According to the Gallaudet Research Institute, 40 percent of newborn children diagnosed with hearing loss develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The prevalence of ASD on deaf children or those who have complete hearing loss is one in every 59. This is a huge number and can be quite alarming. That’s why we need to understand better what it is and how it will affect our child’s overall health.
ASD is a complex developmental disorder that manifests during a child’s early life. It affects a child’s ability to communicate, and until now, there is no known cure to ASD. A child can never outgrow it. Nevertheless, if this is diagnosed early, an intervention can occur and help the child function as normally as possible.
A newborn hearing test can reveal if your child has hearing problems. Hearing problems are usually the precursor to ASD. As mentioned in the statistics above, those who were diagnosed with hearing loss can develop ASD very shortly. That’s why it’s essential to have an earlier diagnosis to mitigate the difficulties caused by autism and make life more bearable for the affected child.
Signs of Autism
The Autism Society has identified the signs that you can look for to be able to tell if your child has autism or not.
- Delay in or total absence of spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and motor mannerisms
- General disinterest to make friends with other kids or with other people
- Does not make eye contact
- Cannot handle spontaneous or imaginative play
- Fixation on specific objects
If these signs manifest in your child, contact your physician right away. He or she will refer you to a specialist who will set up individually-designed evaluations to diagnose ASD.
Autism and Hearing Loss Go Together
It’s essential to understand how autism affects the child’s ability to hear and process sounds. That’s because not all cases are the same. There are children with ASD but have no auditory problems whatsoever. Some children with ASD may have mild, moderate, or significant hearing loss. The good news is this can be corrected with the right hearing aids. The majority of these children may have developed auditory processing disorder or APD, which is a brain nerve dysfunction. This makes it difficult for the child to make sense of what people are telling them.
This is why you must seek the help of an audiologist or an ASD specialist so you can adequately address the challenges that are before your child. These professionals will suggest strategies to help your child cope. These strategies include the following:
- Use of hearing aids and other amplifying devices
- Use of ALDs or assistive learning devices
- Multiple training in hearing and speaking
- Musical training
Children with ASD cannot tune in to the sound wave that healthy children can hear. Suffice it to say, they require special attention because of their sound sensitivity.
How to Find Help
The medical community is still looking for solutions to this disorder. As mentioned above, there is no cure to reverse autism yet. There are many ways, however, to make life bearable for children with ASD, and that’s what we should focus upon. If you suspect your child to have ASD, contact a specialist right away. Make an appointment. There are treatments and options unique for every child, and only the specialist can figure that out.
If you’re looking for an audiologist in Langley to assist with your loved one’s loss of hearing, get in touch with Fraser Valley Beltone to see how we can help!