Letter: Helping children with autism

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I see autistic kids around town with their fingers stuck in their ears to block out noise that they are intolerant of because they are autistic.

What they really need are a pair of earplugs or noise-reduction earmuffs so they can remove their fingers from their ears in order to free up their hands so they have use of them.

Alas! Because they are autistic, their skin is supersensitive to contact and to touch and, unfortunately for them, they cannot tolerate earplugs in their ears or noise-reduction earmuffs covering their ears and pressing down on their ears.

Also, unfortunately, autistic kids should not be given earplugs because they might get stuck in their ears or swallowed and get lodged in their throat or cause an intestinal blockage.

So the million-dollar question is: How can we help autistic kids who cannot tolerate noise and who are tortured and tormented by noise and who lose all functioning in a noisy environment?

We need to find the answer or solution to this question so that these autistic kids will stop being tortured and tormented by noise.

One thing we can try is to explain that it’s a trade-off. And that they should be willing to tolerate the discomfort caused by wearing earplugs and noise-reduction earmuffs for the relief from noise that they provide.

We should also make free earplugs and free noise-reduction earmuffs available to autistic children whose families are too poor to supply them with noise-reduction products.

We make free tampons available to poor girls and poor women who otherwise cannot afford to buy feminine hygiene products. And we likewise should make free noise-reduction products available to children on the autism spectrum!

― Richard Pope

Editor’s note: Xpress contacted FIRST Resource Center, a local organization whose website notes that it “connects persons with disabilities and their families with the resources they need to thrive in the community,” which includes autism resources for parents in the Asheville area. Although FIRST’s Melissa Parker says the organization doesn’t have any headphones on hand, the group may be able to offer assistance on how to get them. FIRST can be reached at 828-277-1215 or via its website at firstwnc.org. Also, H. Michele Louzon, executive director of Arms Around ASD, a local resource center providing therapies for people on the autism spectrum and their families, notes that the WNC Nature Center offers sensory kits (including noise-canceling headphones) to use while at the center, and low-cost headphones can also be found via Harbor Freight.


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One thought on “Letter: Helping children with autism

  1. North Asheville

    Praise to Mountain Xpress for not only publishing letters calling attention to local problems but then taking action to address the issues raised. Most newspapers do not go this extra mile.

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