J has an auditory sensitivity due to his SPD. Earlier this week, I purchased J a set of earmuff/headphones from the hunting department at a local Wal-Mart. It was a recommendation and as I’m still navigating my way through the millions of tips on how to treat some of my son’s quirks, I certainly didn’t want to commit to a $75 pair of headphones if the $25 pair would do the same job. J tried them on at the store and thought they were real cool. He wore them around as we walked around the store and the fear set in as I realized this might be a mistake. It was a little uncomfortable for me, but J didn’t notice so I tried the best I could to ignore the looks too.
On Sunday, we tested the headphones out for the first time when we went to go see Cars 2. I carried them in my purse and as the trailers began, J calmly requested to put them on. He did so (on his own) and about half-way through the movie, took them off. During the second half I saw him momentarily cover his ears with his hands once or twice, but never for more than a few seconds. After the movie was over, he mentioned that he really liked them and was happy that his “ears didn’t hurt at the movie!” He was proud and so was I.
Today was the BIGGER test: we brought J’s headphones to school. I put them in his cubbie and explained to him that they should only be used during circle time as that is when his teacher stated he has the most difficulty. I tried to stress that they weren’t to play with, but I wasn’t holding my breath. J is 4 years old and often tries to be the class clown to adapt to the laughs he gets if he falls out of a chair or runs into a wall due to his lack of vestibular coordination. My fear was that he would bring out the headphones and the children would laugh at him. I figured he would either feel embarrassed or he would look at this potential solution as a joke.
I could not have been any happier to be wrong. Not only did the children not even mention the temporary headgear, he retrieved them at the precise moment he knew he would need them (during a particularly loud song) and when he no longer needed them, returned them to his cubbie. The best part? Day after day, I get a progress report from his teacher detailing his behavior and what he achieved that day. I quit reading the “Circle Time” section anymore since the constant reminder that he “needs to participate and keep his hands to himself” was beginning to sound redundant. Today, however? There was a star. No words. Just a star. That star might as well have fallen from the heavens. The elation I felt and the emotion tugging at me as his teacher explained what had happened during circle time that day was incredible. The $25 gamble was now priceless for that moment. Progress is something you can’t put a price on and even if the headphones fail to work every day after today, the victory he and I both felt will never go away.