Intended to support individuals who have trouble with communication, attention, listening and sensory processing dysfunction, therapeutic listening came to fruition as an evidence-based auditory intervention. You should note that it is not a stand-alone program. Think of it as a tool (one that’s based in sensory integration) that’s part of a bigger-picture therapy program. Here’s what you need know before your child starts on his or her therapeutic listening therapy.
The issues that therapeutic listening addresses
The inability to respond, process and understand sounds are some of the issues that therapeutic listening therapy tackle. Oftentimes, the listening difficulties are linked to a range of potential problems such as learning disabilities, perceptual/ attention deficits, undeveloped motor skills and more. The ear is incredibly complex organ and usually affects a group of functions in our bodies. With that in mind, hearing should not be confused with listening. The latter is considered as the act of focusing or directing your attention to certain sounds.
What parents should know about ‘listening’ – in this context
Parents should note that listening is not something that can be enforced. It is not the same as telling your child to clean a bedroom. In addition, therapeutic listening only works if a child focuses and does not allow his or her mind to drift elsewhere while wearing the headphones and hearing the sounds. Children must be encouraged to take the therapy seriously so that they can maintain as much listening concentration as possible, throughout the entirety of each session.
Who can benefit from therapeutic listening?
Children with the following difficulties (this list is not all-inclusive):
- Learning difficulties
- Down syndrome
- Sensory processing disorders
- Impulsive behaviors
- Handwriting difficulties
- Delayed motor skills
- Impaired social skills
- Irregularities in toilet training
- Delayed speech development
- Reduced attention and concentration
- Restricted eating patterns
- Irregular sleep patterns
The impact it has on your child
Studies have shown that therapeutic listening therapy can impact a child’s nervous systems in various ways. Some of the main highlights of what it does include:
- Influences the child’s ability to control and use their eyes in relation to their body and head
- Influences the child’s biological rhythms to improve bowel/bladder control, hunger/fullness as well as sleep/wake cycles etc.
- Influences the child’s activity and arousal level to ensure that their ‘engine levels’ are just right
- Influences the child’s understanding of spatial awareness
- Influences the child’s extreme patterns of avoiding or seeking movement
The use of headphones
The chips used in therapeutic listening therapies often include sounds that can’t be replicated by low quality headphones. Dynamic range and resistance specifications exist because they have been specially formulated to ensure best results are achieved from a program.
High quality stereo headphones are recommended instead. Gadgets that are built with improved audio technology such as having a BioNetic design are compatible with the therapy chips and will offer unsurpassed comfort for children.
Therapeutic listening is often used in occupational therapy programs in CT. If you would like to find out more on how your child can benefit from such a program, do not hesitate to contact us today.