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Adamantium
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05 Aug 2013, 4:01 pm

My son has misophonia. My daughter often chews with her mouth open and smacks while she eats. Sometimes she does it just to torture him, which is effective, he becomes enraged, or screams or runs to another part of the house.

He also asks adults to "please chew with your mouth closed!" or "please don't talk with food in your mouth!" in an imperative inflection. For some reason, not everyone takes kindly to this!

My wife and brother-in-law both insist that he has to "just get over it" but I don't think this is likely to be a constructive approach.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Any suggestions for mitigating it?

I am thinking about getting earplugs for him to use at meal time.



Zodai
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05 Aug 2013, 4:29 pm

Personal experience, I usually just bring my food into my room.

I don't think I have misophonia, but it should work in this case nonetheless.


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Willard
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05 Aug 2013, 4:37 pm

I see nothing unreasonable about asking people to observe common courtesy. If you can't observe simple rules of etiquette, you shouldn't be sitting at table with humans.



Adamantium
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05 Aug 2013, 4:42 pm

Three reasons why that is not an optimal solution:

1--when my son and daughter have been given permission to eat in their rooms, they always make a mess and it's very difficult to get them to clean up.

2--sometimes we like to all eat together.

3-sometimes we are t a restaurant or picnic, etc. and have to eat with other people.

So even if that is a partial solution, some of the time, we are going to need some way to deal with family meals, restaurants, relatives' houses, etc.



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05 Aug 2013, 5:19 pm

I think my sister has that. She yells at us whenever we eat.



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05 Aug 2013, 5:43 pm

I don't know if this is a solution or not. In giving this advice I am referencing my own panic attacks and coping mechanisms I have been working on to help alleviate them. I am guessing that his reactions are somewhat beyond his control, like the panic I sometimes suffer from. I use imagery to try and calm myself when I feel an attack coming on. This is something I have developed over time with a professional therapist so it is no overnight solution. Maybe he could learn this type of technique whereby he imagines a calm comfortable place or feeling, like an image from a favorite movie or a place he really likes to go, that can block out the negative sensations. For this to be effective, the imagery needs to be practiced outside of the stressful situation. Also, he will need to be reminded to use it before he comes to the dinner table and probably reminded again throughout the meal to start with. It helps me if I imagine myself doing the activities that cause me panic and I imagine myself using this technique to stay calm and completing the activity. Deep breathing can also help. I guess I would try to think of it like someone who has severe claustrophobia or something like that. People with these types of conditions can learn gradually to develop coping mechanisms that can allow them to have some amount of control over the strong reactions.

I have also read about desensitization programs where you play recordings of the offending noises at various intervals. We thought about trying that with DS for his general sensitivity to sound but after I listened to the CD that the therapist gave us, I couldn't imagine subjecting my child to that. Some folks say that it has worked for them so I thought it was worth a mention.



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05 Aug 2013, 5:44 pm

I am wondering if increasing the general noise and conversation level in the room could make it less obvious to him. I suggest that because the only time my daughter ever mentions that she wishes some of us could eat quieter (she is more or less NT, just a perfectionist) is when there are less of us, ie less conversation and less overall noise.


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ASDMommyASDKid
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05 Aug 2013, 6:00 pm

If the there is no good excuse your daughter has for setting your son off, I would consistently punish for that. As far as him correcting adults, I would gently remind him it is not polite to correct adults for having poor table manners, even though you understand his issues. I would instruct him to politely excuse himself, instead, when possible, without mentioning why.

As far as how to desensitize him, I don't know how effective that will be. My mother ate loudly in private (not in public) and I had to deal with it growing up, and I never got desensitized. I doubt I am anywhere near as bad as your son, but it really did make my skin crawl.



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05 Aug 2013, 6:10 pm

I typically retreat to my room. I suggest making a place for him to eat in his room alone. I know most people think it's appropriate to have a family meal where everyone eats at the table at the same time. But the point behind this is so the family can have quality time together to talk, this can be accomplished in other ways. In this instance family meals are no longer functioning the way they were intended, they are causing stress and grief. No one is happy with this.

Plugging my ears with headphones and music is helpful IF done before the noises start and the aggravation sets in.


ETA I just saw where you said eating alone is not an option
I have spent my whole life having misophonia, being exposed to noises constantly has made my extreme fight or flight response to the situation even worse. I spent decades trying to "suck it up" and just "deal with it". I don't believe there is a way to desensitize this. It's something that has to be accommodated
Anyhow one more suggestion, provide white noise in the room.
Another suggestion is on the days that you really want a family meal together, make sure the demands your son has to meet are very minimum. On days where I have had far too much input, my misophonia symptoms are amplified.



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05 Aug 2013, 9:32 pm

Actually there IS an over night solution for this. Literally.
It's not widely known because I developed it myself about 6 years ago and have (until recently) been too nervous to offer it to others, because it sounds dorky.
It's unconventional but easy, safe, and gentle.

