Why does sound annoy persons with Autism?



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Puppygnu
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04 Jan 2011, 10:55 pm

I have a 7 year old son with Autism. Why does sound irritate him so much? When the announcements come on in his school, he feels extremely upset. I hope that someone on this forum has a memory of being an Autistic 7 year old. I would appreciate any and all personal recollections.



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04 Jan 2011, 10:59 pm

Extreme hypersensitivity to noise.

I've got hypersensitivity to noise, touch, light, even seeing too much at once.

The younger and more severe the autism the worse hypersensitivity will be.

See, normally the sensory memory is very short and can decide what it important and what is not. The brain can filter out what is not important. In autism the sensory memory is longer and we cannot filter out anything. We get all the five main senses at once.


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Last edited by pensieve on 04 Jan 2011, 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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04 Jan 2011, 10:59 pm

I don't need to be 7. We are (or can be) just very sensitive to sensory stimulation, sounds, lights, touch. For some reason, our brains don't filter sensory information as well as a NT brain does. Everything seems very strong and overwhelming.


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Verdandi
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04 Jan 2011, 11:04 pm

The sense memory thing is interesting. I feel like noises keep lingering in my brain and bouncing off other noises and I never get a chance to recover and regain my equilibrium without finding relative silence.

Other senses do this too, but sound's on my mind due to all the noise recently.



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04 Jan 2011, 11:16 pm

The most likely explanation is that it hurts because his brain is processing it incorrectly.
If the announcements happen without warning, they could also be startling him badly. Being startled is hugely unpleasant for me- it makes me feel disoriented and detached from my body, and it gives feelings like lightning bolts through my head- it's possible that your son experiences something similar.

Quote:
In autism the sensory memory is longer and we cannot filter out anything.


Yep.
Go into an even moderately noisy room sometime and pay attention to everything.
It's unpleasant, isn't it?
This is what people with autism deal with all the time.
Now add unexpected new noises to that. Can you understand why it would be upsetting?


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quesonrias
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04 Jan 2011, 11:20 pm

For me, there is a physical sensation that is just way more than I can handle when noises are too loud. I can feel my ear drums vibrating rapidly, and it is very uncomfortable...


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04 Jan 2011, 11:34 pm

I am extremely sensitive in all of my senses although my visual and sound sensitivities are the worst usually. And I'm 30 years old. When I was 7, the sound of the school bell made me jump and scream.


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ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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04 Jan 2011, 11:42 pm

Puppygnu wrote:
I have a 7 year old son with Autism. Why does sound irritate him so much? When the announcements come on in his school, he feels extremely upset. I hope that someone on this forum has a memory of being an Autistic 7 year old. I would appreciate any and all personal recollections.

I mostly just held in my nervousness as a child. It was inward so no one saw me get upset at noise but I couldn't concentrate worth a darn. I have no idea why it bothers me. It used to mess with my concentration although I can type with the television on without any problem now.



Arminius
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05 Jan 2011, 12:15 am

His brain is having trouble blocking some sensory information that yours would shut out, so it hurts. Consider music instruction if that sounds interesting to him. There, his ears might be an advantage.



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05 Jan 2011, 12:40 am

Verdandi wrote:
The sense memory thing is interesting. I feel like noises keep lingering in my brain and bouncing off other noises and I never get a chance to recover and regain my equilibrium without finding relative silence.

Other senses do this too, but sound's on my mind due to all the noise recently.

One interesting thing I've also noticed is that when I burn myself I have little damage compared to an NT that burns themselves. Maybe we also experience sensations sooner than others?
I mean I have touched ovens, hot plates, clothing irons and caught a hair straightener in my hand when it was hot and barely suffered 1st degree burns.


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Puppygnu
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05 Jan 2011, 12:42 am

All of your responses were absolutely great!

My son's favorite class at school is music. Although we are a family with limited financial resources, I take him to piano lessons once a week. As you predicted, music is a strength for him.

Does the noise bother you in part because it causes you to forget what you were thinking about?

My other son who is NT would love nothing more than a noisy, colorful room with lots of new and unfamiliar faces. He is not half as smart as my highly intelligent autistic kid. There is very little going on in his 4 year old brain to cause him to feel distracted.



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05 Jan 2011, 12:45 am

Usually it stops me from thinking. I'm incapable of thinking around noise. Can't read either. I had to literally leave my room when my mum was on the computer and talking to herself.
I politely told her why I had to leave though.


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05 Jan 2011, 12:51 am

It could be the volume, suddenness, or the quality of the sound. Also, if he's already on the edge due to other things, like the lighting or tags in his shirt and such, the announcement could be the thing that finally sends him completely over the edge. So, it might not just be the announcement.

At that age I remember trying to "steel" myself against such stuff, and I could to a point. But it was like holding up a lot of weight over my head, and then one more thing would land on the pile and it then would all suddenly come down.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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05 Jan 2011, 12:52 am

Puppygnu wrote:
Does the noise bother you in part because it causes you to forget what you were thinking about?

It made me lose my place whilst reading something or it took my attention away from what I am doing. I get a tense feeling throughout my body when I try to ignore it and concentrate anyway, or I used to. My hyperfocusing has reached the point these days I can tune out nearly every sound and not even hear it while I am doing something else, like typing. When I first started typing, I was awful and I got that terrible tension. Sound made it worse. Hyperfocusing is easiest at home.
Sometimes, if I am typing on a computer at someone else's house, it still happens when people are in the room having a conversation.



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05 Jan 2011, 12:55 am

Quote:
Does the noise bother you in part because it causes you to forget what you were thinking about?


Some noises can do that to me. It feels like my brain goes completely blank for a moment, and it's difficult to get my train of thought back on track.


_________________
Music Theory 101: Cadences.
Authentic cadence: V-I
Plagal cadence: IV-I
Deceptive cadence: V- ANYTHING BUT I ! !! !
Beethoven cadence: V-I-V-I-V-V-V-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I
-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I! I! I! I I I


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