Over the many years of dealing with sensory processing disorder and autism with a couple of our kids, I have learned so much. One thing we try very hard not to do is medicate our children, even if it might just be easier to give them a pill to calm them down. We will try every other possible thing to help them before even beginning thinking about that.
We have in the past given our son with ADHD medicine many years ago for a short time, but after finding out that the medicine changed him into a completely different child, we all decided (including him) that medication just wasn’t for us. Now I’m not saying medicine isn’t for everyone, we all have the right to make the best choices for our kids and I DO NOT judge anyone for their choices. But if you are thinking about medicating your child PLEASE do the research into it and see the side effects that it can have on your child before choosing to medicate. You owe that to your child!
Ethan has been one if those kids that had always made life quite interesting. He has quite a few odds against him in life. He was born with a cleft lip and palate, has been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, autism, brain damage, emotional regulation disorder, speech apraxia, and many other disorders that makes life just pretty difficult for him. We may at some point and time have no other choice but to medicate him or he will start having major self image issues, but for now we are trying every thing possible to not head down that path.
The first time I heard about how great listening therapy worked, was with the therapists working with the boys group. There were times that there was the whole group of boys coming in after school and they would be pretty loud and crazy, they would put the headphones on them and instantly calmed them down. It has something to do with the tones of the music! This is what made me very interested in looking into it further, one of the big problems we have with Ethan especially is that he gets revved up very easy and cannot (no matter how much help we give him) calm himself down.
There are 2 types of listening therapy that we have found found to be helpful for our kids.
Therapeutic Listening for Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism
The first part is the music in itself. You can use special headphones with the music which is the best way to do it, but on the downside they are quite expensive. They also offer an app in the iTunes store as well as Google Play store that you can download different songs to help out as well. The app will not give you he full benefits as the headphones, but it is still a help!
I will give my advise on the app as well, it DOES not work well on my Android phones, we have tried 2 different Android devices and they work sometimes and not others. My husbands iPhone the app works perfectly all the time though. So my suggestion would be only to download the app for Apple devices or onto iTunes on your computer if possible!!
We have had 2 very different children that we have used the app and headphones with, and seen great success.
- Ethan is our revved up hyper kiddo. Certain music was able to help calm him down and regulate him.
- Cody is our very slow Eeyore type kiddo, there are different music that helps to rev him up a little bit to get him to a more regulated level.
Here are the headphones our therapy center recommends you can purchase them right from Vital Sounds, they were made especially for the CD’s you can purchase or special music chips. These headphones are special and it is best to purchase these and not any kind of headphone. Our therapy center offers the music chips that can be used with them at no cost to us, which makes it much more affordable.
Auditory Integration Therapy for Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism
The second part to listening therapy is something we did for a 2 week period of time with our OT. AIT Therapy helps to retrain a disorganized auditory system. The way we hear things is not being processed properly this can interfere with our entire system, overall heath, and ability to function in harmony. The Berard Auditory Integration Training protocol is that a child will listen to modulated music on the device developed for Berard AIT using high quality headphones for 10 hours, over 10-12 consecutive days administered by a AIT Practitioner. In the end we have decided that it is very worth it to do this therapy!
This therapy can only be done by trained therapists, and luckily we were lucky enough to have a trained therapist in the center that we go to for weekly therapy. You can click HERE to find a list of therapists that can provide AIT Therapy. We were lucky enough to have the entire therapy session covered by our private insurance and did not even have co-pays for the therapy.
This therapy has been useful for children with ADD, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, aspergers, noise and sound sensitivities, behavioral issues, dyslexia, sensory processing disorder, speech and language delay’s, auditory processing disorder, attention issues, and hypersensitive hearing.
Great resources on Amazon!
How did intensive listening therapy work for us?
Well we didn’t see huge dramatic changes liked I had really hoped for, but there have been quite a few positive things we have noticed since Ethan finished his AIT Therapy!
- He is starting to see how others feel when he makes a bad choice words them. This is amazing, since before intensive therapy he did not understand or even care how others felt when he did something on purpose or accident to them.
- He is able to play with siblings for longer periods of time before making bad choices and even periods of time without being 100% supervised. One of the things that we struggle with is that Ethan could play with siblings at all without being 100% supervised, because we had to catch him before he went off into a fit. This could be caused by even the littlest things like someone not doing exactly what he wanted them to do and such.
- He is a little bit better regulated. One of the things he really struggled with is regulating himself. Since our intensive therapy he is regulated more often, definitely not all the time but even a little is an improvement for him!!
Here are a couple links to different studies that have been done to asses the effectiveness of listening therapy for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism I used to make my decision to start the therapies.
Want to catch up on the rest of Ethan’s story?I have written the following previous posts about his journey.
- Cleft Lip Repair Surgery
- Childhood Illness, RA, 12 Appointments in 1 Week, and More.
- Cleft Palate Repair Surgery
- Early intervention and Sensory Processing Disorder
- Ethan’s Sensory Processing Disorder Symptoms
- Life With Sensory Processing Disorder
- The If/Then Board
- Sleeping Issues and Visual Schedule
- Original Preschool Plans for Ethan
- Final Preschool Plans for Ethan
- Tonsils Out Tubes In
What are your experiences using therapeutic listening? Leave a comment letting me know I would love to hear from you!!
My Sensory processing disorder, Autism, Special Needs Pinterest board has many other great ideas, stop over and check it out!!
I am lining up with THESE great linky parties, stop over to find other great ideas for kids.
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