We were just about to walk into a tube station in London and Lucas asked us for his ear defenders – he calls them headphones.

This simple request from Lucas marked a significant milestone for us. It meant he was taking charge of his own comfort and well-being in a world that often feels too loud and overwhelming. It’s moments like these that remind us of the power of understanding and embracing the needs of our loved ones on the spectrum.

Our life savers

In our arsenal, we have two trusty pairs of ear defenders – one tucked away in Lucas’ backpack, a constant companion, and the other stashed in the car for those unexpected moments. I recently tried them on and was amazed at how effectively they drown out the noise.

Finding Solace in Unexpected Places

  • Public Toilets: When Lucas was younger, we underestimated his sensitivity to the incredibly loud hand dryers in public restrooms. Those experiences left him fearful, making a simple task daunting. Now, we’ve found a compromise. We slip on the ear defenders, seek out the accessible restroom, and reassure him that the hand dryer will remain off. It’s a pact of trust that allows us to do what we need to do.
  • Train stations: As we near the platform before boarding a train, we always make sure Lucas has his ear defenders to hand. Trains can come to screeching stops, and the bustling London Underground can be overwhelming with its constant flow of people and loud tube trains.
  • Theatre Shows: For some reason, Lucas associates theatre shows with overwhelming input. While cinemas can be just as loud, which he is fine with, there’s a real apprehension here. During a recent family holiday, we managed to strike a compromise – ear defenders on, and we ventured into the theatre together. It was a small victory for us all.

Conquering Concerns

I’ve grappled with concerns about whether the ear defenders draw undue attention to Lucas. Will people see him differently? But I’ve come to realize that this is part of my own journey and it’s my own issue. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other people think. What truly matters is Lucas’ comfort and confidence. If this simple tool brings him peace, then it’s a win.

A Growing Wave of Understanding

I’ve noticed a heartening trend – more and more children are using ear defenders. It’s a testament to the changing tide of awareness and inclusivity. Our world isn’t always tailored to neurodiversity, but there’s progress. Supermarkets now offer quieter hours, and venues are hosting SEN sessions, fostering an environment of understanding.

Your Story Matters

Does your family use ear defenders? I’d love to hear about your experiences – where and when they’ve been a game-changer for you. Every family’s journey is unique, and we all learn from one another. Please share in the comments below. 

Here to help

If you’re facing any challenges with your family on the spectrum, remember, you’re not alone. Feel free to book a complimentary discovery session with me. Together, we’ll navigate this path with more ease.

Wishing you a week filled with the tranquility of ear defenders 🙂

You can find other blog posts for Families on the Spectrum here.