Headphones Help Create a Safe Space

Declan, a bright and energetic 7-year-old, faces unique challenges due to a rare genetic disorder appearing as autism spectrum disorder. This condition makes him extremely sensitive to auditory input, causing blackouts from loud, overwhelming noises. These episodes have significantly impacted his ability to thrive in school and participate in his multiple weekly therapy sessions.

A particularly distressing incident occurred during one of his therapy sessions when another child screamed, leaving Declan so traumatized that he developed a fear of attending therapy altogether.

WNC Bridge’s Children’s Services Fund was able to assist Declan by providing him with Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones, a gift that has transformed his daily life. These headphones effectively block out external noise, reducing his stress and anxiety. With this newfound sense of calm, Declan is now better equipped to reach his full potential, both in school and during therapy, and can more fully enjoy activities with his family.

“You probably only see a boy wearing headphones—that’s not what we see. We see new opportunities for our son to try new things comfortably.
We see a mobile “safe space” to help him overcome overstimulation from the grocery store, a busy park, or a long car ride with his younger brother.
Simply put, these headphones are a bridge to a brighter, better future for our boy. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all you do!”
~Aaron and Larissa Smith

Declan Smith is a Children's Services recipient.
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