Let’s talk about sensory processing differences and the ways they can impact how we create and maintain relationships.
Sensory processing differences include:
Being under- or over-sensitive to stimulus like sound, touch, taste, or visual input.
Having difficulties with movement and motor function
Having trouble discriminating between stimuli
The Challenges We Face
If you have sensory processing differences:
You may find it very tiring to engage in conversations in person
You may struggle to cope in busy social settings
You may respond differently to touch
If it's hard to speak to people for a long time, attend events or process things auditorily that can make it difficult to maintain relationships. That is why these differences may impact our ability to engage in friendships, professional relationships, and even romantic relationships.
Simply, because we process stimuli differently.
The Strengths it Gives Us
These differences also mean that neurodivergent people who experience sensory processing differences have become very creative in the way that we connect with others.
We have been pioneers in adopting new technologies like auto-captioning, smart headphones, and communication apps to help us communicate and participate virtually or in-person.
You'll often see online communities filled with neurodivergent people who are communicating via text or image or some other form of communication that is less challenging for them on a sensory level.
You'll also find people finding alternative ways to express intimacy and affection if touch can be an issue.
This creativity and flexibility around building social connections can be incredibly helpful for everybody, as we saw during the lockdown.
Many other people were joining in online and were taking advantage of the ways that people have pioneered alternative forms of social connection online and remotely.