Our world is a loud and colorful place filled with sounds, sights, and smells. While some people thrive in this environment, others find it difficult to navigate. Sometimes, a particular sensation, smell, or noise can be overstimulating. This experience is not unfamiliar to a young boy in Collinsville, Queensland (Australia). Luckily, Random Acts Fundraising Assistant Beverley Burrows-Pym had a great idea of how to help support this boy.
Too Much Noise
Beverley is a Special Needs Teacher who lives in Collinsville, Queensland. Recently, she noticed a boy in her community who would barely attend any functions and who would walk around covering his ears with his hands. The boy is on the autism spectrum and a relative of one of the children Beverley supports. The crowd and the noise seemed to be too loud and too busy for him to feel comfortable. But Beverley just had the idea of what might help the boy to feel calmer: headphones!
The Right Sound Against too much Sound
According to studies, wearing headphones can be a great help to people, and especially kids, on the autism spectrum. For a scientific study, twenty-one children, aged 4-16 years, were asked to wear headphones for two weeks. During this period, parents and teachers kept a close eye on the kids and behaviors that were related to their reaction to auditory stimuli. The results showed that the headphones did indeed help the children to cope better with unpleasant auditory stimuli.
Beverley also had a chat with an older member of the autistic community who told her that he sleeps better with headphones playing white noise. The distraction from a source of anxiety can help a person to calm down and handle situations better.
The Perfect Playlist
Beverley set her plan in motion and met with the boy from her community. First, they chose an MP3 player and went on a quest for the perfect and most comfortable style of headphones. The only thing missing was the music. Beverley helped the boy choose songs and pieces for the playlists, which they later uploaded to the MP3 player.
The Headphones in Action
Over the years, Beverley has noticed that autistic children tend to come out of their shell when they can cope better with external factors. Beverley was happy to see this change in the boy as well. He started trying out his headphones at a few small events. After a while, the boy attended two events that he previously wouldn’t have gone to; a family dinner in a restaurant and a school year group assembly. Wearing his headphones is helping him to keep calmer, think clearer, and employ other strategies.
The boy’s parents expressed their gratitude to Beverley because these headphones helped their child feel more comfortable and join in on family activities. Seeing the boy later in the community, sporting his headphones, warmed Beverley’s heart because she knew she made a difference in this boy’s life.