Written by SAPL on Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 in Uncategorized.
All humans, neurotypical or Aspie, have their ”I can’t do without,” accessories. Belts, bracelets, push up bras, you name it. Most of these accessories are for vanity purposes and the person could very well tolerate being separated from, although they might suffer extreme feelings of ugliness, nakedness, fattiness, skinniness, insert appropriate negative psychological feeling of materialistic, neurotic individual.
The Asperger has an accessory, but unlike a neurotypical accessory, it is, for some, an absolute necessity. That accessory is the pair of earplugs.
Many Aspies have various sensory sensitivities, meaning certain sensory stimuli-noises, smells, touches, etc. are more overwhelming for them than they would be for the neurotypical and can sometimes hinder performance or just be more annoying. One of the ways the clever Aspie has learned to circumvent this sensitivity is by following the Scout’s Motto and being prepared by keeping a set of earplugs with them at all times.
This preparation comes in handy to drown out a noisy subway or el train, when you are dragged to a loud concert by a spouse or at least someone you might want to con into being your spouse one day, a library that isn’t always as quiet as it should be, screaming ungrateful brats that share your DNA (that you’re 99.9% sure of according to that test), the wife that talks too much in the car, and the various sounds of papers turning, pens and pencils scribbling, and people moving up and down in squeaky chairs during important tests that might hamper the concentration. In some areas, such as some Graduate Record Exam (GRE) centers, the neurotypicals have evolved and learned that many people can benefit from such measures and provide free earplugs to testers to drown out such nuisances as keyboard typing or loud gas from the nervous dude next to you. Most times, however, the Aspie is on its own.
There are times when the Aspie may be extremely stressed and feel the need to wear the earplugs for longer periods of time and to more places, such as the few last days before a big project that requires constant thinking and concentration. Many people who know the Aspie have come to know that these times exist and may accomodate: Suzy is wearing her earplugs while she washes dishes. I won’t bother her for now. I’ll wait until she talks to me.
Sometimes, these periods of earplug wearing may go on and on and people around the Aspie, such as the neurotypical significant other, may start to wonder when this “period” will subside and they will be able to communicate with the Aspie again. Although there is no known exact formula to predict this, much data exist that shows one strong correlation: When the feud between the wife and her (sister/mother/boss/friend) has ended and she no longer has the need to tell you every detail night after night, the sensory sensitivity period magically (no abruptly, with magically being a bad scientific word) ceases, thus providing a supportive environment for the earplugs to come out.