Because every child deserves the opportunity to listen. A child’s ability to clearly hear the voices of parents, caregivers, and teachers is a key component of their learning and development. Listening difficulties are common in autistic children. Children with listening difficulties can find it hard to follow directions and pay attention to auditory stimuli such as their teacher's voice. They may be unresponsive and struggle to pay attention to a target speaker. Responsiveness and auditory attention are two of the most significant predictors of educational performance.¹
An experienced paediatric Audiologist will conduct a thorough assessment of your child’s hearing and listening skills. The assessment is conducted during a 1.5 hour appointment and involves a range of listening activities that your child will need to complete under headphones. To be able to participate in the assessment, your child will need to be at least four years of age and verbal.
Once the auditory assessment is complete, support options are recommended based on your child’s presenting concerns. Recommendations may include a free 6-week trial of Phonak remote microphone technology and/or auditory training. If your child is not able to participate in the assessment, you are still able to book an appointment and potentially trial the Phonak remote microphone technology.
Please note: Telehealth appointments are also available if you cannot make it into the clinic.
Click below for more information about the telehealth appointments and frequently asked questions.
Nick has been using the device and the teacher still says it makes such a difference. He is able to give encouragement, redirection and remain a calm voice as he knows Nick can hear what he is saying. The teacher also says it is a clear indicator of behaviour and frustration change when he takes it out. It provides him seconds worth of warning before they can expect Nick to run out of the classroom. Which after running away 9 times from the classroom mid March to end of April is vital information for safety reasons. Thank you so much for bringing this to the community. - Nick, 6 years old
Roger Focus is an easy-to-use listening solution that sends the caregiver's, instructor's, or teacher's voice directly into your child’s ear(s). This approach reduces the negative effects of distracting background noise, distance, and reverberation, allowing your child to process the words of the speaker better. Recent research conducted at The University of Melbourne and University of North Texas has found that speech recognition in noise improved significantly (> 20%) in children with ASD wearing remote-microphone technology (RMT) compared to performance with no technology.4,6 Positive results have been demonstrated across a range of measures including speech perception in noise, listening challenges in the classroom, and listening-related stress.2-6
The auditory training programs recommended by our clinic are designed to be completed from home on a tablet using headphones. Auditory training usually involves your child completing around two 15-minute training games per week for 8-12 weeks. The games are designed to incrementally improve listening skills with progression through the training. Depending on the auditory training program that is recommended to best support your child, the cost can vary from $200-$300. At the conclusion of auditory training, your child would be reviewed by the Audiologist who they were initially assessed by. The University of North Texas has evaluated the effects of auditory training on listening ability in autistic children. Significant improvements were reported following the completion of an auditory training program in children demonstrating listening difficulties.
1 Ashburner et al. (2008). Sensory processing and classroom emotional, behavioral, and educational outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 564–73.
2 Alcántara et al. (2004). Speech-in-noise perception in high-functioning individuals with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 1107–14.
3 Rance et al., (2014). The use of listening devices to ameliorate auditory deficit in children with autism. The Journal of Pediatrics, 164(2), 352–57.
4 Rance, G.et al. (2017). Reducing listening-related stress in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 47(7), 2010-2022.
5 Schafer, E. C. et al. (2016). Assistive technology evaluations: Remote-microphone technology for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of communication disorders, 64, 1-17.
6 Schafer et al. (2019). Effects of Auditory Training on Electrophysiological Measures in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 30(5), 431-43.