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Sensory Defense

Light + Sun Defenses

Eye Protection options for Photosensitive folks

  • A link to buy safety sunglasses in many colors

  • Click the sunglasses at the top to virtually try different screen colors.Irlen Method.  You can order custom sunglasses through Zenni Optical and other online glasses shops.

  • Wearing a sunhat/baseball cap or any kind of hat with a brim over your face also offers some shade for your eyes.

Skin Protection options for Photosensitive folks

  • UPF clothing are clothes designed to protect you from the sun like sunscreen.

  • UVSkins offers binary gender UPF clothing. The "women's" section goes up to size 3x (54 inch hip measurement).

  • Coolibar offers binary gender clothing options. The "women's" section goes up to 3x / 26 (hip measurement of 53 inches)

Access Needs (at home or work) for Photosensitive folks

  • Light blocking curtains

  • The ability to wear sunglasses during work hours

  • Dimmer switches

  • Non-flourescent lighting, either natural lighting, or LED lighting that can be changed to a different color

Sound Defenses

Ear Protection options for Sound Sensitive folks

  • Pro fo Sho ear defenders are simply designed to block out noise and they come in fun colors!

  • Noise canceling headphones are always an option. You can put a silk scarf on your ears to avoid ear sweat.

  • This is a headband marketed for either sleep or sports with earbuds in it.

  • These side sleeper ear plugs seem to fit better for me and I've seen others recommend them.

  • Other ear plug options include: "musician's ear plugs," here's just one option.

  • It is also possible to have an audiologist or someone who works at a hearing aid store create custom molded ear plugs for you.

  • Loop ear plugs also block sound. You can customize the ear piece to better fit your ear + they look like jewelry.

  • Wearing ear protection means it needs to be cleaned. Here are cleaning wipes designed to dissolve ear wax.

Access Needs (at home or work) for Sound Sensitive folks

  • Bookcases filled with books absorb sound, they can be placed on exterior walls.

  • Sound absorbing curtains since windows are weak points.

  • Wall mounted acoustic tiles.

  • Sleep in a separate room. Work in a separate room (accommodation for a private room/office).

Touch Defenses

  • State clear boundaries with others around touch.

  • Withdraw to assert boundaries.

Texture Defenses

  • Wear soft clothing (or clothing of a texture you prefer)

  • Have sheets /pillow cases in your preferred cloth (cotton, bamboo are both breathable, soft and easy to wash)

  • Why have stiff decorative pillows? Soft decorative pillows (unless the sequins are stimmy for you)

Smell Defenses

  • If you need to be somewhere very smelly you have to either 1. eliminate the smell or 2. cope with the smell.

  • Smell elimination usually involves hygiene / cleaning the area. Enzyme cleaners are used for cleaning up urine for example.

  • Nose plugs exist! These are scented with menthol and often putting something scented under your nose is a common strategy.

  • The unscented method are designed for swimming and clip your nostrils shut, which may be a sensation you can tolerate or may not be.

Food Sensitivities

Food issues are complicated! I have been working on a Food page for ages.
The goal of the food page is to provide the following resources when it goes live:

1. Intuitive eating (anti-diet) resources

2. Co-op or CSA resources for food that's local

3. Access options for folks who have food allergies

4. Access options for folks who have texture sensitivities with food

5. Access options for folks who have limited energy for cooking

(this section is under construction and this list is a reminder to myself for later)

If you would like to contribute to the Food page please email me at


Chew Stims

Ark Therapeutic makes several safe chew stim options

Picking Stims

Many people struggling with the urge to pick and often pick at their skin, nails, or hair. Redirect that urge with these stims.

Picky Party Finger Picking Stone

Pick Palette sensory board (latex free according to the link)
Calm strips + calm shapes are textured stickers or shapes you can stick, peel, or run your fingers across. 

Tappy Stims

Tappy Self Care app gamifies tapping


This is the catch all spot where I put all the other stims folks fidget with that I'm not sure how to name or place

Like Ark's sensory bookmark

Smoosh/Squeez Stims (giving pressure)

Classic squeeze toys or stress balls

Hugging someone tightly (yourself or someone else, squeezing your muscles)

Compression / Receiving Pressure

Weighted blankets are a common way of receiving pressure. Luna blankets come with bamboo fabric which is cooling.
Multiple businesses on Etsy sell weighted plushies as well. This is one example.
Compression clothing, such as compression socks, compression sleeves, corsets or chest binders might also feel good. Have you ever worn a chest binder or preferred tight sports bras but not because you felt dysphoria over your chest? hm.

Sensory Profile

This is a website designed to develop a sensory profile for children. You could also answer these questions for yourself (at a younger age or currently). It will tell you which areas are most vulnerable for you which might be useful in communication with doctors, occupational therapists, or other people in your life when negotiating accommodations.

This link appears to be a mega repository for websites that sell stims! particularly independent shops on Etsy.

Why Do Autistic People Stim? article over at Neuroclastic by Maxfield Sparrow

This is not an exhaustive list but a starting point for you to think about meeting your sensory needs in a different way. We live in a world that is often overwhelming for people who are sensitive to the world. You don't have to be autistic, a highly sensitive person, or have a sensory processing disorder to benefit from the aids on this page.

Resources were collected by the following folks:

Simone Arnold of Hero's Journey Counseling in Vermont

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Taryn Cantorez

Ruth Spalding, keeper of this website

Last update performed June 2023

Under construction and likely to be heavily revised in the near future

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