Home Research Interview with Dr. Ali Danesh Regarding Accommodations at Schools and Universities for Individuals With Misophonia

Interview with Dr. Ali Danesh Regarding Accommodations at Schools and Universities for Individuals With Misophonia

by Misophonia International
woman carrying white and green textbook

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?

I have been working with children and adults with decreased sound tolerance disorders such as hyperacusis and misophonia for many years. In a paper that we published a few years ago we looked at the underlying physiologic, psychologic, neurologic, and audiologic features in misophonia. The research by the scientists show that misophonia is a unique phenomenon occuring within the brain that results in significant reaction to certain sounds. Children and adults with this condition usually do not show significant disturbance of their mental health. However, being exposed to acoustical triggers such as chewing, and other biologic sounds can generate significant emotional and cognitive reactions. These reactions in turn can limit the person’s productivity, participation, and progress in both academic and daily life environments.

What has your work in Misophonia been on?

We have emphasized the role of educators on the academic presence and existence of students with misophonia. It was noticed that those with misophonia have a tendency to leave school or limit their participation. We wanted to know how we can keep the students in the schools and be responsible to their needs as academicians.  

Editor note: find the accommodation study here: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1228969.pdf

You published a study on Misophonia accommodations in college—what was your experience with this?

As I mentioned earlier our goal of the research was to find ways to keep students participating in the classroom. The main idea of the research was to explore if the university faculty members know about misophonia and whether they are aware or not, would they provide accommodations for students who cannot stay in a classroom because of certain sound triggers such as chewing. The results of the study showed that although many of the faculty did not know about misophonia, the majority of them had no objection in providing accommodations such as classroom eating rules, quiet rooms for exams, and use of earplugs or personal noise generators if necessary. This complies with the idea of “no child left behind” and it should be the mission for every teacher who interacts with students with disabilities including those who suffer from misophonia.

Do you think accommodations for Misophonia could be harmful?

There is no evidence that accommodations for children and adults with misophonia in the academic environment can cause any harm to students. In our university the office of student accessibility services (SAS) provides support for students with misophonia and has never received any complaints from those who received accommodations!

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