Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 for 21: Guest Blogger on Therapeutic Listening

Penny of Penny's Peeps is hanging out at The Chronicles of EBB for a very special guest blogging post on Therapeutic Listening.  This post is full of sensory integration information and you can find much more over at her blog.  Also, Penny's son Wyatt is "promised" to Ellie.  Who says arranged marriages are a thing of the past?!

Therapeutic Listening

A major component of wyatt's sensory therapy has been "THERAPEUTIC LISTENING."  "Therapeutic Listening" is defined as "an auditory intervention that uses the organized sound patterns inherent in music to impact all levels of the nervous system.  Trained therapists learn to use modulated CDs to set up programs for clients in homes, schools and clinics."  (Vital Links)  

many experts believe that the auditory system is a critical link in sensory integration (which is the ability to organize sensory input from the body and the envirnment and to incorporate it adaptively in meaningful occupations).  the vestibular and cochlear systems function similarly with "hair-like receptors moving in a fluid filled canal" as one system.  "therapeutic listening" provides direct input to this system through various musical styles, types of filtering, and level of complexity!  the music is actually "electronically altered to elicit the orienting response which sets up the body for sustained attention and active listening."  (Vital Links)

so how does this all work?  wyatt wears specially designed and "weighted" headphones to listen to cd's for varying lengths of time.  the process involves building up the time spent listening. he had worked up to 30 minutes on the first cd before switching to the second cd in the series this week.  his therapist sits with him, usually on one of their therapeutic swings, gently swinging back and forth.  this gives additional vestibular input as he listens.   this week he also crawled around and played while listening. 

and what outcomes might be anticipated from this therapy?  "Therapeutic Listening coupled with SI (sensory integration) tends to speed the emergence of:

  • attention
  • organized behavior
  • self regulation
  •  postural control
  • bilateral coordination
  •  praxis
  • fine motor control
  • oral motor/articulation
  • social skills
  • communication
  • visual motor integration"   (Vital Links)
what have we seen with wyatt?  we have seen a HUGE improvement in his ability to focus on tasks in therapy!   we have also seen improvement in his social skills (not hitting his friends as much).  his postural control is better, he is showing improvement in both gross motor and fine motor skills, and he is jabbering away with varying inflections ALL.THE.TIME now!  these are just a few of the changes we have seen! 

"Therapeutic Listening" was created and developed by occupational therapist sheila m. frick, who also founded vitals links.  her organization provides the materials used as well as training in the system to clinicians.  another component of therapeutic listening is the "astronaut training program: a sound activated vestibular-visual protocol."  although wyatt's therapists have invested in this program, they decided that he is too young for the movements that the program involves.  but if you have an older child, you might look into this program as well! 

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