Autism Mis-diagnosed – Could it be Colour Sensitivity?

snow owl

My son is 11 and has a lot of sensory processing issues, his most challenging ones being visual and sound.  When we go to see doctors, paediatricians and occupational therapists no-one knows how to help us. They don’t seem to have seen this type of sensitivity before (especially the visual processing) and they don’t seem to have seen sensitivity outside of autism.

So . . . where do they refer us? Autism testing.

I told my son about the assessment and he was quite indignant that he didn’t want to be mis-diagnosed as having autism and so he he wrote a letter to the doctor.

Dear Dr,

I am Luca and I am 11. I have an appointment to come and see you and Mum and Dad say it is about behaviour and autism.

I don’t think it will help me to come to be assessed because I think lots of people are being mis-diagnosed with autism when really they are colour sensitive.

I am sensitive to colour and pattern. I see colour and pattern different to other people. And it makes my brain do funny things. I can’t think very straight when I am in a room of a particular colour. And when people show me things on paper or on the screen I might not be able to process them. Or when people ask me questions I might not feel well enough or have enough energy to answer them. I don’t even like looking at people’s faces much or do eye contact because of the colour and patterns on people’s faces.

When I am in a room of the right colour which is really a type of white, I can concentrate much better but I might still struggle if the light outside doesn’t feel right for me or if it is sunny or if there is a blue sky.

When I go for appointments to see doctors I feel like I can’t really be me. My Mum has to speak for me and I feel trapped by the colours in the room and on people’s clothes. I can’t really show people who I am.

I don’t really mind being assessed for behaviour things or autism but I am not happy to be assessed in a place that is not right for me and then get mis-diagnosed. I feel at my best in December when the light is dim, after dark and in my house which is all neutral colours and patterns.

My Mum helped me write this letter because of my processing problem.

I hope you understand and take me seriously,

Luca

 

Colour Sensitivity – Lightwatcher Story – February 1st 2019

 

Snow – wonderful snow!

For me and my son, snowy days are the best days.

We woke up to about 4 inches of snow today and Luca wasn’t really feeling that well so I guessed we wouldn’t be going out. But at about 10:00 Luca suddenly said he thought he should go out – that he would feel better if he did. He started doing that sudden needing things all at once thins that children do when they are excited! I feel like I am suddenly being blown around by a whirlwind!

Anyway we wrapped up warm and ventured into the snowy wastes! It has been a slow burn over the years for Luca liking snow. As a toddler, he disliked seeing us sledge down the slope away from him and burst into tears. As a smaller child he didn’t learn the art of wrapping up warm and so was always grumpy with cold. When we had ice he seemed quite distressed which we only understand in the light of knowing about his visual issue with water and glare. So this year is very special. Luca has decided that he REALLY LIKES SNOW. And more than that – snow makes him feel really good as I find too.

Outside today I noticed that Luca’s eyes were open wide and I could see their real beautiful blue in the light. And his pupils were small, as were mine and my husband’s. Usually Luca’s pupils are bigger that ours’ as he is trying to shut out the light. He appeared wide open to the experience of being outside in the snow. He was even happy to have me look at his eyes and happy to look at the camera. This was so unusual.

Now as a light theory person I have a theory. It is simply that white reflects all the colours of the spectrum and so looking at white is our most balanced experience of the spectrum. When we perceive the spectrum as BALANCED our light sensitivity disappears.