Competent, capable, different not disabled

Isle of Arran

Monoprocessing (cont.)

Monoprocessing = one channel at once


One compensatory strategy to survive information overload is monoprocessing (Bogdashina, 2003).  If the visual system, auditory system, nasal system, thinking system etc. are considered to be channels, monoprocessing means using only one “channel” at once.  In contrast, non-spectrum people can process sensory information from lots of different channels simultaneously.


In my opinion, monoprocessing is the single most important thing to know about autism, because it can account for almost everything else about autism. Monoprocessing is a good compensatory strategy for overload, because it helps to keep the one channel that is “on” functioning most efficiently (Bogdashina, 2003).


There are seven sensory systems: seeing, hearing, tactile, smell, taste, propriosensory, and vestibular. With monoprocessing, each of these seven sensory systems has its separate channel. Personally, I would add an eighth “thinking” channel to these seven.


I experience monoprocessing all the time. If I spend a long time in one session writing, “thinking” is on, and the rest of the channels are off. I might get very cold and hungry, but may not notice until I have finished the session. When I walk to work, usually “thinking” is on, with the occasionally “seeing”. In both cases, I do not hear background noises. When I do try to listen, the traffic seems so loud, that I am glad that my ears quickly switch off. If “thinking” is on, this precludes all sensory input and I take in nothing on a conscious level. Hence, after four years of always walking/cycling the same route, I did not know what shops I passed. In cafes, I cannot hear the background music unless I specifically focus on it (which I cannot do at the same time as having a conversation), so I do not know any words of pop songs. In my local park, I sometimes try to listen to the birds singing, but my ears switch off almost immediately. I cannot taste my dinner if I am watching TV. During an exam, my friend was really bothered by the sound of drilling outside the exam hall. My response was “what drilling?”. I was completely unaware of the drilling, because “thinking” was on and “hearing” was off.




To contact, e-mail: debi@aspiedebi.com

“Can you see and hear at the same time?” 


“I’m not really sure because I cannot process both at once.”