Stuff That Helps Me As An Autist

Adapting in an allistic world is tricky, but these sensory tools can help.

Meg Hartley
Invisible Illness
Published in
6 min readJun 11, 2024

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Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

In the early 2000’s, I bought a pair of pink-tinted glasses for a costume and was shocked at how it affected my wound-up mind, bringing some peace into that fluorescent-light Claires — I was still in a store, in a mall, so I was far more overwhelmed than I’d have admitted to anyone, but it was like my brain took a sigh of relief. I didn’t know I was autistic at the time, or even what sensory sensitivities are, but I knew I wanted to live with them on, always.

Of course, I was in high school, and feeling like I belonged in my friend-group was kinda core to my identity, so I ran this choice by them first, “Can I wear these all the time?,” and was met with a chorus of giggles. That meant no. But I busted ’em out in college again with new people and called them my “not-so-sober glasses,” they were acceptable at parties (but not every party). I tried sunglasses indoors as a still-undiagnosed still-insecure adult, and a friend asked me to take them off because I was embarrassing her. That last one was in 2007, and I wouldn’t know the joy of defending my eyes as needed until it was forced upon me with the increased sensitivities of autistic burnout and my resulting autism diagnosis in 2020.

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Meg Hartley
Invisible Illness

♾ AuDHD writer figuring out how to thrive. Growth junkie. Kindness advocate. ❤️ Say hey via ig/tw @thrivingautist 👋 https://linktr.ee/thrivingautist