ASD & Sensory Sensitivity

Unhappy boy with fingers in his ears as loud noises sound in the background
Unhappy boy with fingers in his ears as loud noises sound in the background

Does this image look familiar?

Autism and Sensory Sensitivity.

Autism and sensory sensitivity – the Fourth of July is upon us, and here in the United States, that means FIREWORKS! Lots and lots of loud noises. While many in this country associate this practice with celebration itself, for those in the Autism community with auditory sensitivity, it can be devastating. In fact, in the Simons Simplex Collection autism research project, the researchers found that 65% of autistic people in their study were sensitive to sound.

Planning, if possible

The good news is, many times these loud noises are anticipated. A local fireworks display is of course scheduled and can be avoided. And as with all things Autism, these issues cover a spectrum and are unique to the individual. So, while some with auditory sensitivity can still enjoy the visuals of a fireworks display as long as they are donning a set of earplugs, have headphones on, are listening to the radio – as a version of sound therapy – for others, being around fireworks is simply a hard no.

And what about the neighbor down the road that decides to shoot off fireworks randomly two nights later?

For one of our Rootines team members, this issue hits close to home.

“My son has an aversion to loud noises when they aren’t welcome (sometimes he’s fine if it’s expected). He’s learned to manage it for the most part, but there are still times that it’s rough for him.”

Rootines Team Member

For some, practicing coping mechanisms – whatever they may be for the individual – is essential. Whether removal from the physical area, putting on ear protection or deep breathing, some autistic people can manage through it as our team member’s son has practiced.

Autism Sensory Sensitivity Advocacy and Education

But for others, sudden loud noises can be cause for instant meltdown. Even the best efforts to anticipate what might happen in our environment, sometimes things are simply out of our control and we are left to react to whatever the implications may be. Advocacy and education can certainly help. Suppose the neighborhood understands that someone in their midst has auditory sensitivity. In that case, there’s a chance they might be thoughtful enough to give everyone a heads up before igniting that last “grand finale” firecracker in their collection.

Check for Resources

We found this article with a handful of helpful hints: https://www.bhwcares.com/fireworks/ – Check it out!

But what we want to know is… what do you do? Have you come up with creative solutions that work for you? Please share them in the comments! You may give someone else new tools to help manage through this holiday weekend!

Rootines… A digital notebook for autism is in the app store now. Visit our website at https://www.rootines.app/ or read our last blog post at https://blog.asd.ai/https-www-rootines-app-features/ to learn more!

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