Vocal Stimming Ideas?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by bethechange, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Jan 22, 2011

    I've got a very active first-grader with severe autism that goes through periods of what seems like intense vocal stimming.

    He has these patterns of vocalizations that sound like ear-splitting, high-pitched shrieks. They definitely sound like a pattern, and you can identify exactly which shriek he is going to do next. He'll go through these phases where he doesn't do it at all for an hour, does it constantly for three or four hours, and then stops again. Also, sometimes it will dissapear altogether for 3-4 days, and then reappear with a vengeance. Sometimes he also randomly bursts out into REALLY LOUD bits of song lyrics. And he also does the Monday Night Football theme at top volume.

    Its not a communicative behavior - he does it when he's happy, when he's doing things he likes, when he's doing things he doesn't like, all times of the day, etc. I've taken data on it for 3 weeks and there is NO pattern. Right after he does it, he usually smiles, looks at the cieling and claps or flaps his hands. He's totally checked out -in his own world, excited about something none of us can see.

    We have a visual cue and replacement behavior program we're teaching during 1:1. Very occasionally he'll redirect visually to task when working 1:1, but he has yet to imitate the replacement behavior and the shreiking continues. In groups it is thus far hopeless to redirect. I give all the other kids headphones and we do the best we can. I feel like I need to step it up a notch, because he's the sweetest kid, and other kids are starting to feel the need to clobber him when he does it. Its like they've starting thinking, "hey, I've put up with this random shreiking for two years, miss bethechange - DO SOMETHING!"

    I've also tried gum, chewy candy, chewy tubes, etc. to keep his mouth busy with no luck. He'll chew, but it doesn't seem to affect the vocal business.

    Any ideas?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2011

    Is there any relationship with the shrieking and stimulation? Maybe he does it when he needs more stimulation or less?

    One of my students used to make random noises (he's older-sixth grade), but we started using a weighted vest and the noises decreased. With another student we used a large sock. Another just needed a quiet/dark place when the noises started. I have another student who only makes noises when everyone else is quiet.

    Maybe when it starts, try moving him to a quiet/darker place in the room with some soft music to give him a quiet noise.
     
  4. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Jan 22, 2011

    If it is interrupted, does it stop?


    Maybe a party blower or something like that, just to interrupt it.

    I have a kid on my special olympics team that engages in "gun noises" and they end immediately if you interrupt it.

    Also, what about headphones? If the noises are a result of some sort of auditory stimulation... Perhaps calm music would assist with that.
     
  5. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Jan 22, 2011

    Also, what about a toobaloo(sp?)

    Maybe if he heard how loud and ear piercing the shrieks are, he'd stop. This tool looks like a plastic telephone and helps the kids hear the sounds their mouths are making.
     
  6. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jan 22, 2011

    Could it be auditory stimulation?
     
  7. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Jan 22, 2011

    Does he know he's making the noises? Most of my students with autism don't realize it when they are.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2011

    Waterfalllady-so true! I have had quite a few students who really didn't even realize it. Even when we pointed it out, they still didn't even know it.
     
  9. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Jan 22, 2011

    What about video modelling it? Taking a video of him doing it and then showing him, his response may even be covering his ears because it is too loud etc. It may make him more self aware of doing it if he doesn't realize he is doing it.
     
  10. anewstart101

    anewstart101 Cohort

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    Jan 22, 2011

    Okay I have a student who does this too

    He is 19 years old --- constant stimming -- vocal stimming and loud shrieks --

    they claim it is the beginning of him starting to escalate --

    Things being done now and some need to be changed ---

    break laying down on bean bags --
    sitting criss cross
    pointing to quiet mouth picture
    saying quiet mouth
    modeling lips together --
    some days it is all day long ---
    quiet dark place

    I do realize there is no replacement behavior ---

    what would be a good replacement behavior

    I do say sometimes we are negatively reinforcing it sometimes
     
  11. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Jan 22, 2011

    Thanks for the suggestions. I do think it is a sensory/stimulation thing. He is a complicated sensory kid in so many other ways and I have him on a sensory diet throughout the day. He does already wear a weighted vest and weighted hat on and off, which helps with his head banging and somewhat with his activity level, but not so much the vocal stuff.

    ans, the replacement behavior I am using is deep breath (which he knows how to do as part of our yoga and gym routine)

    I haven't found anything that effectively interrupts him once he gets going. He has difficulty attending under good circumstances, so when he starts the shreiking its like he's completely oblivious to everything else. Once in a while I can get him to reorient to me by singing one of his songs, but only for like, 5 seconds and then he's off again.

    I like the video modeling idea. I might try that, along with the toobaloo. I agree that he is most likely very unaware he is doing it/how loud he is. Thanks!
     
  12. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Jan 23, 2011

    Haha, I just thought of something. What if you recorded (audio) him doing it and played it. Would he laugh and think it was silly? Or would it hurt his ears or bother him? Or would he notice?

    Might be a way to try to show him what's happening here.
     
  13. anewstart101

    anewstart101 Cohort

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    Jan 23, 2011

    I am going to do that tomorrow.
     
  14. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Jan 25, 2011

    OK, funny story.

    So I tried audiotaping it, and he didn't seem to notice. Video modeling caused him to actually laugh and imitate the shreiky noise - not what I'm going for! I borrowed a toobaloo from first grade to try tomorrow - hopefully he doesn't blow out his eardrums, 'cause it was REALLY bad today. Our O.T. has been helping me come up with some sensory solutions to try.

    Today one of my other kids (who usually tries to karate kick the shrieky kid under the table) looked right at him and said, "(child's name), SHUT UP."

    Not the greatest language, I know, but this is the first intentional, directed language I have ever heard him use toward a peer!

    And, he didn't kick him. So double yay.
     
  15. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Jan 26, 2011

    The saga continues. Today, in a flash of inspiration, I put a pair of giant noise-cancelling headphones on him during our independent work time. It took some work and encouragement to get him to leave them on, but they did seem to decrease not so much the number of shreiks, but definitely the loudness. Maybe he can hear his noises better in his own head with the headphones on and thus, does not need to make them so loudly now?

    I did the same thing at lunch and again at the end of the day. We'll see how if it continues to work.
     
  16. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jan 27, 2011

    Maybe he makes the shrieks when there is noise while working?
     

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