Michael, age 4 – Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Difficulties  

From a very early age Michael was continuously sick with chest and ear infections. By the time he was 2 years old he was prescribed over 11 antibiotics. 

At 2.5 he showed a speech delay and coupled with this he was not happy. He was always so upset. I got Michael’s hearing checked but nothing seemed to show up. Until a year and a half later we caught that he had a perforated ear drum which impaired his hearing and was likely very painful. 

At this point he was going through the Assessment Of Need, from which after a he was diagnosed with autism (social challenges) and he was advised to go to a special school. This was difficult news for us to process. 

After this Michael got grommets inserted and this was our first step to incredible changes for Michael. 

After his diagnosis we were totally lost as to what to do next. He was so behind developmentally. He carried around CDs like he would a teddy bear. He was very self absorbed. Everything was about Michael. His anxiety was through the roof and with all of this going on our family was finding things very hard. 

One night I sat down and googled ears and developmental delays. CLUAS appeared and I researched this website. The testimonials strongly endorsed what Cluas were doing. I rang Ronan and we started the process. 

I entered the office full of fear not knowing what was going on with Michael and hoping Ronan would be able to help us. 

We met Ronan in November 2019 and he was able to explain all of Michael’s symptoms to me really quickly and why they were happening. Knowledge is power and I felt an incredible lift understanding how ears can have such a detrimental effect on everything. I had no idea. 

Michael’s Cluas program was broken into three stages as described on the website and my worry of Michael not wearing the headphones was soon overturned with a little persuasion. 

Ronan advised to get in touch with a dietician and to think about removing gluten and dairy. This was great advice and has made a notable difference also. It was difficult to get him settled on the new diet and it took a bit of planning, but once established, we could tell it was adding to the momentum. 

On stage 1 of the headphones there is two hours of play a day and in these times I got to understand Michael and his strengths and what he found hard and the whole process brought us both closer and more connected. It was hard emotionally as he seemed to take a few steps back a lot but it was for the best and Ronan’s availability, support and clarity was invaluable. 

Michael went through this process when he was 4. He is just turning 6 now. 

He is not in a special school. He is in mainstream junior infants. 

Michael’s teacher recently quoted ‘ he is one of the most popular boys in the class’ ‘ yard is his favourite time so he can play chase with his friends’ ‘ Irish is his favourite subject’ and he listens very attentively in class and he is always smiling. 

Michael’s challenges are fine motor; he finds handwriting hard and when the class is really noisy with thirty kids he finds it hard to concentrate working alone. This positive feedback has made us a very happy family. 

We have come a long way and a huge thank you to Ronan for being Michael’s portal to health and happiness. 

Robert, February 2021- Dublin