I met a lady who can help kids (and adults) with APD to become less sensitive to some sounds (eg. ticking clock, clicking pens, outside/background noise) and more sensitive to other sounds (eg. teacher's voice).
I was tested myself and found to be very sensitive to low frequency (background noise) and under sensitive to high frequency (female voices). Also the graph of my left ear versus the graph of my right ear frequently crossed over, meaning when one ear couldn't hear the sound the other ear could. Ros asked me if I had any problems with maths. Absolutely, I'm terrible at it. She explained that many people with cross overs like this have trouble with maths. The best part though, is that I can train my ears to hear higher frequency and block out lower frequency by listening to a CD tailored to my specific hearing requirements. Yay, can't wait.
Suddenly I understood what it could be like for my son who has APD. Though most of the tones played in the headphones were fine, some actually caused me to have an earache others caused a headache and some sounds seemed to be coming from above, behind or below me instead of against my ear where the headphones were. Other tones would continue on in my head after they had finished being played. Imagine that in the class room! No wonder I daydreamed a lot in class, the outside noises were clearer than the teacher. I'm excited to see if my understanding of maths improves at this late stage in my life once I correct my hearing. I also have trouble holding on to instructions that have just been said, and have trouble hearing in crowds or with background noise (guilty of doing the odd bit of lip reading, or smiling and nodding when I've missed what was said but am too embarrassed to ask them to repeat it).
I've had my hearing tested before and it comes back as fine, yes I can hear. Then why do I have trouble hearing? (well now I know why) I have to turn the TV up a few notches louder than DH prefers so I can make out what the actors are saying due to background music in the film. Anyone else have these issues as adults?
Anyway, if you're looking for help in the Auckland area then here is the info of the lady who's helping me. She has a gifted child with APD and also helps special needs kids with any learning difficulty (ADHD, phonological awareness issues, dyslexia, staying on task issues, remembering/following instructions, under achievement, co-ordination issues, low self confidence/esteem, read/write/spell issues, sequencing, avoidance, processing speed etc.)
This is very helpful thanks. I suspect that DS has some sort of sensory processing disorder, especially to do with sound, although we haven't had him formerly tested. Does she do formal testing to determine what the issue is? Also, where exactly is she located?
Yes, Ros writes a full report with observations and suggested techniques to help. She also works along side LD special needs kids in some schools as a teacher aid and has all her teaching qualifications but branched off in this area when she saw a need for it. She also works individually with kids outside of school if required.
Ros works in the Mangerie Bridge area. Children need to be 7yrs to be formally tested to ensure an accurate assessment. For kids under 7 she has a generic CD which will help but is not individualised.
My son is 5 and used to put his hands on his ears and scream with vacuum, running water, chopping veges, unpacking utensils from dishwasher etc. He also makes a loud single tone noise to drown out other noises when they become overwhelming (which was seen as naughty in school until I told them why he does it). We've just started him on the generic CD for 10mins per day while he's in the car, eating or playing quietly.
Good luck with your boy and I hope you can find some answers but most of all, some techniques to help him cope.
OMG you've just described my son re: response to sounds. Happy enough with the vacuum, but would hold his hands over his ears and scream when the waste disposal was on. Interestingly, this was only when we were staying in the apartment. The waste disposal in the house that we're staying in now, doesn't seem to impact on him at all. He also has (for want of a better word) anxiety attacks when he is in situations with loud noises eg. concerts, cultural performances etc. Its as though the sound is quadruple the volume that it is for the rest of us.
I contacted the ed psychologist who assessed him at the beginning of the year for giftedness, and she also said that formal testing couldn't be done until he is 7 years old. DS is nearly four and a half, and I want some strategies to help him cope for when he starts school.
I've been stressing about this for ages. Its weird because sounds don't impact on him all of the time. I just feel that if we don't get help for him, as with your son, the school may misinterpret DS's behaviour as being naughty or difficult, and as opposed to receiving support, he may instead be punished. Your feedback has been so helpful. We live in Botany, so Mangere Bridge isn't really that far away.
Hey, we live near the Botany area too. We should have a chat about this off the forum as I don't want to use this forum as an email and disrupt other people. Click on my initial above and email me. :-)
I havn't been on this forum in years. Glad I found this post today. My 12 yr old son used to be extremely sound sensitive. He has very high functioning Asperger's syndrome. It is interesting how many "gifted kids" written about on this forum have sensory issues. We would have had no idea our son had Aspergers if we hadn't had him assessed by an ed psyche who actually suggested it to us. Anyway, once we found out he had Aspergers 2 years ago we began biomedical treatment. We found out he has a genetc condition called pyrolle disorder, pyroluria or mauve syndrome. It results in a zinc/b6 deficiency. As soon as we got him treated he no longer slammed his hands over his ears etc. It made school and life in general much more managable. He no longer compains of any sound sensitivity. Intersting thing is that even though the ed psyche suggested we get him assessed for auditory processing disorder, and I havn't found anyone who can do it in our part of the country, his highest area of giftedness is in the area of music and sound. He scored in the 99th percentile for phonemic awareness with an age equivalency of 26+ years at barely 8 years old. I wonder if there is a connection. I'm going to contact the lady in Auckland and ask her if she knows someone we can go to for help. He can still here certain sounds that other people can't like bird calls from a distance and he has MAJOR problems with maths MAJOR! Oh and Newbie it was suggested to us that our son take ear muffs to school, by then he was too old and too embarrased, but the teacher was really understanding and agreed to let him have a break from the classroom when things got too much but once again ds was too embarrased. He is homeschooled now so it isn't an issue. Also when he was younger we let him sleep with ear muffs and take them to concerts/cinema etc. It really helped.
