Therapeutic Listening – Listening with The Whole Body
Kids Power OT is able to offer clients Vital Links customised Therapeutic Listening programs. These programs, when combined with Sensory Integration Therapy, can achieve remarkable results.
What is Therapeutic Listening?
Therapeutic Listening is a specialised and evidence-based protocol. It combines a sound-based intervention with sensory integrative activities to create a comprehensive program that is effective for diverse populations with sensory processing challenges.
Therapeutic Listening uses organised sound patterns, inherent to music, to impact all levels of the nervous system to increase attention, balance, body awareness and control, communication, social engagement and organisation of sensory input. Overall, children are more organised and behaviourally regulated and have more rapid therapeutic outcomes.
Who developed Therapeutic Listening?
Therapeutic Listening is based on ideas from the Tomatis Listening Program, Auditory Integration Training – AIT (Berard) and Samonas (Steinbach) and also a Sensory Integrative Framework (Jean Ayres). Therapeutic Listening was developed by Occupational Therapist, Sheila Frick who is the founder of Vital Links (www.vitallinks.net). Sheila has extensive training and experience in working with individuals with sensory processing disorders.
How Therapeutic Listening Works?
Therapeutic listening works by stimulating the vestibular-cochlear system, therefore enhancing the accuracy of the sensory information that this system sends to its multiple neural pathways within the nervous system. The vestibular-cochlear system was the first to develop in utero and provides a foundation for space and time organisation for all other sensory systems. The digitally altered soundtracks that are played through special headphones when a person participates in Therapeutic Listening appears to set up the nervous system, preparing the ground for emergent skills. The music causes the muscles in the middle ear to contract, helping to discriminate and modulate sound input. In addition, there are tiny bones in the middle ear that vibrate when sound is provided, stimulating the movement (vestibular) and hearing (auditory) sensory receptors in the inner ear. This sensory information is sent throughout the central nervous system causing a multitude of reactions and improving the integration between the brainstem and the limbic system which in turn improves posture, balance, coordination, integration of both sides of the body, visual-spatial skills, emotional regulation and motor planning.
Who benefits from Therapeutic Listening?
Individuals with the following difficulties:
o Regulating sleep patterns
o Restricted diet and eating patterns/habits
o Reduced attention and difficulties sustaining concentration for tasks e.g. school work
o Communication difficulties, delayed speech development
o Regulating emotional and behavioural responses e.g. tantrums, anxiety, flattened emotional responses/expressions
o Irregularities in toilet training
o Reduced social skills, engagement and reduced self-esteem & confidence
o Delayed or awkward motor skills; coordination, planning and balance
o Handwriting difficulties
o Visual perceptual difficulties
o Disorganisation, impulsive behaviours or anxiety
o Autism, Aspergers and ADD/ADHD
o Sensory Processing Disorders
o Downs Syndrome
o Learning Difficulties
What are the benefits of Therapeutic Listening?
When Therapeutic Listening is coupled with a sensory integration framework it enhances the emergence of:
• Attention & focus
• Decreased tactile hypersensitivity or defensiveness
• Decreased oral hypersensitivity with increased exploration and acceptance of different foods
• Improved self-regulatory behaviour such as a more regulated sleep cycle, more regulated hunger-thirst cycle, more regulated such-swallow-breathe pattern, more regulated respiratory control and decreased stress
• Improved balance
• Improved coordination of movement within the environment
• Increased postural organization
• Increased motor skills, both gross and fine
• Improved bilateral motor patterns
• “Emergence” of motor planning
• Improved spatial-temporal organization
• Improved handwriting
• Improved visual-motor skills
• Improved timing of motor execution
• Increased and more elaborate social interactions, with better “timing”
• Discrimination of the dimensionality and directionality of spatial concepts
• Improved components of communication such as greater range of non-verbal communication, improved/clearer articulation, greater emotional and verbal expression and improvements in pragmatic language
Accessing a Therapeutic Listening program?
To implement a Therapeutic Listening program the therapist needs to have highly specialised training from Vital Links. At Kids Power OT, Anandhi Boorasamy is a trained therapist and qualified to implement an individualised Therapeutic Listening program. Each client will need to be assessed for the suitability of implementing such a program which will always be coupled with the implementation of an Occupational Therapy.
Each person’s Therapeutic Listening program will be monitored and updated throughout their ongoing treatment intervention with ‘Kids Power OT’. Therapeutic Listening programs can be carried out at home, school/childcare or at the clinic with ongoing support from a therapist who is trained in their use. Each chip/ app is reviewed on a fortnightly basis with the overall program typically in place for two to six months for initial gains. However, many individuals continue beyond the time frame or find some of the chips/ apps useful as part of an ongoing sensory diet. As you need to be a licensed provider to purchase Therapeutic Listening chips ‘Kids Power OT’ is happy to purchase these chips/apps for ongoing use as requested.
If you would like further information to see if this would be a suitable intervention, please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on this page is adapted from Sheila Frick training course ‘Listening with the whole body’.
Description of equipment used:
Therapeutic Listening consists of a series of CD’s/ Chips/ Apps prescribed specifically for each child over specifically designed headphones and works on a variety of skills. Listening time consists of 2 times a day, each for 30 minutes, with a minimum of 3 hours between listening times. The Chips are electronically altered or passed through a high-flow filter. This means that the frequencies at which the sounds are heard vary. Some Chips jump from very high frequencies to very low frequencies and back and other Chips do the same, but the variance is much less and therefore not as intensive for the listener.
Where can I obtain further information about Therapeutic Listening?
Please visit www.vitallinks.net