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Two Autistics’ Experiences With Low-Gain Hearing Aids For Auditory Processing Problems

Photo courtesy Naomi M. [image: Photo of a pair of blue insertable low-gain hearing aids  lying on a dark brown wood-grain surface.] Naomi M. and endever* anotherqueerautistic.wordpress.com Summary/tl;dr Specially programmed low-gain hearing aids can help people with auditory processing problems, even when they don’t have other difficulty hearing. They work by enhancing the sounds that help people understand spoken words. They can also make sounds less painful. Auditory processing problems make it difficult to understand spoken words, especially when there’s background noise. It’s like your brain has difficulty hearing correctly. Many autistic people have auditory processing problems, as do some non-autistic people. The authors of this post both tried specially programmed hearing aids to help with auditory processing issues and with sound sensitivity. We have found them life-changing. In this post, we give background on auditory processing issues and hearing aids, and also share our personal experiences. Important Note This…

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Headphones As Accommodations: My Letter to Bose

Photo: Rafiq Sarlie. Creative Commons license. [Image: Headshot of olive-skinned man with eyes closed, seen from the side, wearing a dark knitted cap and blue headphones.] TPGA is observing Autism Acceptance Month by featuring accounts from autistic people about the differences accommodations (or lack thereof) make in their lives. Today’s story is from Tito Martin-Nemtin, about the difference his noise-cancelling headphones make in his ability to simply be in the outside world, without being completely overwhelmed. This is also Martin-Nemtin’s first foray into public writing. Tito Martin-Nemtin Every time I think about my noise-cancelling headphones, I consider sending Bose a letter. The closest I come to sending that letter is after I call Bose about a problem with my headphones — ideally, before the year-long warranty on them expires. I call when their internal technology breaks down, causing feedback in one of the ears; or a loosening in the plastic…

Too Noisy

TPGA is observing Autism Acceptance Month by featuring accounts from autistic people about the differences accommodations (or lack thereof) make in their lives. Today’s story is from Kathryn Hedges, about how noisy environments can disrupt her ability to process and function. Kathryn Hedges www.khedges.com I don’t fit the autistic stereotypes people learn from “autism awareness” campaigns: I’m an adult female who can converse with you (most of the time) and live independently with fewer supports than the average non-autistic person. (At least based on the number of times a week people tell me their friends or family did XYZ for them so why don’t I ask mine for help.) I’ve worked hard as an adult to learn social skills, which helps hide my autism and give me a veneer of “high functioning” over my interior “low functioning” with sensory issues and emotional regulation. One of the most disabling aspects of…

Autistics, Media, and Misrepresentation

Paula Durbin-Westby is an Autistic advocate and an autism parent. She and her son recently appeared in the PBS P.O.V. documentary Neurotypical, a film meant to challenge public perceptions of Autistic people as well as allow Autistics to represent themselves. Paula’s portrayal in the final version of the film, however, was not at all what she was expecting. We talked with her about the distress of being publicly misrepresented as an Autistic, as well as her recommendations for filmmakers and other media types hoping to accurately portray Autistic experiences. What was your goal in agreeing to be interviewed for Neurotypical? My point was to counter pernicious media assertions that Autistics (and other people with neurobiological disabilities) are incapable of parenting and relationships. Unfortunately, I think the film’s portrayal of me has actually reinforced some of those assertions.  I don’t have any problem with being shown as disabled, or as Autistic.…

(Not) a Little Slow

Cynthia Kim musingsofanaspie.com There is a moment I dread in conversations with strangers: the moment when that stranger — that person I’ve been talking to for a minute or two or five — decides I’m “a little slow.” It doesn’t happen with every stranger, but it happens often enough that I can pinpoint the moment a conversation turns. To start, we’re both on our best interacting-with-a-stranger behavior, a bit wary, a bit too friendly, whatever. Then I slip. I miss some key bit of information, ask the other person to repeat something one too many times, stutter, backtrack, repeat myself, interrupt again, lose the thread of the conversation, take a joke literally, perseverate. There are a lot of ways it could play out. The response — the one that makes my skin heat up and my heart race and the blood in my ears pound — is subtle but sudden.…