Sensory Clashes at Work

This may not be welcome news to parents who have children with sensory issues, but you should know that they will likely grow up to be adults with sensory issues. Hopefully, as an adult, they will have a better understanding of their own preferences, better articulation of their needs to others, and less intense reactions than the tantrums you may be used to. But the sensory preferences will be present in adulthood. As previously mentioned, I continue to have sensory situations that frustrate me everyday, perhaps moreso since I started take on kids w/ SPD on my caseload. I give into my sensory needs even when I know it is to my own benefit not to. For example, each entry on this blog has been constructed on a laptop while sitting on my couch, as opposed to the desktop computer with ergonomic desk chair, proper mouse, and keyboard position less likely to give me carpal tunnel syndrome. I also use this pesky laptop to do all of my internetting (facebook, crosswords, fantasy baseball...) because I must have the noise and distraction from the TV to maintain my attention, and there is no TV in the 'computer room.' 90% or better of my college study time was spent in front of TV and/or computer, or talking to my friends about unrelated issues, because I need the noise to maintain alertness.

And that is where we transition to my little story. On my outpatient days, I share an office with an older coworker with ADD. While working at my desk, she entered the room, closed the door, and turned on the office tracklighting. To her, she has created the bright, quiet working environment that she needs to be productive. To me, the room instantly turns bright, hot, stuffy, and I have now been cut off from the quiet radio playing 'lite hits' or some such thing. I won't be able to hear my overhead page when my patient shows up. I have been imprisoned! I had to get up, leave the office, move around and postpone what I had been working on. Because our sensory needs are completely incompatible, we are completely incompatible as coworkers. We frequently bicker and rarely occupy the same area by choice. Yes, we have personal and professional disagreements as well, but I feel that the sensory clashes are exacerbating these problems. One day, we will probably go round and round about this.

I can't be the only one in this situation. I know that there are colleges who give the MMPI to incoming freshmen to determine personality matches for roommates, perhaps the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile should be added to the battery. Oh, imagine the possibilities if we used sensory profiles in workplaces, couples counseling, family therapy... it is a sensory world after all.

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