You’re at the mall and you see a teen freaking out. You think, Whoa! What is going on? That kid is way too old to be throwing a tantrum. Maybe he’s making odd moaning sounds and has his hands over his ears and his eyes closed. Perhaps he’s curled up in a ball on the floor. Or it could be that his hands are flapping a mile a minute. You’re afraid to go near him. You definitely don’t want to say hello.
Well, say hello, because that kid might be me. My name is Gus, and I’m autistic. That means that I have a developmental disorder that causes my brain to be wired in a different way than most teens’ brains are.
That kid you saw at the mall could be autistic too, and the way he was acting may be because of something called sensory overload. This happens when our brains are overstimulated, whether by sounds, smells, or tastes. The fluorescent lights can hurt our eyes, or loud music can vibrate in a weird way, making it feel like a bee is stinging our ears.