Have you exhausted all physical and medical possibilities first regarding this sensitivity, before judging it to be an ‘emotional problem?’
I ask as, in my understanding, extreme sensitivity to certain (and specific) stimulus can be very common for kids on the spectrum. And therefore, your reference to this child 'being a bizarre case' is not justified.
Below is a link to the NAS page which details this type of sensitivity, the video is excellent and offers insight into just how devastating sensory overload can be. Please note the clock.
Particularly please note the section (on the page link above) which describes the effect of ‘sight over sensitivity.’ Particularly please also note the statement which details how, in some cases, sensory challenges can elicit actual physical pain in some ND children, and therefore, what you have judged to be 'crisis type behaviour' could be actual physical pain that this child is suffering.
I think it would be a grave and disrespectful disservice if you ‘pseudo diagnosed’ this child as having ‘emotional problems’ when in fact he may be genuinely suffering from extreme ‘sight over sensitivity’ which may only manifest with specific stimuli, such as moving clocks, led lights etc.
I would suggest you refer this child to CAMHS or his GP where his sight sensitivity may be professionally diagnosed and solutions may be available to him to help minimise his distress, such as dark glasses, coloured lensed glasses etc.
Maybe it's the light from these devices that's upsetting for the child, as an adult I too find screen lights quite painful. If dimming the screen doesn't help, is it really necessary for such a young child to be taught via a screen at all? If using these screens is affecting his behaviour and learning surely the little extra work in providing paper copies would be worth it to all concerned?
I would agree with AngelDust to a certain extent but add that if he's associating these lights with the pain that they may be causing his eyes, and quite possibly resulting in headaches, it's quite a reasonable emotional reaction for him to want to avoid them as soon as he sees the light indicating that they're switched on - in anticipation of the painful light to follow.
Another experience I can relate to regarding electrical devices (laptops, i-pads, TV's etc.) is the constant buzzing that makes it impossible to concentrate for long periods of time and can also become quite painful. Any repetitive noise can have the same effect and, of course, ticking clocks are the worst culprit. It's worth mentioning that the rest of my family rarely, if ever, hear these (to me) loud buzzing noises.
I think that is an excellent point Endymion, that the standby or ‘on’ lights may be acting as a warning to the child of the possible (sensory) pain to come.
I think the most important point I was trying to convey is that, I don’t think it is okay for schools to pathologise things they don’t understand as being an ‘emotional problem.’
By deeming something an ‘emotional problem,’ this put the onus and blame (either directly or indirectly) on the child (or the parents) to change that behaviour, often (sadly) for the benefit of the school. As opposed to seeking further appropriate answers as to what may be underlying the child’s distress, such as a genuine sensory sensitivity or in some cases actual physical pain and distress brought on by sensory difficulties.
I am interested as to why NAS36741 has not answered. I fully appreciate and respect that this may be because they have not checked their post for replies yet, or it may be because pointing out that the child may in fact be in genuine physical pain (and not have a psychological ‘emotional problem’) may not be the answer they wanted to hear or are willing to accept.
And this would concern me. Why wouldn’t a school (staff) want to know or accept that an ASD child may be experiencing actual physical distress and sensory needs which need to be accepted, respected, and accommodated by the school via making adjustments for that child (such as those Endymion offered) rather than pathologised away as an ‘emotional problem?’
By deeming something to be an ‘emotional problem’ it actively invites the possibility that the issue or child can be ‘worked on’ to remove the problem. But if the ‘problem’ is a bonafide part of their being ASD, then it’s not going to go away, but needs to be understood, respected, accepted and accommodated instead. And inappropriately pushing the child to try and change (to accept sensory stimulus which they may find painful) is only going to cause countless and needless distress.
No, some schools don’t want to accept that being ND means needing a different approach, a different type of understanding, and that NDs do experience things differently to NTs. And they would rather pathologise genuine expressions of NDness as being an ‘emotional/psychological problem’ instead, which, quite frankly, I find deplorable.
And this mentality, of dismissing genuine expressions of Neuro-Diversity as being some sort of 'emotional problem' paves the way directly and lays the strongest foundations for our ND kids to not trust their own judgement, to not feel understood, to feel alone and alienated, to not learn to understand, embrace, accept and value their own NDness, to feel wrong or ashamed for being different and having different experiences and needs... which does then lead to real psychological anguish down the line.
Dear Angeldust, I have to assume that this post has somewhat distressed you, however making assumptions about people and schools is awfully rude. I was merely seeking some professional advice to support this child and make his life a happier one. The complexity of Autism is purely that, complex. Unfortunately professionals do not live with autism l, thus not always being able to understand the issues at hand, however insights are always fascinating into potential problems. As we no children with ASD are very idiosyncratic and although this may be a thesis that you think is the concrete cause may not always be the correct intervention.
Endymoin - thank you for your kind suggestions and support, I will add these to the support package being put into place for this young man.
You are absolutely right, I apologise if my response offended you.
My response has, on reflection, grown out of (if you will,) over 20 years of working in schools, as a NHS Psychological Professional, living with Autism.
But you are right, however strong the evidences of my own experiences are, and the great many (ND and NT) children and young people I work with daily, I must not tar every school with the same 'common' brush.
Nor hesitate to apologise should I ever hit a nerve, my own or others, naturally.