Neural Overload: VR Experience

Share an Autistic child’s experience of Neural Overload at a shopping centre

This extraordinary Virtual Reality video allows you to view the total experience, from onset of neural overload to neural shutdown, including the follow up after his removal from the scene and recovery, from the child’s point of view.

To access the 360º views, manually manipulate the view — including his own stimming hands (with dinosaur toy) — by dragging with mouse or (on mobile devices) swiping. This allows you to experience the process as if you were the child.

It’s revealing — and will help you understand what Autistic children (and adults) have to cope with when Neural Overload occurs and crosses the Stress Threshold.

To manipulate the point of view, use the navigation tool top left — or simply use the fist icon to drag it.
If you’re on a mobile device, use your finger to swipe/drag the image in the opposite direction.

The only missing features of the experience are the often unbearable physical pain and emotional turmoil and distress.

This graph shows how Aspies and other Autistics operate daily just below the Stress Threshold, compared to Neurotypical people. So it doesn’t take a lot of added stress to tip us over the threshold into Neural Overload in the form of Meltdowns, Shutdowns, Freezing (no response at all), Flight (running blindly away from the stress source) or Fawning (desperately trying to cope by pleasing the person causing the stress).

Aspie Stress Threshold

How YOU can help when this happens near you…

First, recognise what’s really happening. It’s a child suffering Neural Overload (click here to see possible causes) — unable to bear the overpowering sensory stimuli of crowded, brightly-lit, colourful displays, noises, smells, people, movement, etc and the physical pain it’s all creating inside their head, along with the emotional distress it’s causing.

Second, DO NOT accuse the parent, grandparent, teacher, carer or other person accompanying them of not controlling the child and his or her behaviour.

All that reaction does is reveal your own ignorance, ableism and judgemental nature. And add to the distress of the responsible adult, who is NOT a bad parent or role model.

Instead, offer to help by assisting them to remove the child from the vicinity that’s overwhelming them, perhaps by wheeling their shopping trolley, carrying their bags, etc.

Do NOT attempt to manhandle the child… this will only overload them even more.

Thanks for understanding and offering to help!

©2019 John Counsel. All rights reserved.

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