Autism CRC is the world’s first national cooperative research effort focused on autism across the life-span and have recently released a study on the impact of improved classroom acoustics on autistic students.
This project was part of the School Years Program within Autism CRC. It asked the question: does sound field amplification support primary school students on the autism spectrum in the classroom?
So what is sound field amplification?
Sound field amplification (SFA) systems typically consist of a microphone and transmitter worn by the teacher and a receiver and speaker placed in the classroom. When functioning optimally, SFA projects the teacher’s voice evenly to all parts of the classroom.
How could SFA support students on the autism spectrum?
Students can spend up to 60% of the school day listening to their teacher and classmates. They often have to do this in noisy classrooms. SFA could put children in a better position to learn by making it easier to hear the teacher. This could allow some students to transition from struggling to hear to being able to listen.
Did SFA support students on the autism spectrum?
Overall, the results of the project support the trialing of SFA in classrooms for students on the autism spectrum. By making it easier for students to hear the teacher, SFA put students in a better position to learn but did not guarantee students will go on to learn in the short-term. The benefits of SFA were realised with no observed risks for students on the spectrum.
For more details on the Project please