What is ASD?
According to Autism Spectrum Australia, autism is a life-long condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others, and experiences their environment. It is described as a ‘spectrum’ as every person with autism is different.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) develop at a different rate and do not necessarily develop skills in the same order as typically developing children. They can find it hard to pay attention to others, communicate, and understand other perspectives, all of which can affect their learning and development.
ASD and Hearing
Because autism affects each child differently, their ability to hear and process sounds can also vary significantly. Children with autism can have normal hearing, or they may have some degree of hearing impairment. Children with autism can also have intermittent hearing problems brought about by middle ear infections such as “glue ear”. A simple hearing assessment at Hear Check will establish the exact hearing abilities of your child easily and painlessly.
Children with ASD often have difficulty making sense or processing the sounds they are receiving. Sometimes a child can have normal hearing but not be able to process what they hear. This means that the pathway from the inner ear to the brain is not performing as well as it should compared to a child’s peers. This is known as an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).
There is much evidence in research literature that shows that auditory processing skills in children with ASD are generally lower than their age-related peers. This means that for children with ASD, when information is presented verbally or via sound, they find it harder to make sense of it and so are less likely to direct and sustain their attention towards the sound. If this is not understood and managed, this can lead to academic underachievement in children with ASD, and possibly aggravate other signs such as inattention, hyperactivity, oppositional behaviour, anxiety, and abnormal tolerance for noisy environments.
Hear Check Audiologists are experienced and recognised experts in Auditory Processing Assessment and in establishing the level of auditory processing skills in children with ASD. Our Audiologists provide parents, health professionals and educational professionals with the information needed to understand the complexity of your child’s everyday listening challenges to support their development and learning.
Technology can help children with ASD to support their processing of sound. This one of our key speciality areas at Hear Check. Assistive Listening Devices that include using a remote microphone worn by the person speaking, enables the speakers voice to be delivered clearly and directly into the child’s ears, filtering distracting background noise, even from a distance and enhancing focus on the intended sounds. Obviously applicable to an educational setting, this technology can be used anywhere – at home, school, extra-curricular activities, out with friends and in social settings.
As an evidence-based practice, we support and recommend the use of assistive technology for children with ASD. The benefits of these devices are well-researched and published in Australia and across the globe. Positive results have been well demonstrated, including speech perception and recognition in noise, classroom attentiveness, listening-related stress alleviation, social perception, and the processing of emotion via speech. As a result of using these devices, we have seen children with ASD increase their school and social participation, become more independent, and achieve their and their family’s goals.
Access and Funding for listening Technology for ASD
The provision of listening technology for children with ASD is not available through any state education department or Hearing Australia. The best way to access this technology is through our educational audiologists at Hear Check. The devices can also be funded through the NDIS.
Hear Check are the Auditory experts
At Hear Check, we can perform all the necessary assessments and documentation to support your NDIS application to show why this technology is both reasonable and necessary for your child. We can fit the device and support you and your educational setting to optimise its use.