Temperature sensitivity is a very common hypersensitive reaction in people, particularly sensitivity to heat, though this can co-exist with sensitivity to cold, just to make life more difficult! We can also be hyposensitive to both cold and heat – that means we have a lack of sensitivity to it (I’m thinking that all posties have hyposensitivity to cold, otherwise why do they wear shorts all year round?!).

 

Temperature sensitivity is not exclusive to neurodivergent people but it is incredibly common from us. Our senses work in conjunction with each other, so temperature sensitivity is closely related to light sensitivity and pain sensitivity, for instance.

I have a small, small window of temperature tolerance (around 18-20 degrees celsius if I’m sitting still, 12-16 degrees if I’m working in the garden or sleeping). I will always err on the side of cold, which makes things quite awkward for visitors (and my husband), none of whom are comfortable at those temperatures. I can add layers, but how on earth to get away from the all consuming sensation of heat? It’s an appalling feeling to be overwhelmed in that way, for me. I can’t think straight and I get so short-tempered, I always have.

Conversely, anything colder than those temperatures and I’m wearing a dressing gown, hat, and blanket over my clothes! It sounds pathetic, but since I joined various neurodivergent groups and started reading, I realise that I am not unusual. Neurodivergent people of many different divergencies, particularly children, find high temperatures intolerable – to the point of meltdown.

Some neurodivergent people thrive in the heat and have hypersensitivity to cold. Some have hyposensitivity – lack of sensitivity – to heat. We’re all different.

The point is that we have hypersensitivity and/or hyposensitivity and that makes life stressful and uncomfortable when we have no control over our environments. It’s very difficult to express that around people who don’t understand how extreme the sensation is. It is not us behaving like princesses, it is not us being ‘over sensitive’ – these are physiological responses to our neurological messages. No one chooses to feel discomfort or pain!

For broader information on sensitivity please click here → to return to the page on hypersensitivity and here → to return to the page on hyposensitivity.