“Music on the Spectrum”

One of the downsides of being on the autism spectrum is the risk of sensory overload, when one or more senses become over stimulated and the body reacts against this in various ways that can be painful for the person experiencing it. As a person with Aspergers I find sensory overload a major physical barrier to being social, mainly due to the fact that it prevents me from being able to go to nightclubs or certain gigs. Engrossing yourself in music is typically an excellent method of self care and it shouldn’t be closed off to people with autism and other sensory disorders. So in my contribution to this blog, I’ll share some of the ways that I can enjoy music without clubs affecting your senses, or your wallet. Thankfully, the internet has helped to make this a lot easier. Whether you just want to sit in by yourself or invite friends over, Spotify is an essential for your computer. The vast library and the option to create playlists means that some soothing music to calm yourself or a soundtrack to help you entertain is very easy to put together and once its created is only a couple of clicks away. If you cant get Spotify or don’t fancy putting up with the ads in between songs, there are websites like Grooveshark and Last.fm which also give you the ability to stream music. There are two main advantages of utilising these. The first of which is that you are able to keep control of the environment around you and reduce, or even eliminate the risk of sensory overload. Lights too low? Switch the big light on! Music too loud? Turn the volume down! Getting too warm in the room? Open the window a little! And as long as you’re reasonable with the volume and don’t upset the neighbours then you can keep going as long as you want. The other advantage is that you can keep control of the social surroundings. Meeting new people can be terrifying enough without the risk of a sensory overload, and this pretty much makes clubs a no go zone for people. Bringing the party home means that you decide who (if anyone) will be there and the relief on your anxiety levels that brings is a major help. They’ll be people you trust, people who understand why you do certain things and who know why you’ll occasionally need the volume down or the window open a little and will be cool with it. Oh, and did I mention that neither of those streaming services cost anything at the point of entry? So long as you don’t mind the odd advert here and there then you can have a vast music library at your disposal for free! Truly self-care on a budget!

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