Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

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AmandaBroadfoot
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:31 pm

Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby AmandaBroadfoot » Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:41 pm

When I first heard about therapeutic listening, I was very dubious. I didn't understand how wearing headphones and listening to weird sounds was going to do anything except seriously tick Billy off. Having completed the program now, we still can't conclusively say that his gains were specifically because of therapeutic listening, but I would call myself a tentative believer. Dave, for the record, is still skeptical.

There are few therapies associated with autism, though, where you can draw a direct correlation between what you do and changes in behavior. If we change Billy's diet and see an immediate derailment into tantrum-land, we sometimes start blaming something he ate. He could also, though, be tired, have taken a irrational dislike to the neighbor's cat which keeps showing up in our yard, or have a headache. Until he can really talk to us about what's going on in his head, we just give it our best guess.

The same thing is true about good behavior and gains in communication. We want so much to believe that any particular therapy is working. Or I should say, I do. Dave is comfortable in the permanent "It's BS till they prove to me otherwise" skeptic position.

So we look for a few things in any therapy: First, do no harm. We have to know that there's no downside before we try something. Secondly, does he enjoy it? We believe strongly in following his joy -- to the point that it does no harm. (He can find joy in riding his inflatable spaceship down the steep staircase but we do have to draw the line somewhere.) Finally, where's the science? We want to see a recent, reputable scientific study with real data -- which I then hand off to Dave to read.

Therapeutic Listening (a trademarked term but I can't figure out how to make that "R" with a circle around it) passed our test. The aim of this therapy is to help autistic kids, with underdeveloped nervous systems, differentiate the human voice from other noises in their environment. Based on what Dave explained to me -- and I could have some of this wrong; I majored in English lit and creative writing and I sometimes, admittedly, tune out when he's talking about science -- this specially filtered music and specially designed headphones help build up certain muscles in the ear whose primary purpose is to recognize the human voice.

You have to find a therapist trained in Therapeutic Listening to administer the therapy. Then you have to buy the special headphones. We ordered ours from Vital Sounds for about $145. And a CD player with a random play button and the ability to turn off the bass. There are about a dozen different CDs, ranging in theme from animal sounds to kid songs to Mozart; special sounds and clicks have been added to each one, and if an adult, with a fully developed nervous system, tries to listen to it, it can make you feel slightly dizzy or even nauseous. I got an immediate headache after about a minute of listening to "Mozart for Modulation."

But Billy didn't. He liked some CDs better than others but on the whole, he didn't mind sitting down for "headphone time" twice a day, for 30 minutes per session. Our OT let us rent the CDs for $10 a pop (if you buy them, each costs about $40) and each CD would last us two weeks. Billy hated the one with dolphin sounds on it (and who wouldn't?! That was two weeks from hell.) but loved "Peach Jamz," which was a series of upbeat kid songs to which he'd sing along. We worked in one 30-minute session before school, usually while he was eating breakfast, and one after school.

Kids are allowed to eat, ride in the car, or play with toys while listening. They can't watch TV or really interact anything with bright flashing lights or loud sounds. Ideally, he would walk around and play while listening, but we could never get him to wear the fanny pack into which the CD player inserts, so he mostly just sat and looked at books or played with table toys.

At the beginning of this therapy, he wouldn't even allow headphones to touch his head. By the end of the series, he had no problem with headphones -- but he still has strong resistance to hair washing, brushing or cutting. He has become much more verbal over the past six months, and his potty training has made significant strides. Six months ago, we were at our wits end with the tantrums and he had also started head-banging, which was alarming to say the least. Now, that is extremely rare. His connections to people are much stronger and his eye contact is much better. He said, "I love you, Mama," to me for the first time in December. He is more likely to look at someone when he's talking to them. Whether he looks up when we call his name is still a crap shoot, but it's better.

** BUT ** (And I want to put this BUT in bright neon letters!!) Therapeutic Listening is NOT the only therapy we've been doing. Far from it. We are committed to Floortime, regular occupational therapy, speech therapy, music therapy and Kindermusik. And I can't overstate the importance of going to school and learning from his peers and teachers. He attends pre-Kindergarten five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and he loves it.

Now that we've finished the Therapeutic Listening series, our occupational therapist has recommended we purchase the CD Billy really likes -- "Peach Jamz" -- and continue on a two-week on, two-week off schedule. Apparently, the nervous system can get too used to one CD if you listen to it every day.

We're thinking about it. We want to see if there are any changes in his behavior when we stop doing Therapeutic Listening for a while. If so, we may pick it back up in a month. I would love to hear from any other families who tried this therapy. And if you have any questions about it that I didn't cover here, please email me or post a comment. When we started, we were disappointed not to be able to find more experiences from parents online.

