Did you know headphones help autistic children?
Children diagnosed with autism process information uniquely. Most autistic children have sensory processing dysfunction that causes language and motor delays, sensory revulsions, repetitive sensory stereotypies, inability to interact with people, and other difficulties.
Some children with such sensory processing disorders are oversensitive or over-responsive to stimulants. Their low threshold for sensory stimuli may make them overwhelmed in a fraction of a second. They get irritated quickly and may not feel comfortable in their environment.
How Headphones Help Autistic Children
Sensory over-responsiveness or defensiveness: What is it?
Children with a low barrier for sensory stimuli often face a great deal of difficulty in social settings. They avoid playing or exploring their environment because of their over-responsiveness to even the most minor sensory inputs. They defend themselves, try to minimize, or avoid exposure to the sensations that trigger their physiological response. The response can manifest in any or all the sensory systems. For instance, if sensory defensiveness is restricted to a specific area of sensory input, say oral senses, the child might avoid eating food with specific textures. On the other hand, a child who is not over-responsive will be willing to nibble on everything.
Over-responsiveness or defensiveness to auditory input
As mentioned above, an autistic child can be over-responsive to one or all the sensory systems. A child that is over-responsive to auditory inputs feels extremely uncomfortable in crowded spaces. Defensive autistic children also overreact to one-off sounds like a door closing or toilet flushing. Their inability to process auditory information quickly makes it difficult for them to be a part of any social setting.
Several mechanical and technical aids help such children feel comfortable. One such aid is headphones.
Headphones for autistic children
Noise-canceling, sound blocking, or noise reduction headphones are a boon for over-responsive autistic children. These headphones minimize or completely block out the background noise that triggers a response in autistic children. They tone down the sound by detecting incoming soundwaves and canceling them.
Loaded with features, these headphones keep an autistic child comfortable throughout the day. They work well in all kinds of environments, including crowded places like school buses, cafeterias, movie theatres, shopping malls, concerts, restaurants, movie theatres, grocery stores, parks, etc.
These headphones prevent high volumes from reaching the eardrums and help autistic children focus on the task they are doing. They also allow the children to play music at a low volume and relax. As earphones eliminate most of the auditory information, they are ideal for children with severe auditory sensitivity.
Noise cancellation headphones for autistic children block out noise completely. On the other hand, noise reduction headphones tone down the noise level instead of completely eliminating it.
The benefits of having headphones for autistic children
Headphones for autistic children allow them to be a part of the social setting without being subjected to harsh noises that could trigger their defensiveness. They allow children to go to crowded and public places. These devices also ensure safety, since children can still hear the necessary sounds, such as an alarm, a siren on the road, or the noise of a car honking behind them.
How to choose the right headphones for autistic children
Your priority should be finding comfortable headphones. Look for earphones with snug ear cups that aren’t too loose or too tight around the ears.
Look for wireless options to keep your autistic child from meddling with the long wires of the headphones.
The bottom line
Children with autism require a calm environment to relax and focus on something. Headphones for autistic children help them deal with the noise. So, understand the specific needs of your autistic child and find a suitable product that will help them deal with their sensory difficulties.