Noise Sensitivity in Autism

Noise Sensitivity in AutismOne concern parents and professionals may have with children who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is that some of these children cannot tolerate listening to certain sounds. Often, parents observe that the children put their hands over their ears, run away from sounds, or sometimes lose control of their behaviors in the presence of certain sounds. These children are often identified as having auditory hypersensitivity or hypersensitive hearing.

One of the most commonly reported challenges for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is hypersensitivity to sound. Some researchers view the strong avoidance reactions exhibited by some individuals with ASDs as emotional regulation, possibly as a result of learned behaviors that are either fear- or annoyance-based.

Two types of treatments have been tried to help children with auditory hypersensitivity.

  1. Listening Methods: The listening method described here uses specially chosen sounds and music, typically classical music. The sounds or music are acoustically modified to lead the child to react less negatively to sounds and, thus, reduce the child’s hypersensitivity.
  2. Systematic Desensitization: The basis of desensitization training, as the name suggests, is to desensitize the emotional and nonclassical auditory systems so that they no longer react negatively to loud and annoying sounds, the things that make the sounds, and the situations in which such sounds may occur.

A critical first step may be to discontinue overuse of ear protection (e.g., earplugs, etc.) that may be counterproductive. Another approach may be to enhance the child’s auditory environment by embedding sound stimuli (e.g., music, noise-making toys, etc) into positive, playful activities. Individualized systematic desensitization protocols, consistently implemented, can make a significant difference.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Bullying Prevention for the Autistic Child

Bullying Prevention for the Autistic ChildChildren with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are typically bullied more than average. Just like any other child who’s different: a very tall child, short child, deaf child or even the gifted child.

There are, however, some steps you can take to try to prevent this bullying or at least address it and cope with it. Forewarned is forearmed.

  1. Be alert to signs your child is being bullied. Since you know bullying is likely to happen sooner or later, then be prepared for it. Watch for telltale signs of distress in your child: changes in behaviors like disturbed sleep or nightmares or regression in toilet habits or other learned skills.
  2. Role play at home. We mention role-playing a lot, but it’s useful here, too. Go over different scenarios and give your child some pat phrases and stock responses to use if he or she is being bullied. For example, your child can learn to say, “whatever,” and turn away. Or the child can learn how not to melt down if accosted. Very often children get bullied because of how they react. If the child can react differently, the bullying may stop.
  3. Teach bullying avoidance. Work with the child and the school so that the child is not alone for bathroom breaks or mealtimes. Bullies are great at going after the isolated child. That means helping your child not to be isolated.
  4. Be aware of all of the school’s and school board’s rules and procedures. If you suspect your child is being bullied, then take appropriate action right away. Follow the procedures with crossing every “t” and dotting every “i.” You will waste less time if you give the school whatever they require to step in quickly. Just as Applied Behavior Analysis molds a child’s behavior with positive rewards, negative consequences such as bullying can also mold behaviors that you don’t want. So, don’t let the bullying go on thinking it will go away on its own.

If at all possible, try to cultivate a friend for your child in his or her class. One vocal defender can make a big difference.

Applied Behavior Analysis helps to extinguish undesirable behaviors and reinforce desirable ones. ABA can improve your child’s toileting behaviors, eating behaviors, speech, and sleeping routines. ABA can be life changing for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you are trying to decide how to handle a child with ASD or what type of therapy is most appropriate for your child, please contact us today.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Helping Children with Autism Deal with Winter Weather

The changing of the seasons and the advent of winter is not always welcome for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There can be a number of challenges, and we have some suggestions that will help you.

Autistic children do best with routine in their lives, and winter weather changes that routine. The first and most obvious change is in the clothing they wear. Bulky winter wear is not necessarily pleasant for the child.

The autistic child may not like the feel or weight of bulky clothing. Fortunately, today there are lots of very lightweight and warm choices available that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

So, it’s wise to get the child used to the idea that he or she has to dress differently. Practice putting on coats and hats and gloves in the house before needing the child dressed in a hurry for an appointment.

If your child is in a program with us, we can help you with this by tailoring learning programs—in our learning environment or at home in yours—to include getting ready to go outside in the cold. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) techniques can make getting dressed for winter weather a pleasant experience.

We’ve mentioned before that many autistic children have an issue with wandering off or what’s called “elopement.” You will want to be especially vigilant during the winter because what’s annoying in the summer can be life-threatening in the winter.

If you child isn’t crazy about the cold, consider planning some interesting outdoor activities collecting rocks or leaves or building a snowman or even making a toboggan track in your yard if there’s a slope to it.

There are also some winter sports that might appeal to your child. Team sports and very noisy sports aren’t always the best fit, but there are still independent sports to consider like snowboarding or skating.

For a very visual child, a winter birdfeeder close to a window can make a dreary day interesting. The child can learn the names of birds or count them or do all kinds of observational games. The point here is to try to make the best of foul weather. The good news is that spring is just around the corner.

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Applied Behavior Analysis helps to extinguish undesirable behaviors and reinforce desirable ones. ABA can improve your child’s toileting behaviors, eating behaviors, speech, and sleeping routines. ABA can be life changing for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you are trying to decide how to handle a child with ASD or what type of therapy is most appropriate for your child, please contact us today.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.