Friday, 16 May 2014

Auditory Integration Training....

I've made no secret of the fact that DS has huge noise sensitivity issues.
Due to this we've encountered some quite ugly moments in our time.

I've lost count of the sunny days out we've had as a family which have been going swimmingly well until a child or baby has screamed/cry near DS and within seconds we find that we're prising DS's fingers from the child's hair!

Whenever we go anywhere with DS, Daddy and I are both on 'noise alert'
I am highly tuned into the noises and sounds that I know DS cannot tolerate.
I'm on edge too as I need to move like a ninja if I hear a child cry, squeal. scream or shout or even a parent using a abrupt tone when telling their child off.

My family laugh at how different I dress when taking DS out, I wear my trainers and usually jogging bottoms or something loose as this boy moves fast and I need to be able to sprint after him like I am competing in the Olympics!!;)

Crying, squealing, screaming etc are DS's triggers and he will pounce on the person responsible for the noise which is why I have to move like Wonderwoman to prevent this!

How I haven't developed a nervous twitch because of this is beyond me!

Please understand, DS isn't being naughty when he pounces on a child for screaming. It's is only way of communicating and showing that person that his/her noise hurt him and that he just can't tolerate it.
It's his only way of telling him/her to stop :(

I admit it isn't a brilliant way of communicating this message but when your communication skills are very limited, what choice do you have?

A while ago I decided to look into ways or even treatment (within reason) that could possibly help with DS's severe noise sensitivity issues. I stumbled across something called Auditory Integration Training (AIT)

AIT is a music programme to help people with ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, Autism, hearing sensitivities and a variety of other special needs.

The programme provides stimulation to the hearing mechanism which produces more normal hearing after treatment.

The important factor for me that nothing 'nasty' or intrusive would be involved that would cause pain or discomfort!
The reviews I read on the results of AIT were astonishing and with its success rate being high (children were not 'cured' but were certainly more tolerant to noise) then I set about looking for a fully qualified practitioner :)

Tracy Alderman was recommended to me and after talking to her at length on the phone (and asking a billion questions about it!) I was eager to give it a go!

As a Mum to autism herself, Tracy totally got it! I can't tell you how reassuring that was! *huge big sigh of relief!*
Tracy was warm and welcoming and eager to help :)
The sessions were booked for 1 hour periods over ten days.
The treatment involved DS wearing headphone and listening to 'music' for the hour. I really didn't think he would do this but by day 2 he sat beautifully with them on most of the time!

What DS was really listening to was music with different frequencies to de-sensitize him. We knew when he had heard a frequency that he struggles with as he would take the headphones off and kick/hit out at us, but over the days this lessened which was a good sign that it was having a effect on his noise sensitivity issues! :)

Tracy was very informative and we completed daily tick sheets which monitored DS's behaviour and if there were any changes in it.

By day 2 there were already changes, DS becomes more affectionate all of sudden! Both Daddy and I noted it straight away and we love it!:)
DS also said a few new words and by day 5 he tolerated a noisy water park for a extra three hours than he normally would of done! We were gobsmacked!

Fast forward a few weeks to now DS's noise tolerance is still high up there which is brilliant as he is able to cope with play areas and such.
The first potential incident came shortly after completing the treatment.
We ere on the park when a child playing next DS screamed because she toppled over.The scream would have gone straight down his ear as he was that close to her (already I am there to re-direct him away) he just glanced at her and away again to carry on what he was doing! That would never had happened before AIT!
Several instances like this have happened since with absolutely no need to for me to intervene/do my ninja stuff! Amazing!

In my opinion AIT has worked wonders for DS and we will be returning to Tracy to work her magic for a 'top-up'

Here are her details if anyone wants to explore this wonderful treatment :)

*Please note I have received no payment to influence the content of this post, the opinions are all my own :)