Tucker does not have a hearing problem. He can hear just fine…but there are days it may not seem that way. This is due to the Auditory Dysfunction that many children on the spectrum experience.
Tucker is unique in that he is both hyper and hypo sensitive to sound. For today though? A story about hypersensitivity to sound. This means that he ‘under-registers’ what is heard. From: http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html
_x_ often does not respond to verbal cues or to name being called
At the top of the stairs, “Tucker.”
Walk down the stairs, “Tucker.”
Walk into his room. “Tucker.”
Sit by him, touch his shoulder, “Tucker.”
While most parents believe their children have selective hearing, children on the spectrum most certainly do. Sure, it’s part of the sensory issues. I also happen to believe it’s because of their intense focus on whatever they are doing.
Let me set a scene. I am in the middle of grading a 10 page paper. The grading is intense because it is a final grade and the paper instructions were quite detailed. I need to concentrate to do a good job. I may hear someone call my name, but in more likeliness…I would not.
Because I am so focused.
I happen to believe this ultra-focus is to ‘blame’ for some of the auditory dysfunction. Just because we don’t think Pokemon, the latest YouTube video sensation, or checking fantasy football scores and updates are extremely important, they are. At least to the child engaged in the activity.
I often think understanding these sweet children really involves changing our expectations to understand the world from their point of view.
I don’t stop reading or viewing something until I am ready. Yet, we often expect our children to simply stop when we tell them. I’ve had people say to me (please repeat in your best curmudgeon-like voice), “Well kids should just come when we call for them.” Okay, maybe. I don’t like it when people yell for me either. I don’t know about all of you – but when someone interrupts my reading or watching something I have a difficult time changing my focus.
These children (and, I would argue, many others) become so focused on whatever task they are working on that they often don’t consider the outside world. If you are part of the outside world trying to get into their world, take the step into their space.
That’s what I have learned to do. I rarely ‘yell’ for Tucker from the top of the stairs anymore. Instead, I take the time to walk down those stairs, go to his room, enter his world, put my hand on his shoulder, and gently say, “Tucker.” You know what happens? He always responds.
It seems to me that action is MUCH easier than a 5-minute battle…that simple action takes 90 seconds with a better, no frustration result.
In retrospect – shouldn’t we all do this? Isn’t it just ‘good manners’ to gain someone’s attention by going to them instead of yelling and expecting them to comply and come to you?
I tend to think so…
Thank you, Tucker – for once again holding me to a higher standard.