Sensory processing issues and social events

With the weather turning cold, most people can’t resist the urge to start baking and/or eating comfort foods.  October and November always brings about a difficult situation – birthday parties and fall weddings. The noise, the crowds, and then the unhealthy party food, it’s almost too much to bear.  However, here are some sensory solutions to help keep your proprioception in check during these social situations.

Oral Sensitivity

First of all, if you are doing a gluten-free diet, offer to make or buy the cake or a dessert to the occasion.  This way you know that you can eat something at the function that won’t wreck havoc on your body. Betty Crocker has a huge selection of recipes online that are gluten-free but still delicious.  Check it out  If it is an event that you can’t bring food to because food is being provided such as a wedding or banquet of some kind, then eat before you go to the event.  This way you don’t have to eat when you get there.  If you are driving to the event, leave a few snacks in the car.  This way if you try the food and find it unacceptable you can go take a walk to your car and have a snack.  People forget stuff in their cars all the time.  Just quietly say excuse me and don’t explain that the food is not to your liking because you will most likely offend someone.  If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.



Do your research.  Find out where the party will be and the layout of the place.  Go online and see if there are pictures or a floor plan.  This can alleviate anxiety of the unknown and help you plan for an escape.  For instance, if the noise level gets too loud or if it is too crowded, have a quiet place to go.  Is there a porch or a balcony where you can go and calm down?  Excuse yourself and go to the restroom.  Go to your car and regroup. Another suggestion to help you self regulate in a stressful social situation is to bring a lap pad to lie on your lap (if you are sitting at a table for dinner).  The site has a wide range of them, but I recommend buying something that isn’t so noticeable such as the denim print.  Weighted belts or vests worn under your clothes are always an option.  You can always leave a weighted blanket in your car and excuse yourself and go take a ten minute break to help self regulate your proprioception, too.


If you are going somewhere that will be blaring music, and have a sound sensitivity then consider bringing some ear plugs to help reduce the intensity of the sound.  However, it is important to note that you should NEVER wear ear plugs every day.  Most ear plugs are made small to not be visible by others.  To find the right ear plug for your ears, I recommend buying a variety pack and trying them out.  This site sells a variety pack so you can try the different sizes before you go and buy a bulk pack of 100 or 200, (which is the way most ear plugs are sold.)


Mark Blakey

Mark Blakey is the founder of the Aspergers Test Site, after a successful career working in IT Mark wanted to share what he learned from his own diagnosis. He is the author of "Emotional Mastery for Adults with Aspergers" and "An Introduction to Aspergers Syndrome". Having received lots of questions from parents with autistic children, Mark went on to found Autism Parenting Magazine. The magazine has become an essential resource aimed at improving the quality of life for families effected by Autism. Its a monthly publication containing lots of helpful articles to help develop social skills, manage challenging behavior and improve communication.

  • john says:

    a very appropriate post for this time of year

  • antoinette says:

    Am I the only one who has to sneak off to the restroom for a few minutes of alone time to get through a work day or is this something others experience.

  • Nick says:

    Antoinette hi, I’ve just scored 29 on the test and am a newbie to all this. But I do find that before I can start work I need to chill out (normally with a cigarette) and at several points during the day when I have to think about the task I’m doing (I’m a technical author) I again need to empty my mind. I also find that after talking with colleagues, I need to get out and calm down.
    That said, it could simply be that I don’t like my work!

    • NanaPat says:

      Could be because that is a stressful type of job.. I used to be a technical writer & it is very stressful because so many people have to proof the work & critique it & that critique becomes hard to take after a while & creates more stress.. Not too mention the deadline stress.. I think & its JMO that stress exacerbates the condition as it does with OCD, the more the stress the more the OCD function(s)..

  • NanaPat says:

    I’m an oldie but a newbie to looking into Aspergers & perhaps its because of seeing it more in the papers etc lately.. I took the test & scored 31 & perhaps that’s why I have suffered since a child with so many of the symptoms.. In 2000 diagnosed with manic depression, bi-polar & OCD but the meds didn’t help me so I stopped taking them.. Guess at 73 its too late for me but would still like to be evaluated & given proper medication for this since its a living hell living this way..

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