Studying and Noise: Help an NT understand?

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ainsel
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03 Nov 2011, 1:41 pm

One of the ongoing debates in my family is where I should study and do my homework. My dad leaves it up to me, but my mom insists that I study downstairs so that she can see what I'm doing because she doesn't trust me to get things done on my own (I'm a junior in high school and mature enough to handle it). I prefer to do homework in my room because it's difficult for me to block out all the background noise downstairs. When I mention the noise, my mom always apologizes and says "Oh, sorry, I'll be quieter." She doesn't seem to understand that my hearing is very sensitive and I can still hear her, no matter how quiet she is. Any sound that I'm not expecting is really disruptive and the only way for me to get work done is to plug my ears with my fingers. She knows that I'm AS but I don't think she knows a lot about the noise sensitivity part of it. I'm a fairly mild case and was recently diagnosed, so I'm afraid that she might think I'm using it as an excuse. How do I explain it to her so that she'll understand?



hartzofspace
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03 Nov 2011, 2:02 pm

Share the Wikipedia definition of Hyperacousis with her.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperacusis
I find that as an Aspie, I cannot ignore background noise. A friend once told me that I have no "filters." If someone is walking around in the next room, I will stop what I am doing until the noise stops. Because I can't just ignore it. BTW, I don't know if you have hyperacusis, but it is a good way to give your mother an idea of what it is like to be easily distracted.


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schleppenheimer
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03 Nov 2011, 2:11 pm

I think that she may have a good idea that you have a hearing sensitivity -- she may just be weighing that vs. you getting the work done, and maybe what you need to prove to her is that you do a better job, maybe even finish assignments more quickly, if you are somewere where there are no distracting sounds.

Make a deal with your Mom. Tell her that on a particular day, you're going upstairs to do homework. If you don't finish in the same amount of time that you usually do (give or take a half an hour or so), then you'll work in proximity to her. If you finish assignments in a timely manner where YOU want to work, then you should be allowed to do that. As a mother of a sophmore, I would be all for you working where it's quiet -- as long as you get the work done.

Having said all of this... my sophomore son works downstairs in proximity to me. Always has. I've tried the alternative, thinking along the same lines as you do -- that working upstairs where it would be quiet would be beneficial. Trouble was, he got distracted so often that he didn't finish assignments. ALSO, he sometimes needed help, which required me running upstairs all the time. NOW, he finishes most assignments in a timely manner -- with the noise of me doing dishes, the tv on, phone conversations, etc. I figure that it's good for him to acclimate to these noises, because it's never going to be quiet at school. Might as well get used to it -- even if it is hard. I wish it were otherwise -- because I get the "hearing sensitivity" part [I've seen my son jump a mile whenever he's at a sports event when there's a buzzer going off]. Unfortunately, the world is full of those obnoxious noises.



Lucywlf
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03 Nov 2011, 2:35 pm

Oh, my, I know exactly what you mean by noise interfering with studying. If there's enough noise I can't even read!

There are other ways for your mother to see that you're doing your homework: why don't you have her check it over when you're done? Then she'll know you have it and you could benefit by having a fresh set of eyes look at it.