Ross recently found out he is autistic. He's since written a children’s book that has been subtly & sensitively illustrated to be more accessible for autistic children.
We asked Ross if he would like to write blog about his experiences as we know that a lot of people would find it incredibly helpful. Ross has been very open and we are incredibly grateful that he has shared his story with us.
Find out more about Calmer here.
Getting to know Ross...
If you had asked me this a year ago, I would have had a different answer. My life has changed so much and become a lot more positive since my diagnosis. I have helped shape and published the first autism friendly traditional picture book “Kaleidoscope”, creating media which better suits an autistic child’s needs. From visuals to emotional cues in the story itself and simplifying facial expressions to make them easier to identify. Most days now I spend campaigning for more understanding, inclusion and representation in the media and beyond with the hope it will start to create a wider and more genuine understanding, allowing a chance to create a brighter future for all members of the autistic community.
I was diagnosed on the 14th of September 2020, because I needed an answer. I was always aware there was something missing, something about myself I just couldn’t understand. It was that desire to finally understand myself that led me to the assessment. I just had to know one way or another. The truth is I was 41 and I didn’t really know who I was. I felt completely lost before the assessment but over this year, I have truly found myself. I am now working towards creating more understanding, inclusion and representation for the autistic community as a whole.
Like a lot of things, there are good and bad sides. This world can feel like a very intimidating place at times. The world can have such a deep impact, rippling below the surface all too often. However, there are some positives to the way my mind works. I can be really creative and not just limited to one area either. My mind is an exceptional problem solver at times which definitely can be an asset. Personally my favourite thing about being autistic is my creative side.
My TV broke not that long ago, a friend kindly gave me her old one from the spare bedroom, but there was a big problem. It emitted this high-pitched sound that perhaps doesn’t bother others, but really got into my head. I can’t control the intake of sensory information or just ignore it. Certain sounds can be really overwhelming especially if in a heavily populated place. My senses are so very sharp, basically it means I hear more, see more, etc, but it can make some sounds and sights feel breathtaking to experience. So, it’s not all downside, there are some positives to having sharper senses.
I have come across products that are cleverly designed, make life that little bit easier and that were a reasonable price. What’s much rarer is a product that ticks all those boxes and has a fundamental effect on your life.
I still feel the anxiety build but rather that continue until I have a meltdown, it dissipates, allowing me to continue as normal and that’s incredible.
To go from feeling compelled to leave the house to get away from the sound, to holding my daughter close, giving her a cuddle and telling her everything will be ok. That is life changing, it is honestly a truly remarkable product.
I had the chance to try the Calmer, Calmer Mini and Calmer Night earbuds. Firstly, don’t assume because earphones are uncomfortable for you that you will need the Calmer mini edition. I thought that and found they were slightly too small for me. I would say the Calmer mini would be perfect for autistic children (unless non-verbal) due to size. Calmer was surprisingly comfortable, it’s slightly larger than the Mini edition. Occasionally my ears have been itchy because of it being in, but nothing major. Other than that, a very minor issue, I forgot I had them in to be honest. This would be best suited for adults (unless non-verbal) due to its size.
That brings me to Calmer Night, I love this one. I have to admit it is my favourite one just because I can have them in all day. At bedtime I don’t need to remember to take them out and can just go to sleep. That’s not to say Calmer and Calmer Mini couldn’t be worn while sleeping. However, these have been designed for it and are so comfortable. I genuinely forgot I was wearing them after a few minutes. This is why I would recommend Calmer Night for non-verbal autistic people of all ages. As well as in general, they are all amazing, I can’t fault them at all, but Calmer Night is slightly more inclusive.
So, if you are not sure which one to buy, start with the Calmer Night and you won’t go wrong.
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