's all by himself no team mates or direct peers. He tried to suggest a place for me to move that would have put me in reflected sunlight much of the day (it had a direct line to a window. He's been pushing to have the area cleared so he can have it to himself for over a week.

1 comment:

neroden@gmail said...

For sound, I stopped going to standard theaters. Arthouses seemed to keep the sound at reasonable levels, and at drive-ins I could adjust the sound level myself.