Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Sensory Overload and the Red Cheek Wonder

Everyone knows Joey gets red cheeks. One of the signs of him going into sensory overload is that his cheeks flame with color. It isn't just too much of everything everywhere; there can also be an intensity of sensory input that can send him into Red Cheek Wonder. Combined with his naturally pink cheeks, he would be an excellent poster child for Campbell's Soup.

He's just like his Mom.

I have to be careful about going to movie theaters. The overload can give me a high fever, and almost always gives me the cheek flush. The other thing that drives my blood pressure to flaming? Meetings. Trying to listen to not only what is being said, but what is being said between the lines, what is not being said, what is being meant but not actually said, the implications of the ideas being said, especially in a meeting where all those things can have consequences for my Joey or my Andy?


So I sat there this evening trying to pretend my cheeks weren't burning and my temperature was not going through the roof, listening intensely to the changes being proposed for the middle school here (where Joey will have to be in two more years). Then I got in my little tweets into ears about the miscommunications about Joey's therapist coming in for observation, and that I would like to come in for observation next week. I sometimes wonder if others can tell when I am in overload, or if they just assume I have very red cheeks like Joey all the time. I bet they don't know that the red cheeks are a sign of overload. They probably think it is something else, like being nervous or not being truthful.

I wonder how often Joey goes through his days as I went through this evening, trying to function through the overload, trying to follow everything and process it without being fully overwhelmed. Only he has processing issues I don't think I have, making it that much harder for him to get through.

1 comment:

Stimey said...

My guess is that when people see red cheeks they assume it is embarrassment. I have put thought into this because my face turns red a lot too, and the fact that I can tell my face is getting red embarrasses me, even when the original thing didn't embarrass me at all. I don't even rightly know what triggers it in me.

It's interesting what our bodies do to compensate or react to things like being overwhelmed.