Barometric Pressure Changes

Ask any animal professional or teacher. When the barometric pressure shifts, so do their “clients”! Having been an animal owner most of my life and a teacher for over 20 years in my former life, I can agree with both of these groups. As a mom of a teen with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and clinical therapist who works closely with families with children who are somewhere on the ASD spectrum, there is little doubt in our minds.

As we have woven our paths through the last few weeks in the bands of showers (at least those of you here in the Austin, Texas area), I wanted to share that you are not alone with the ebbs and flows of irritability and anxiety that has likely bubbled up at home and at school during this time.

There are many studies out there currently about this issue. Many reports are anecdotal but let me emphasize MANY. We are electrical, are we not? Of course, not in the robotic sense, but our brains essentially run on electricity. Many people who have been perceived or diagnosed as ASD have reported being connected to the ocean or the stars and, yes, to barometric shifts.

Most of us who have some experience, direct or not, with ASD, realize there is a strong overlap with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). I could go on forever on that topic (and maybe I will in another blog). We know this is all tied together somehow. The level of hyper and hypo sensitivity is mind-boggling when we have a child who has difficulty processing socially as well. How difficult it must be for him or her!

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What does this all mean? We have to sit back and remind ourselves that, as difficult as it is to navigate these trying moments, days or weeks (as it has been recently) due to our child or loved one at the helm of shifts in our atmosphere, that person is 100 times more frustrated than we are. Can you imagine? Having to sort through intense sensory shifts, especially when they don’t make sense and then connect the dots in the brain (literally) in order to express or regulate them to an acceptable social level?

Hold on to your compassion and love. It’s frequently stormy. Take a breath. Walk through the moments in baby steps. There are resources out there to help that range from therapy to help your child integrate his or her sensory system, to respite for you, to informal parent groups, to other more organized groups. Feel free to email to me as a resource or to assist in connecting you to support.

In the meantime, keep an eye on that barometer and remember that we are in this together.

Mia Sultanik