Monday, January 6, 2014

When Vacuum is Spelled C.A.L.M.

I used to dread asking Zak to vacuum.

It wasn't only that he tended to miss a lot. This I expect, and can tolerate as he learns. But rather it was the noise that drove us all up the wall.

Not the sound of the vacuum, which is loud enough mind you. But the entire time that the thing was running, Zak would be singing or talking as loudly as he could in a chipmunk voice. 

The entire time!!

Then when summer hit. I noticed that he did the same thing when the mower was running as he cut the grass.


I at first had thought that, being the seeker he is, he was trying to fill some sensory need. 

But as I observed him, I noticed more of a pattern. So then I recorded him and began to study his behavior closer. I then remembered something I had read and went back to look up more info on it. And found confirmation of my suspicions. 

He is actually extremely oversensitive to very loud sounds and he was attempting to cope by trying to make enough of his own noise to drown it out. He does this without even being aware of his sensitivity or his attempts to compensate.

So when I could, I ordered several pairs of full head phones.

The other day I asked him to vacuum. I told him to put the head phones on and find something on his phone that he likes listening to. He looked at me funny, but he did it anyway.

As he listened to music from Super Mario Bros., he vacuumed for the first time ever without making any sound with his mouth! And on top of that, his focus and attention to the job was immensely better, so he did a fantastic job! He was quiet and focused, so all the rest of us could keep on task and also stay clam and focused. Whew!

I wish I had realized this or been told this a long time ago. We could have made so many situations more comfortable for all of us. But at least we have learned, and now things can proceed much calmer than ever before. Hooray!

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