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Early Childhood Intervention

Introducing Music 2 My Ears Hearing/Screening Kit

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Autistic and Special Needs Children

…..and those beyond 2 years of age

The “Music 2 My Ears” Hearing/Screening System, although primarily designed for infants and children from newborn to 2 years of age, has been found to be very adaptable to screening older toddlers and preschool children.  It has also been used with positive results in screening for hearing loss in children suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder and those with other developmental disabilities of any age.

For additional information about diagnostic challenges of dual disorders (autism along with sight and hearing losses) see the following resource.

http://www.autism-society.org/about-autism/diagnosis/autism-and-sight-or-hearing-loss-2nd-ed-2006.pdf

“Music 2 My Ears” Hearing/Screening System can be an additional tool for cursory hearing/screening in an autism spectrum disorder assessment program.  It is not diagnostic and should only be used in the overall observation of a child’s hearing behavior and as one component of the larger assessment program.  It is not diagnostic for severe hearing impairment, but only detects mild to moderate hearing loss.  It is considered beneficial in screening children who may have an autism spectrum disorder in that the screener does not need to physically touch the child being screened, which might cause an under or over-sensory response and thus render the results ineffective.  Not all children suspected of an autism spectrum disorder will respond to “Music 2 My Ears” with the normal expected responses as detailed in the manual.  As one goes through the screening process, as described in the manual, make detailed notes of the responses observed so that the information can be included and considered in the overall assessment.

 

Basic screening with Sound-Makers

There are many ways to vary the technique when screening children who are beyond two years or have special needs.  Making it a game is one.  Using different distraction techniques is another.  Reasoning with the child if he/she is older is yet another.

“Music 2 My Ears” Hearing/Screening Manual discusses the basic screening techniques necessary for accurate results.  The same general techniques apply to screening children who are older than 2 years of age; however, slightly adjusting the procedure to match the age and/or condition of the child will make the results just as accurate.  Keep in mind that “Music 2 My Ears” is a screening tool only.  It is not diagnostic.  It does not take the place of more technically advanced diagnostic equipment, but is a very important tool when screening is needed without the use of intrusive techniques.  It is important to become as proficient and flexible as possible with adapting the procedure to the special needs of the child and interpreting each child’s response accurately.  This is to avoid false readings, or to avoid an unacceptable high number of invalid referrals.

“Music 2 My Ears” is as dependable in detecting mild to moderate hearing loss for children over 2 years of age as it is for those from newborn to 2 years of age, with the exception, as mentioned above, in screening children who may have an autism spectrum disorder.  It was originally designed for those who were not yet able to listen and respond to pure tone sounds through earphones.  Screening results have since proven that “Music 2 My Ears” can be used virtually on anyone when the guide manual methodology is followed.

 

“Music 2 My Ears” vs. Audiometric or Otoacoustic Equipment

Today many health care professionals are equipped with technically advanced audiometric pure tone systems or Otoacoustic Emissions Systems.  These systems are accurate and costly.  Many states only recognize the testing results from these systems. As aforementioned, “Music 2 My Ears” is not a diagnostic tool, but only a detection devise to be used as a part of an early childhood intervention program to raise the level of awareness about mild to moderate hearing loss in small children and to reach as many children as possible.  Children who are not yet able to wear headphones or will not tolerate an intrusive device in the ear respond very well to “Music 2 My Ears.”  Screeners can observe any abnormal response and refer the child on for further testing.  Many paraprofessionals are tasked with screening large numbers of children through public health and awareness programs, such as, Head Start or migrant children programs and find “Music 2 My Ears” to be very dependable when time is limited.  “Music 2 My Ears” is a dependable hearing detection methodology that will conveniently assist any screening assessment program.

Adapting the procedure.

When the Stringed Diversion Ball (distraction item) ceases to be a sufficient diversion tactic for older children, innovative procedures may be easily introduced.  One excellent recommendation is to turn the procedure into a game.  Children love to play.  Always “invite” them first so you know they are willing to partake in the game.  You’ll have a much more successful session if you do.  Seat the child comfortably in a quiet room.  Furnish the youngster with a sheet of paper and a crayon, highlighter, marker, etc.  Draw a line down the center of the page.  Then say “Now are you ready to play a little game?”   Wait for their agreement.  “Okay, we are (or I am) going to make some different sounds.  When you hear a sudden sound, you make a mark on the same side of the paper that you heard the sound on.  Will you do that for me?”  Wait for their agreement.  “Okay, let’s start.”  You can have them focus on their paper and marker, as it is very important that the child does not see your hand movements.  Older children may need to be told more about what is going on, but they need to know that they should not look around behind them, as this would spoil the fun.

Other substitutions for the diversion ball could be a stuffed animal, a glittery pinwheel, a blinking light (not a strobe light) – something eye catching or a variety of gadgets available today that do not make noise.

Double-check precaution.

Any ‘did not respond’ check on your Score Card, either on one or both ears, may be double-checked if time permits.  After a reasonable amount of time, the screening procedure can be repeated.  Make sure they are unaware and relaxed.  This provides reinforcement of the findings and maintains a high percent of valid referrals.  If results are confirmed, the subject must be referred to an audiologist or trained medical professional for detailed diagnostic procedures. 

“Music 2 My Ears” was developed to provide quick detection of mild to moderate hearing loss in infants and toddlers.  As it has been used in the field, professionals have realized that it can be used to screen a much broader population, including special needs children, older children with developmental disabilities and now offers a tool in the assessment of autism spectrum disorders. This simple screening process will help to expedite treatment and rehabilitation, before learning dysfunction and speech impairment symptoms become irreversible. 

Use it with confidence and feedback is always welcome.  Thank you.

 

 

 

1828 S. Fourth St.   |   Hartsville, SC  29550   |   843-900-m2me (6263)


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