Showing posts with label Mutism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mutism. Show all posts

Saturday 18 May 2013

Finished switching ears off!

I had another surprise a couple of days ago; I was standing with Monty outside the entrance to a very noisy ice-cream bar.  There were babies crying, a lady begging rather aggressively and an orderly queue to enter the shop.  Finally, the noise abated and I heard Monty say:-

“Finished switching ears off!”

Is there more to this than the emergence of spontaneous and appropriate speech?

Selective Hearing, Elective hearing and (S)elective mutism

I once did a course called Noise Control as part of my Engineering degree.  I recall that at the start of the course, the Professor confessed his desire to be able to turn his hearing on and off; clearly there were some noises he would prefer not to hear.

If you have children you will have discovered “selective hearing”; whenever you want them to come for a meal, they just do not seem to hear you.  If you offer ice cream though, they will hear the first time you call.

There is also the relatively common case of selective mutism, in people with anxiety disorders, they lose the ability to speak in stressful situations.

I think that many non-verbal autistic children probably have elective mutism; they just decide not to speak, or perhaps there is a barrier inside them that they just cannot get over.

Many people with autistic children initially go through a phase of thinking their child is deaf.  I know a child who lost his hearing and then a couple of years later regained it.  I met him just after his hearing was restored and I was convinced he had autism; he had all the characteristics.

Maybe some autistic children have elective deafness and/or elective mutism and perhaps a little pharmacological intervention could actually help them overcome this barrier?

For Monty, thankfully, these problems are in the past.  For him ABA and PECS did the job.