Part two in our four part Autism Diary series
Read Part One
For some days, H.V. has been getting out of his seat and running through to the toilets across the corridor, turning on all the taps and putting his hands under the water, squealing with what seems like excitement and has to be brought back to the classroom. This is getting to be very disruptive to the whole class. Teacher is trying H.V. in a different seat arrangement with closer attention from the shared Teaching Assistant and shorter activities.
Assemblies and larger gatherings are beginning to become problematic. H.V. seems to get agitated, putting his hands over his ears and beginning to rock. This morning for the first time he got up and tried to get out of the hall which is new for him. Break supervisors report some similar responses now and again when noisy games and lots of running around are happening.
Young children like to explore sensory experiences and can be fascinated with certain things. Those with autism are no different, although they can be become fixated on some things such as H.V. seemed to be with running water. Children learn appropriate social responses and to control their impulses, however, children with autism need structured support to learn these rules. Sensory overload is a common occurrence in children and young people with autism. Some children also develop what is called Hyperacusis, a heightened sensitivity to noise at certain frequencies, not just sensitivity to the noise level in decibels. The anticipation of an event such as noise overload in regular gatherings like assemblies can begin to be associated with discomfort, which in turn produces anxiety and stress.
Alastair Fielden is our Education Consultant with over 20 years experience in SEND Education and assistive technologies.