When I first began looking for ways to help Helen, what I found most often was frustration. I didn’t need any more theories or therapies. I needed something, anything, to help with this day. To get through the grocery store, church, or (some days) breakfast. I felt like I woke up every morning facing some unknown Goliath with no tools to fight. I know there are other parents doing the same thing. So, we’ll be sharing what works for us…one trick at a time. I hope it helps.
First up: Headphones
Why: Ordinary noise can be overwhelming or even painful to Helen’s ears. Obviously, that can make leaving the house difficult. We combat this with her “headphones”.
What: These are actually Noise Reducing Ear Muffs used for hunting or target practice. They muffle noise, but conversation is still possible.
How: At first, I decided when Helen would wear them. I would tell her We’re going to xyz and it’s noisy. Your headphones will help the noise not hurt you ears. After this was familiar, I began asking her if she needed to wear them. Of course, there was a learning curve and we all paid for a less than ideal choice. Natural consequences, however, can be powerful teachers. Ultimately, she was able to use her headphones effectively. Since independence was the goal, the short-term price was worth it. She has been using these for nearly two years now.
Cons?: This pair is definitely conspicuous. Right now, Helen only cares that they’re pink. If that changes, so will we. I find that they signal to the adults around us that something is “off” or “different”. We tend to get much less judgement and much more patience from everyone.
Where to find: These can be found at sporting good stores. We found ours at Wal-Mart (please note that we live in the South and it was hunting season!). We use the Winchester brand in a ladies small. They began in price at around $10.
Best Wishes – Alan and Jennifer