Decibel Meters For Autistic Kids

If your kids are on the autism spectrum, and are verbal, there’s an excellent chance that voice volume control is one of their challenges. It certainly is the case for my kids, and has been a challenge for me as well in my life. I think perhaps if my parents had had one of these things when I was a kid, I might have had better volume control as an adult.

Why Care? I can put up with their yelling!

Simply put, every parent’s goal should be that their children are able to function in society on their own. Thriving means also having friends, and autistic kids already face a ton of challenges in that area. Every irritating trait that a kid on the spectrum has, adds to the number of reasons why people around them may find them irritating and either not befriend them, or perhaps just flat-out decide to say mean things to them or worse. Most kids on the spectrum already have traits which the public finds irritating, and a lot of those traits cannot be adjusted for without impacting who they are.

Decibel meters, however, are passive and enable parents and kids to make objective decisions about volume levels. At my dinner table, we have a rule that if you are talking and your volume goes above 70db, anyone at the table may tell you to bring it down under 70db. This goes for adults as well as children. 70db is still enough for a spirited discussion and such, but going above that tends to escalate into yelling territory. Because the meter is a dispassionate machine and everyone can see its results, there is no possible argument that “I’m not being loud!” or “Well my brother was being louder and you didn’t shush him!” 70db is 70db, period. It also teaches the children that objective numbers do not care who’s speaking. One actual gender bias in most of our lives, is that men being loud are not perceived as being such, and women being loud are. And then some modern households overcompensate for this by never telling their girls to quiet down, and those girls can become yellers themselves. But if we just use objective numbers, that ceases to be an issue. 70db is 70db, period. Set your family’s “you’re too loud” threshold wherever you like on the scale, just use it consistently across all of your kids. I just happen to like using 70db for that number.

Choosing a meter

I personally like the meter I bought, the TestHelper SW-535B. There are a lot of newer designs which incorporate a clock, temperature and humidity meter, etc. On the other hand, having JUST the decibel display and nothing else, makes it visually much easier to keep tabs on the decibel numbers. At the end of the day it’s up to you what you do, but I like that one. If you want to view all the options Amazon has here, click decibel meters to see them.


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