How old is your son? It's better if he's at least 8 years or older, best if he's twelve or more.
My primary focus is NOT on internet therapy, it's on something else -so I'd do this for you for free- besides, it's easy for me.
It involves boosting his coping skills in a very specific area. In this case with mealtime annoyances.
I think you'll be flabbergasted at how well it works.
If you're interested...

If you're not interested then don't PM me and don't go to StabilizingAutism/unsolicited-advice

Otherwise I'd be damned if I could figure a quick text answer that didn't include a big stick to the annoying parties.
Or earplugs for everybody.
Or maybe soup, hard to talk with your mouth full of soup.

Good luck.


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aann
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07 Aug 2013, 8:10 am

Until your daughter can control herself, you can't begin to address your son's problem. She needs to become part of the solution with patience rather than part of the problem. It would also help if adults try to chew with their mouths closed as much as possible. Then gently and patiently work with your son in little steps, and, like others have said, have him respect adults when they do make noises. I think some desensitization can happen over a long period of time, but it will never happen if he's confronted with it all the time in a bad way.



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07 Aug 2013, 6:08 pm

The unconscious mind is really good at filtering out unnecessary 'background' stuff, no person or animal could even function if every leaf and twig, shape and movement had to be continuously monitored, every blade of grass, every cloud or every falling snowflake.

The unconscious mind (usually) is really good at figuring out what is important to filter and what should be monitored. When it (rarely) doesn't get something right we have 'problems'.
Your son's unconscious mind can easily filter and cope with these unnecessary inputs - it just doesn't realize it needs to in this case.
Positive Auto-cognitive Reprocessing is a method of communicating with the unconscious mind in a manner that it can readily understand, and appropriately getting it to build an updated program.

It's not Voodoo, your brain does this all the time. This is just a way of communicating with it so that you can consciously plan for and adapt for your future, by telling it what additional things may be important to work on right now for one's current well being.
It is not hypnosis, it's not trances, it's simply a way of structuring an appropriate interpretation for the communication. In other words you just need to properly catch it's attention about a topic.

Human's biggest problem is communication, and self-speak is a pretty big hiccup in most everyone's lives.
How often has someone repeatedly 'told' themselves counter-productive things? This happens a lot.


grrr, I bet this didn't make any sense at all...

oh well *post!*


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Wreck-Gar
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07 Aug 2013, 7:39 pm

This used to bother me a lot too. At one job I had the person sitting next to me used to eat apples all the time and it really used to bother me.

How adding more noise to the room, say, turning on a TV?

He's not doing this to be a jerk, he really can't stand the noise. The sound is like fingernails on a chalkboard to him.



Adamantium
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08 Aug 2013, 1:43 pm

Wreck-Gar wrote:
He's not doing this to be a jerk, he really can't stand the noise. The sound is like fingernails on a chalkboard to him.


I get this. Others in my family don't.

For him the worst part is that when the sensory thing gets strong enough--those little mouth sounds seem to set off a sort of sensory cascade--he feels the urgent need to pee. Somehow my wife and daughter have had a hard time taking this at face value.

I shared several articles on misophonia with my wife and I think that made a difference.
NY Times story
ABC news story on Misophonia
Psychology Today story on Misophonia

My daughter smacks her lips often while she eats and ignores 90% of our efforts to correct this behavior. She has no diagnosis, but also has many ASD traits, so this may be hard to change.

Anyway, we are working on finding some balance that works. I really think this may involve noise canceling headphones or earplugs for picnics or restaurant meals, and alternative seating arrangements at home.

Thanks for your suggestions.



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30 Jan 2015, 12:36 am

Hi, I have misophonia (only recently discovered there was a diagnosis for it!) and my son has ASD.

I have noticed that my ASD son eats in a very noisy fashion - so perhaps there is a link there?

I know what caused my misophonia - it was my father - and his father that caused his! I aim for it to end with me as it really does make leading a normal social life a lot more challenging than onlookers may perceive.

Family dinners are a difficult issue. I am an adult (obviously) so I am able to ride out the horrible emotional turmoil exposure to trigger noises causes me and casually excuse myself from situations where I feel I will lose control.

I signed up because I just wanted to let you know that the degree of severity of the emotional response to triggers can be very extreme. Myself, I experience frustration to the point where I feel like breaking down into tears or smashing my head against a wall. I've even had suicidal ideation resulting from being forced into situations where I am surrounded by triggers. I am not a violent person, but I've even had violent ideation and intrusive thoughts too. Managing our own response to our emotions is our own responsibility, for sure, but I just wanted to make it clear how extreme it can be to help you better understand where your son is coming from.

Until such a time as you can find a therapist qualified to help (a topic I'm only just starting to research myself), I think avoidance is the best solution you can hope for. The way he manages this will depend on him and your daughter. It might just not be an option for them to be near one another while eating. I'm a very logical/rational, calm person and I often have to leave the room when my son is eating. Fortunately, my wife understands and doesn't make an issue of it.

I think the best advice I can give you for now is to help your son learn how to manage his emotional impulses for long enough to excuse himself without it coming across rudely. Unfortunately, society is FULL of trigger noises, and the onus is on sufferers to avoid them.


Cheers