Did you know that symptoms of Autism can be
caused by poor auditory processing?
What the Autistic Spectrum means for kids
Children on the Autistic Spectrum have difficulty processing and interpreting sensory stimuli in a balanced manner. They live in a world where sounds have less or a different meaning. Those deep in the spectrum are unable to integrate language because while they can hear, they are unable to listen. This significantly scrambles their ability to communicate.
When I am stressed I feel I sometimes dip into the spectrum briefly. The spectrum is very wide and accommodates higher performing geniuses like Lewis Carroll, Michelangelo, Nicola Tesla as well as those who are marginalised and are homeless. Anyone on the spectrum owns a unique set of symptoms, which allow them to learn differently. This usually makes life more difficult for them because of the expectations of the society they live in.
Many children with Autism also have auditory hypersensitivity and are sensory defensive because of the difference in the way they perceive their world. They listen through skin and bone conduction rather their ears (air conduction). These sounds felt primarily through body and bone, feel like continuous assaults to their systems. Feeling sound before hearing it causes anxiety, frustration, and the tendency to shut down.
Autistic children have a limited ability to filter out background noise and “tune in” to what they want to hear. They may explode into tantrums in an attempt to mask the painful sounds, or repeat words and movements for self-soothing. The ability to filter needs to be restored before a hypersensitive person can attempt to listen, since listening feels painful and irritating. The reduction of hypersensitivity to sound vibrations felt in the body can enable children to desire to listen and connect with the outside world.
How can listening therapy help?
Our listening therapy is designed to normalise the way that we absorb and process sound. This enables the ears to effectively filter out irrelevant information and protect the system from excessive sound by adjusting the tension of the eardrum when necessary.
This is achieved through a vibrating bone conductor built into specialised headphones, while the muscles of the middle ear are simultaneously being retrained to process sound more efficiently. This gently re-educates the nervous system to allow it to impart meaning to the sounds that the child hears.
Listening therapy is not a cure, however it is effective in helping children on the Autistic spectrum feel more comfortable in their bodies and in turn, motivates them to engage more fully with people and their environment. Listening therapy can also improve some of the sensory and behavioural issues experienced by some children with Autism.
What else may help?
- Introduce a balanced, fresh and varied diet
- Identify appropriate dietary supplements
- Investigate digestion
- Davis. D, Sound bodies through sound therapy,, Kalco, NJ, 2005, p177