Wahkiakum Autism Awareness donates sound canceling wireless headphones


December 1, 2022

In an effort to help students who suffer from sensory overload, the Wahkiakum Autism Awareness fund purchased and donated 12 sound canceling wireless headphones for use by special needs students within the Wahkiakum School District. Four were donated to J.A. Wendt Elementary School, while John C. Thomas Middle School also received four and Wahkiakum High School two. An additional two headsets were donated to Quest Academy in Longview which also serves Wakiakum students with special needs.

A large percentage of special needs students suffer from some form of sensory overload. Conditions associated with sensory overload include Autism, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), PTSD and Anxiety.

The wireless headphones work to block outside noise, reducing stimulation from the sound around them. They can also be used to play sounds via bluetooth that help students relax, while at the same time muting exterior noise.

According to webmd, "Sensory overload is when your five senses — sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste — take in more information than your brain can process. When your brain is overwhelmed by this input, it enters fight, flight, or freeze mode in response to what feels like a crisis, making you feel unsafe or even panicky."

Looking at the 2019 study "Effectiveness of Noise-Attenuating Headphones on Physiological Responses for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders" by the National Library of Medicine, "Many children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) have hypersensitivities to sound resulting in high levels of sympathetic nervous system reactivity, which is associated with problematic behaviors and distress. The findings of this study suggest that the use of noise attenuating headphones for individuals with ASD and hyperacusis may reduce sympathetic activation.

For more information or to get involved, visit the Wahkiakum Autism Awareness FB page or email info@autusmawaness@gmail.com.


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