Thursday, August 2, 2012

Therapeutic Listening

Recently we started therapeutic listening with Adeline.  When her new occupational therapist started working with Adeline and told me that she thought it would be beneficial, I did not know much about it.

I had heard of it because at one time the OT at Hope Haven's Down Syndrome Clinic had recommended it to us.  So I was excited to give it a try.  Our OT comes to our house weekly so it was not like we would be going to a center daily to do the therapy.  We needed to purchase our own equipment.  We purchased our equipment from Vital Sounds.  It was expensive and if you know me personally you would know that I am very frugal.  I had to put a lot of thought and research into this purchase, but we did it.

It has been 3 or 4 weeks since we have started our program, listening twice a day for a half hour each time.  I have seen huge changes in Adeline's fine motor, auditory listening, and speech.  She is putting more and more words together and she is singing parts of the songs.  I am so excited about what I have seen in this short time.  I can't wait to watch what is yet to come.

Adeline's OT has written a book called Advance My Baby.  This book is a must for all new parents, it is a guide to help your child develop and learn.  You can find more information at her web site

She has written an article that includes some information about therapeutic listening that I wanted to share:

  Unexpected Ways to Jump Start Your Child's Processing Skills
Written by: Paula Tarver, OTR/L and co-author, Advance My Baby

Sensory Integration, providing sensory processing activities and exercises that incorporate a lot of vestibular stimulation can jump start your child's processing skills. Activities that have jumping, rocking, swinging, or spinning in them, have the biggest impact on the vestibular system. Children that have sensory processing issues have under developed or immature vestibular systems. This can lead to learning problems with under achieving, poor reading and math comprehension,  writing skills, focus/attention, and behavioral problems.
Balametrics, a program that provides products that improve brain functions, states that timing coordination is critical to the integration of our senses by using full brain processing. Activities that stimulate and develop efficient balance also refine the brain's temporal processes. Demands on timing require a significant expansion of neuron firing, which in turn increase cognition and intelligence. For example, it takes approximately 500,000 neurons to develop the timing ability to hit a target at five ft. vs 32 million neurons at 10 ft.
Essential Fatty Acids, are the building blocks of the membranes of every cell in the body, with the brain having the highest concentration of fat. Brain synapses require long chain fatty acids (DHA) to be efficient. The forebrain which is the part of the brain used for sustained attention, has the highest concentration of DHA. Essential Fatty Acids are specific fats that cannot be produced in the body. They must be consumed in one's diet or a deficiency will occur. There are two different types of EFAs, Omega 3's and Omega 6's. Children with sensory processing disorders, ADHD, Developmental Delays, or Learning Disabilities are shown to be deficient in EFAs. It is important to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils in the diet because these oils actually block the body's ability to absorb any of the good oils that are consumed. A diet high in partially hydrogenated oils will lead to EFA deficiency.
Therapeutic Listening, is a specialized listening program with headphones and spectrally activated CD's. The CD's are electronically altered and vary in musical style, sound quality and level of enhancement. Therapeutic Listening is a treatment modality used to directly stimulate the auditory/vestibular system. Therapeutic Listening uses sound training in combination with sensory integrative treatment techniques which emphasize vestibular stimulation and postural movement strategies. When incorporated into a sensory integrative treatment approach, changes are typically observed in sensory modulation, attention, eye contact, and behavioral organization, i.e. a reduction in sensory   defensiveness and a "smoothing out" of mood variances and arousal states. Improvements also related to balance, coordination of movement within the environment, postural organization and motor skills, presumably due to the strong ties with the vestibular system. Similar changes have been observed in related motor skills such as improved use of bilateral motor patterns, "emergence" of praxis, improved articulation, and improved  fine motor skills. Sometimes there are positive changes in handwriting, math comprehension, and reading skills. Teachers sometimes notice that the child is paying more attention in learning situations and seem less "stressed" with understand basic learning concepts. Parents often report that their child is happier or seems more relaxed or "enjoys life and the little things in life more." Sleep patterns may also improve.
NeuroNet, a program that addresses sensory processing skills through exercises that work on the efficiency of mirror neurons. If you stick your tongue out at a newborn, they will automatically stick their tongue out back at you. This is because their mirror neurons are firing and it helps them to imitate what they are seeing. The old myth 'yawning is contagious' comes from your mirror neurons firing without you realizing it. When someone smiles at you, it is hard to resist smiling back. Humans learn through watching and observing other humans. As they observe an action, their mirror neurons fire and form new neuro-pathways as if they were performing the action themselves. Efficient mirror neuron activity leads to good overall development in all areas and leads to higher emotional intelligence. Professional ball players, dancers, gymnasts, artists, surgeons, and actors have very efficient mirror neurons. Children with emotional delays and poor coordination have inefficient mirror neurons.

Sensory Integration (also called Sensory Processing) is the brain's ability to interpret, organize, and respond to the information that we receive through these senses for functional behavior. The more effective our nervous system processes the information it receives, the more coordinated, or "in sync," we become with our environment.

A new standard in parenting
Call toll free 855-AMB-BABY

Paula Tarver, OTR/L and Jeanne Martin, OTR/L are co-authors of Advance My Baby. Babies are not born with a how-to manual, but this is what you have with Advance My Baby. You can now put into place the building blocks that lead to academic success, athletic prowess, emotional balance and social acceptance. For the first time, instruction is provided for the first 36 months of life that create the ultimate foundation for your baby.
Advance My Baby, is the first parent-friendly manual to address all areas of development. Each chapter covers developmental areas of gross motor, fine motor, cognitive, language, emotional/social, and self-care skills with color photos, graphics, and activities/exercises for your baby. It is a self-help manual for parents that will empower and equip them with the developmental knowledge necessary for their child to reach their full potential. 


  1. hi, can you review more on the equipment used?

  2. Sure Lydia, I will work on that for you! Thanks for stopping by

  3. yes, I went to Vital sounds web page..just wasnt sure what to get to get started..thanks

  4. I wonder if your OT can help me find the most budget friendly set up? I've been mulling the idea of therapeutic listening with Trevy but just don't even know where to start?


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