"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The start of our journey with Therapeutic Listening

 We started Therapeutic Listening Therapy a few weeks ago with Peanut and I had wanted to share our experience with the therapy.  I'm a little behind because of everything else that is going on in our lives but I'm hoping to catch up soon.  (Someday right?) 

What is Therapeutic Listening?
Therapeutic Listening is a therapy families can do with their children to help with issues with sensory modulation, attention, and core strength.  The child listens to music that has been recorded with very specific tones that when listened to, will effect the vestibular and auditory systems.  High quality headphones are used so the music can be heard at a better quality.  The therapy is done at home (or on the go, or in a clinic) for 30 minutes 2 times a day. The listening session must be at least 3 hours apart.  The child is able to do activities while listening as long as it doesn't distract them from listening to the music.  In other words no TV, no computer or video games, and no activities involving music.  Each CD has specific clinical applications.  Cd's are switched every 2 weeks.  The therapy lasts on average for 6 weeks.  A trained therapist selects the Cd's according to an extensive intake evaluation completed by the child's caregiver as well as a one on one evaluation done by the therapist.  At the end of each 2 weeks, the caregiver fills out a short re-evaluation form to ensure the next CD chosen is appropriate and that changes do not need to be made in the child's plan. The only downside is that the therapy is not covered by insurance.  For more information visit the Vital Links website. 

Week One and Two:
The first CD we were given was called "Rhythm and Rhyme: Orientation, Regulation, and Sensory Modulation."  It's goal is to address sensory modulation, orientation, and core activation.  The clinical application is to promote vocalization, singing, phonological awareness, assist with sensory modulation difficulties, and facilitate core musculature activation.  We were told we may see changes in arousal levels, attention, awareness of environment and people, increased vocalizations and awareness of sensations.

We purchased a CD player that is supposed to guard against skipping.  We also purchased the HD500A Sennheiser Headphones, and tune belt CD player carrier from the Vital Sounds websiteOne week before starting the therapy, we had Peanut wear the headphones and listen to music daily to get him used to wearing the headphones.  He started off only tolerating the headphones and music for 2 minutes, and by the end of the week he made it to 20 minutes a day.  I was a little worried we would have a problem doing the therapy if he wouldn't keep the head phones on, but soon discovered that when the therapeutic listening Cd's were in, he craved the music and wanted to keep them on! 

Once we started, we noticed that he was a bit whiny after each session, and in the first week he seemed to purposely seek out activities he knew he isn't supposed to do (for example, touching the TV).  At first I found it difficult to work the listening into our schedule but we quickly discovered what did and didn't work for us.  I found the best place for Peanut to listen was in the car.  I turn off the music in the car and he listens to his music.  Our drive to Sensory Integration therapy and Music therapy are each approximately 30 minutes so it works out perfectly and we can get at least one session in.  We also have done the listening while taking a walk, playing outside, in the grocery store, in our sensory room, and sitting at the table doing a fine motor activity such as play dough (actually Soy-yer dough) , moon dough, blocks, coloring etc.

For some time now we have been struggling with issues with Peanut jumping on top of Sassy and pinning her down, or walking over to her and pushing her.  We have worked with a BCBA (behavioral therapist) to stop this behavior.  We also tried working on the issue by addressing sensory needs.  Nothing worked.  After a week of therapeutic listening, we noticed that this behavior stopped completely.  Literally overnight!  I have not seen Peanut do it again since starting the therapy.

Two weeks into the therapy, there was a day that I got to spend alot of one on one time with Peanut.  We played pretend, we played board games, we did some chores, we sang. He actually wanted my attention and I was making sure to give it to him.  My phone rang, and I turned my attention to my phone (30 seconds maximum).  Peanut hit me in the head.  I looked at him, told him "no hitting" and looked back to my phone.  That is when he kicked me.  Peanut has never purposely kicked me like that...ever.  I scolded him and we went on with our day.  Anytime he didn't have 100% of my attention he would act out in some way or get whiny.  That night I started to research online to try to figure out if the uncharacteristic behavior was because of the therapeutic listening.  After my online search came back empty, I turned  to the wonderful "Ask a Friend" site on facebook and asked them what they thought.  As I was discussing the issues, a light bulb went off in my head.  Duh!  My son has NEVER actually wanted my attention!  I was looking at this all wrong.  This behavior wasn't a bad thing, it was a good thing!!!!!  The next morning I spoke with the therapeutic listening therapist and she agreed that this was a good thing.  She explained that Peanut was acting out because the desire to have my attention was new for him and he was probably unsure as to how to react to this new feeling.  He was acting out because he just didn't know what else to do!  After this, any time he has acted out we have stopped him and prompted him to give us the appropriate response. ("Uh, oh! No hitting.  Peanut, if you want mommy's attention you say, 'mom, can I have your attention?' ")  So far it's worked pretty well.
Peanut doing his Therapeutic Listening

So that was weeks one and two in a nutshell!  So far, so good!  I would (and have) recommend anyone struggling with sensory and attention issues to definitely try it!

Mommy Provost


  1. You and hubby are very special; Blessings

  2. Thank you for your post. I was just on the vital links website preparing to order the headphones. They along with the other equipment needed is a bit pricey so I've been googling trying to find them cheaper to no avail. I was also wondering if our insurance would cover them...and you answered that question.

    Well it is warming to know that the price maybe well worth it. My daughter has sensory processing issues that I've known all along however now that she's in pre-K it has become apparent to her teachers as well. Even though I've known this it's still a tough pill to swallow hearing everyone else discuss it.

    Thank you for posting! And i'll head back over to order :--)! {And stop being a cheap-o lol!)

    1. I'm glad I could help. I'd love to hear how she does. God Bless you and your family!