Monday, March 11, 2013


Sophia used to be unresponsive to her name and was presumed deaf. I knew for a fact that she's not because she always reacted upon hearing her favorite songs or when her favorite show's on. I have observed that she had been exhibiting selective hearing. Her developmental doctor advised getting a hearing test, just to be sure. The test came out negative, which meant my daughter's ears are perfectly fine. We ruled deafness out. We came to understand it's her condition that's affecting her ability to hear us, or to not hear us.

Over the months, as she continues with therapy, she has learned how to respond to her name. She now looks up from whatever she is doing or turns to the person calling her almost immediately. It's easier to talk to her now that she is paying attention. Although she doesn't answer or show any sign that she understands what's being told to her, at least she is now trying to focus on the speaker.

When people talk to Sophia, she pays attention to the speaker's mouth. Autists are visually oriented; they understand more through their eyes than their ears. I remember jotting myself a note to not just talk to her but to show her what I mean, that way, she would comprehend easier.

Today, I saw Sophia cover her ears on more than five occasions. It's probably two years ago when I first saw her cover her ears, and it was a cause of concern back then, since she seemed to be doing it even in the absence of noise. Since then, I have observed her doing it more than once each day. Her therapists were able to explain that it's an eccentricity that can be attributed to her condition. After some painstaking attempts at researching about her condition, I have come to understand that in her case, her senses are heightened and easily triggered.

Too noisy, baby?

Some well-known high-functioning Autists are able to label it as "Sensory Overloading". As they say, when there is too much input, they get confused and disoriented. Either they have to create an output (by covering ears, by rocking back and forth, by clapping their hands) or sometimes, they tend to hurt themselves to create another input so that there is a new feeling. It's not that easy for me to explain because I have not felt it myself, so I rarely try to offer the information to others when they ask about my child's unusual habit of covering her ears.

This afternoon, in an attempt to look for articles that might help me help Sophia, I stumbled across this amazing animated video on Vimeo. This video's created by Miguel Jiron for the "Interacting with Autism Project". It was overwhelming when I first watched it, but I felt closer to understanding how Sophia is feeling at times.

This is a feel of what sensory overload is. Two minutes in the shoes of a person with Autism.

Two minutes in my Sophia's shoes.

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