Sunday, February 21, 2016

Preparing Students with Autism for Audiological Exams

An article in Seminars in Speech and Language provides several strategies for preparing children with autism for an audiologic behavioral examination. The exam determines whether any signs of unresponsiveness by the child are due to the autism, or whether they may be due to the child's hearing problem. The report also points out that hearing loss is significantly greater among children with ASD as compared to their typically-developing peers. Because the rate of ASD is nearly 7% among eight-year-old children who are diagnosed as deaf or hard-of-hearing, it is important for these children to be evaluated as early as possible in order to facilitate early intervention. 

Because many of these hearing tests will be unfamiliar and may lead to anxiety, strategies are described to help these children participate in listening and speech imitation tasks. Some of the suggestions include showing pictures and/or videos of the assessments, such as a photo of the practitioner who will be examining the child. In addition, children should practice wearing headphones to familiarize them with the sensory experience.