Nobody knows if misophonia is a condition that a child is born with, or a disorder than one develops (or both). However, most researchers agree that like adults, children have misophonia. Many parents have said that they always knew their child was sensitive to sounds. Others remember a specific age at which misophonia seemed to begin. Either way, children with misophonia seem to all have similar symptoms related to a high level of reactivity to very specific sounds (and sometimes sights as well).
Common Questions about Misophonia kids:
How do I know my child has misophonia?
As of now there is no official test for misophonia. There are a few scales that were developed by audiologists, psychologists and adult misophonia sufferers. None of these scales are validated. However, some can be useful to help doctors identify symtpoms.
What are the symptoms of Misophonia in a child?
The symptoms of misophonia in children are similar to those of adults. Children respond to specific sounds as though they were harmful. As a result the autonomic nervous system (the part of nervous system that is involuntary) escalates. Upon exposure to these sounds a child may even go into fight/flight.
What are Typical Responses to sounds?
While each child is different and there are developmental differences between young children and older children, here are some typical behaviors to look for in your child
- Covering ears with hands
- Quick and seemingly unprovoked mood changes
- Crying in response to sounds that other kids don’t notice
- Becoming angry or fearful in response to sounds that seem benign
- A desire to leave specific places without explanation, or because of sounds (or avoiding places)
- Difficulty making transitions in school and in general
- Difficulty with self-regulation (the ability to calm one’s self) that seems atypical for child’s age
What are common trigger sounds?
The Jastreboff’s who coined the term misophonia originally stated that sounds were “pattern based” and could be loud or soft. Many sounds that bother misophonia kids come from other people. However, anecdotal research suggests that while people emanated sounds are often an issue, other sounds (e.g. from pets and mechanical noises) are also aversive. Most children are not bothered by self-generated sounds.
Common Trigger Sounds
- Pencil Tapping
- Keyboard Tapping
- Pets Whining
- Dogs barking
- Certain consonants within words, such a the “s” sound
- Fingers tapping
There will always be other triggers that haven’t been added, but this is a small list for starters.
What can I do if I think my child has misophonia?
Currently many doctors are unaware of misophonia. However, don’t let that stop you for reaching out for help. Misophonia Awareness is gaining ground. In addition, research has begun. Here are a list of the kinds of doctors and therapists who can help you:
- Psychologists and Counselors
- Occupational therapists
Can I get accommodations for my child at school?
Currently misophonia is not a diagnosis that many teachers or school personnel are familiar with.
What are the accommodations that a parent should ask for?
Again, every child and every school is different. However, here are some general accommodations that have been helpful:
- Preferential seating in class (sometimes it is helpful if a child can either change or choose a seat that is either close to the door or near the front of the class).
- Allowing the child to leave the classroom for small breaks (It is often helpful to children to leave the classroom for a few minutes in order to get a break from the particular sounds that bother them. If the child is very young, going to the nurses office for a small break can be very useful.