Anyone else able to block out sensory input?

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MrsPeel
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01 Jun 2019, 11:58 pm

I see a lot of threads about sensory issues here, and I can't really relate as I don't have many problems in that area.
What I have noticed is that I "block out" a lot of the environment, and I'm wondering whether others do that too? Is it an aspie thing, an attention-deficit thing, or just me?

For example, when I go to do the food shopping, I'll usually walk to the shop with my eyes down and my head full of my thoughts and not notice anything or anyone around me. Once inside, rather than scanning all the shelves, I'll go straight to the shelf I want by memory and then concentrate on just that patch of shelving with the thing I want and similar brands. I think this is just a way I've developed for minimising sensory input.

I also have trouble talking and driving at the same time. My company likes us to travel in pairs when we're going long distances "for safety", but I have a lot more near-misses when there's someone with me, trying to engage me in conversation. I think when I'm listening to someone talk I'm automatically "blocking" other input - including conscious attention to other traffic.

Can anyone relate?



Lillikane
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02 Jun 2019, 12:03 am

Yes, i can relate to the blocking, but i also have sensory issues. I try not to block too much for just the reason you stated- inattention can cause accidents. I think my blocking is detrimental to my success in all areas requiring social interaction.



Joe90
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02 Jun 2019, 1:01 am

Quote:
Is it an aspie thing


I thought it was common for Aspies to be the opposite?


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Edna3362
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02 Jun 2019, 2:09 am

From my own point of view, it's less of a block and more of a 'fade'.
I still kept taking it, yet couldn't process it properly because of the already competing stimuli.

Unprocessed stimuli still reaches my senses and my senses sensed it as 'it's there it exists', but left it as vague or something unremarkable and highly unmemorable despite the sense's 'insistence'.
At worst, it's what pulling the weight of mental encumbrance in real time (as opposed to the mental pileup). It's a very subtle distraction, instead of the intense and painful ones that are easy to describe as something that someone can't ignore or block/'fade' out -- they are usually named as triggers.

But yes, it kinda makes sense that 'blocking' seems detrimental. Many would point the obvious sensitization and inattention.
But I can say th same with 'fade'. Fade... Distorts these things in addition to inattention.


If my mind is capable of processing them all; AND said senses able to prioritize these stimuli, which it happened a few times for me then. It just takes account on short term and working memory. If my working memory can handle it, it comes out more vivid -- at the same time it isn't distracting or overwhelming. I suddenly became an ace on social interactions and made navigation effortless with these though.
What left unchanged was the filters and how much I kept taking.


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Sam64
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02 Jun 2019, 2:43 am

Yes, if I look at the floor like you do and when I'm walking in a crowd I try to walk in the gap with no people in front of me even if means swerving and changing path a lot as I like seeing a clear space in front of me.

Sound is more difficult to tolerate. When I'm on a noisy bus I sit in the back corner seat with my music on headphones and focus on the road or pavement through the window. It keeps me calm to block out the unpleasant sounds and only have the floor to focus on instead of too much. It doesn't help that modern busses announce every single stop and usually have some selfish prick who decides to listen to their phone out loud with no headphones. :x



Magna
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02 Jun 2019, 8:31 am

Hyper-focus? Zoning out?

Quite often when I was a child I used to stare off in deep thought about something. My vision would blur as I stared at something and it's like my hearing would change to where all sounds around me would combine to a muffled sound that was barely there. Disengaged from my environment to the point that my Mom could be calling my name over and over until I finally pulled out of it. It was a great feeling, actually and it was definitely blocking out sensory input, but I'm not sure that's what you're talking about.

I've only had the same thing happen as an adult rarely.


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bluesky11
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02 Jun 2019, 11:46 am

Yes, but not purposefully.

1) I'll snap back to reality every few minutes and realize that I have been stuck in my head. The volume of reality gets turned down and though my eyes are open I'm not actually seeing anything. I think in pictures/movies and so when I "zone out" it's like playing a video game, I'm watching things happen but can influence them.

2) I block out sensory input for hours when I'm researching (either special interests or interesting schoolwork). My vision narrows to everything but the screen or page I'm focused on, audio is turned off, I don't notice that I'm hungry or my leg has fallen asleep.

Loud conversations, flickering lights and potent smells can keep me from these tune-outs though.



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03 Jun 2019, 12:48 am

MrsPeel wrote:
I see a lot of threads about sensory issues here, and I can't really relate as I don't have many problems in that area.

Different autistic people have different kinds of sensory issues, and different kinds of attention issues also.

MrsPeel wrote:
What I have noticed is that I "block out" a lot of the environment, and I'm wondering whether others do that too?

I do.

MrsPeel wrote:
Is it an aspie thing, an attention-deficit thing, or just me?

As far as I can tell, it's one of the several different kinds of attention issues that autistic people can have. Other autistic people find it very difficult to ignore their environment. Still others have co-occurring ADHD. On the other hand, if you can easily focus on what you are doing and ignore all distractions, but have extreme difficulty multi-tasking, that sounds to me like the opposite of ADHD.

MrsPeel wrote:
For example, when I go to do the food shopping, I'll usually walk to the shop with my eyes down and my head full of my thoughts and not notice anything or anyone around me. Once inside, rather than scanning all the shelves, I'll go straight to the shelf I want by memory and then concentrate on just that patch of shelving with the thing I want and similar brands. I think this is just a way I've developed for minimising sensory input.

That's exactly what I tend to do also.

MrsPeel wrote:
I also have trouble talking and driving at the same time. My company likes us to travel in pairs when we're going long distances "for safety", but I have a lot more near-misses when there's someone with me, trying to engage me in conversation. I think when I'm listening to someone talk I'm automatically "blocking" other input - including conscious attention to other traffic.

Can anyone relate?

Definitely.

This sort of thing is why I don't drive, in the first place. Because of my difficulties with multi-tasking, I decided, in my twenties, that I was not capable of paying attention to all the various different things I would need to pay attention to in order to be a safe driver.


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