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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tears for Ears.

Almost every parent story about the journey to diagnosis of ASD for their child involves a hearing test. And so does Harri's. The primary explanation for this being the childs confounding (Pre diagnosis anyway) reaction to their name being called. Or should I say inaction. When you call out to an ASD child using their name they do not respond. Not because they cannot hear you, but perhaps because they don't realise it is them you are speaking to. For some reason they can't make the same connection that to us NT's (Nuerotypicals) comes instinctively. Someone calls out we tend to look even if it is not our name we hear.

When we took Harri to a Speech Pathologist due to his delayed talking her instinct after 5 minutes suggested Glue Ear. We were thrilled with this diagnosis. It immediately banished fears of Autism. Painful ears explained the constant whinging, the broken nights, ear tugging, the delayed speech. We went immediately to a surgery specialising in ear issues with an instrument called a TEMP. This device can determine movement of the eardrum thereby possible hearing issues. Harri did indeed have some stiffness and it is suspected that he has had Glue Ear for quite some time. It can be difficult to diagnose as it is a fluctuating illness, and therefore easily missed.

I should add that we have taken Harri to the local Drs many times to check for an ear infection as he often tugs and bangs his ears. Nothing was ever detected.

Harri was referred to a ENT specialist to get a better indication of what may be going on in his earways. Hs hearing was tested, and of course it was perfect. The kid can hear a plane coming a second or two before I can. Like most ASD kids, he has sensitive hearing. He referred to the vacuum cleaner as the 'Noisy', and took a little while to overcome his fear of it. Which reminds me of the time when he was only about 3 months old. In desperation to help him fall asleep independent of me during the day I tried the noise theory. As some mums claim the sound of the washing machine or vacuum cleaner works to soothe their children to sleep. I put Harri in his rocker, he started crying, I turned on the vacuum, and a minute later he was sleeping. This wonderful outcome was never to be repeated, in fact he cried inconsolably each time I tried to replicate the initial response. Perhaps the first time he hadn't been asleep but had from fainted from the shock.

So it turns out our little guy has both ASD and some Glue Ear which makes it remarkable he has as much speech as he does. And much to our relief since a course of anti biotics he has slept much better, both day and night. So even though the ear focus was a detour on the way to the ASD diagnosis it has helped him, and us.

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