Im not sure if she will sell the CD without the consultation, as I went for the consult as well. The program takes 6 months. To be honest, it's very difficult to tell if it made a difference, as he wasn't assessed before or after he started the program, but I was willing to try anything.
The public health system has been very trying. DS didn't qualify for a Paediatrician, as he is not considered to have any disability because he is gifted. However, he was referred to be seen by an Occupational Therapist. After having completed a Sensory Profile which was analyzed by the Occupational Therapist, it appears that my son has an increased sensitivity to auditory processing, visual processing, and multisensory processing. None of these are anything to be immediately alarmed about. I was quite intrigued to learn about the visual and multisensory processing as I hadn't picked up on any of those signs myself. However, [with a great sigh of relief] I am glad there is finally and actually some data to indicate that there are some issues that require follow up. I'm not relieved that the issues exist, but it's more a sense of relief that I haven't been advocating for DS for nothing. On my request, the OT has provided strategies that would be useful at home as well as in the classroom, so I've arranged to meet with the school (both his classroom teacher and the GATE/SENCO coordinator) to see which strategies can realistically be applied, and how we can monitor his progress until he is developmentally old enough to be formally assessed if required. So finally we have progress .... finally. To be honest, I don't want the school to apply the strategies straight away, as I'm more interested in them observing any behaviors that DS displays in response to various auditory environmental issues eg. covering his ears etc. One of the suggestions was for DS to have earmuffs at school if he needs, but I'd prefer not to do this.
However, to add to his woes, his ears have been fully impacted with wax since August last year. Ironically, this seems to have dulled his auditory hypersensitivities. Unfortunately though, it's impacting on his ability to hear. We've had 3 unsuccessful visits to the ear clinic to remove the wax. Unsuccessful because he screamed the house down when they tried to use the suction machine on him, probably because of the sound sensitivities. Anyway, I pleaded with the GP to refer him somewhere where they will sedate him in order to unblock his ears. Am currently on a waiting list for that. Basically, it's pointless taking him to an audiologist to assess his hearing levels, until the wax is removed.
So, our journey is ongoing. And my battle with CMDHB continues. I say battle, because there have been road blocks every step of the way. They're just not interested in my gifted kid with sound sensitivities. Ah well, onwards and upwards
Thank you 'S' for your feedback about your experiences with the JIAS Sound Therapy Programme. I am glad you have gained a good understanding of the difficulties you and your son have experienced.
As you have now realised by going through the full assessment process yourself, it is difficult to accurately assess a very young child. That is why the generic CD is available for younger children.
As a parent I trust that you would notice any changes in behaviour that indicate if it has helped. If your child's behaviour indicates that their sensitivities are still an issue, it is advisable to have the full assessment 'for peace of mind', when he is old enough.
As you have mentioned, I am a mum, and I have discovered this therapy along MY journey. I empathise with all you mums out there who are searching and advocating for your children within the various 'systems'. It is not easy I know. If anyone have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I have been listening to the CD's for a year now with a big improvement. (Improvements happen faster with kids, about six months). Ros had some positive ideas for getting the most out of the program while understanding the frustrations I had been experiencing prior to seeing her. It was eye-opening to discover that my hearing of background noise was acute at -10 decibels, while my hearing of voices dipped into the deaf zone by 15 decibels. These two combined explained my difficulty hearing voices with background noise present.
Each CD lasted three months before I had to be tested again and a new CD made because my hearing had changed. The music was pleasant and relaxing to listen to. At times I heard scratchiness on the CD as if a radio was off the station, however, DS said he couldn’t hear scratches and a few weeks later as my ears adjusted, the scratchiness was gone and I could hear new notes that had previously been outside my hearing range. My ability to hear background noise has substantially lessened on the graph and my hearing in the voices range came out of the deaf zone and climbed to a more normal level.
Noticeable changes have been:
• Hearing voices on the TV at a softer volume
• No lip reading required in public places
• Less concentration required to hear others speak
• A quieter environment from low drones of engines and the constant hum of other electrical appliances
• An overall mentally calmer feeling at the end of each day.
I haven't tried out maths yet, but DS is asking me questions so I had better start brushing up soon. I think these CDs are great for people with noise sensitivity, APD and noise anxiety or work/classroom concentration issues. When my son turns seven I will definitely be getting the CDs for him to help his schooling and social integration.
I can understand it would be hard for a young child to articulate the changes, particularly since children live in the "now" and can't remember how they used to hear. Having experienced it myself though, I realise changes happen slowly and are subtle each month but when compared to a year ago, it's huge.
I just caught this particular post - it looks as though you are needing an assessment done? I was directed to this group (PELIM) based in Nelson, where they also specialise in assessing children with Processing disorders. Alison (below) is an OT, and we flew her down to us in the lower south island, to assess our son a few years ago. She was great, observing him at kindy, and in our home during the afternoon and dinnertime. She was able to diagnose him with SPD ~ sensory seeking and some avoiding behaviours. We recently had him assessed by an educational psychologist in Auckland as well, and the sensory component fits with Debrowski's over-excitabilities.
I hope this may help you. Alison has about 15 years experience I believe, a lot of it in the UK.
I also saw a great clip on 'Straight Talk, a TV show on Sky that showcased Auditory Processing Disorder, and the GO school. I'm not sure where the Dr. is based, but you may catch his name if you watch it. The Gifted Online school website has the programme clip on the front page, here:
PO Box 597, Nelson 7040
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