Sounds and feelings

July 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm Leave a comment

Imagine the sound of your mother’s voice.   What does the sound of popcorn make you feel?

Think of the sound of nails on a chalkboard.

Each sound evokes feelings within us.  Sounds are more than just a noise to us.  Human beings make sense of our world from sound.  In fact, there are nerves in our ears which are connected to areas in our brains which involve memory, emotion, fear, and our basic alertness levels (among many others).  This is why we form feelings that are attached to sounds we hear.  What I find truly amazing is that our body remembers sounds to help us to determine if something is safe or dangerous and then our body reacts in response.  When the auditory system develops appropriately, we learn to make responses that fit the sounds we hear.

Remember that children with autism and with sensory integration/processing dysfunctions have difficulty with forming a response to something that they sense.  When some children with autism hear sounds, they form an association.  For most of our children with hearing sensitivity, a loud sound has produced a fear reaction or, “fight or flight” response.  That may be percieved as dangerous to them.  So many of my clients fear fire alarms because they are loud and are usually scary.  They have difficulty realizing that the fire alarm is meant to protect them.  The same can be said for any sound that may cause an inappropriate reaction for our children.  We must try to work with them via a social story, empathy, and understanding to create a new or more positive memory of sound.  Please share your stories of fear of sound and what techniques you’ve used.


Entry filed under: autism, Occupational Therapy, parents. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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