Thanks,

Amanda

Dani
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:55 am

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby Dani » Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:22 pm

Amanda - Thank you for writing that really informative post. We're thinking of doing therapeutic listening this year. The preschool teacher said my child likes to wear headphones and listen to music so I hope we have success with a listening program.
I didn't know how strong I could be until I had to be.

thereiderfamily
Posts: 145
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 11:24 am

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby thereiderfamily » Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:34 pm

What an incredibly thorough and honest review. We just started this program 3 weeks ago. I purchased the same headphones, and recognize the titles of the CDs. Luckily, our OT just lets us have a CD free of charge for two weeks at a time and then we switch it for the next one. He gets an OT session once a week - so they are billing for that each week.

What I have found interesting is that my son will typically break out in a sweat while listening. So, it's doing something - but, what, I am not sure. We have noticed an improvement in sentence composition and a reduction in stuttering/stammering. We have not seen a reduction in stimming (for him, a sort of masturbating type thing), which is what we were hoping for most. Of course, we started Enhansa (well, the generic version of it) at the same time - so as usual, this will be hard to gauge. I don't know why I always do that, too impatient I guess!

My son had already made great strides before starting this - going from completely non-verbal and "not there" at 3.5 to very talkative and engaging now, at almost 6 years old. He is completely potty-trained and does not have any health issues (allergies, need for special diets, etc.) We've come a long way. Most of his gains are due to traditional early interventions and the 'brain balancing' technique. Up next, we are very interested in neurofeedback, particularly the LENS method.

Thank you for sharing your experience! I enjoyed reading it.
Sara [WAHM] - [url=http://www.snugfits.com]funny onesies[/url]
Mama to 3 boys: Gavin [2004] autism, Garrett [2006] & Bodie [2008]

mimicry
Posts: 2143
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby mimicry » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:08 pm

you may all enjoy reading this. I read it when we tried this with my son, I found it amazing.
http://www.journeyswithautism.com/categ ... listening/

Janie
Posts: 750
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:18 pm

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby Janie » Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:06 pm

We've been donig the same listening program w/DS, and I easily rate it as one of the best things we've done for him. It is hard to know where the gains are coming from sometimes, but several times we've been able to see things within just a couple of days of starting a new disc, and they're things that other therapies aren't addressing, so it's easy to trace them back to the music.
Mom to one 6 yr old - HFA

sweetsarah
Posts: 316
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:47 pm

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby sweetsarah » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:57 am

Hey Amanda, Can you please tell me what CDs have helped him the most in speech. The CD that my son is listening currently seems to help him with auditory sensitivities but not much improvement in speech.

Another info is that it is better to listen while getting some vestibular stimulation so swinging, jumping, running etc while listening to CD would be great.

AmandaBroadfoot
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby AmandaBroadfoot » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:10 pm

We really saw the most gains for Billy's speech at the very beginning of Therapeutic Listening and at the very end. We were doing the Rhythm and Rhyme Cd and the Peach Jamz during those phases, I believe. But I think that had as much to do with the fact that Billy liked those CDs and would tolerate them for the full 30 minutes (which was not always the case with some of the others). So you may have to find which your child responds to the most. The reactions seem to be as varied as the kids!

Strangely enough, we saw huge gains in potty training during Mozart for Modulation, and without my even mentioning it to the OT, she asked me, "Did you have potty training gains this week? I've heard that often happens on this CD." Imagine my surprise!

Thanks to everyone for all the feedback. I'm pretty sure we're going to start up again after a short break.

hope4andrew
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:35 am

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby hope4andrew » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:23 pm

We did therapeutic listening program and it made my son plug is ears and now he cannot handle loud noises . before this program he was fine and can handle loud noises and he would not hum all day with his ears plug. Now he can not go to stores without having a meltdowns, with any crying he hears from other kids. GOing to school is not a option now. SO this program made my son regress. This was in 2008 now its 2010 . Thanks to the Disc Ease 4 CD and probably the person doing this didn't have much experience.. I am nervous to try anything to see if I can fix this problem. I know its not yeast or lack of Mag or Zinc . He pretty much started this right after the disc 4 . I hope you all get gains I just never would want anyone go through what we went through.

OneRockAtATime
Posts: 3632
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:20 pm

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby OneRockAtATime » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:02 am

I would saw my arm off for them can't afford them and there is no one near me doing it so I would have to pay the 2 grand to get the right help. Heaven smile down on me plz I know my son needs this. He can't hear or say certain sounds and can't hear certain words if spoken by a woman but can if they are spoken by a man. His hearing is off and need recallibrated.

mimicry
Posts: 2143
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby mimicry » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:49 am

How much is the training course for vital sounds? Last year when they sold to the public the cds were around $60 each.

benjaminjohnsmom
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:27 am

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby benjaminjohnsmom » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:00 pm

We do the listening program at home. Our therapist is in kansas and we email each other with any questions or updates. I paid for the program it is ours to own. I think it cost us around $500 for the whole program cds and headphones. I purchased the cd player at walmart. If you would like I can send you the name of our certified provider she is also the therapist. We do 2 fifteen minute sessions a day and we are on week 11 now. LOVE IT.

OneRockAtATime
Posts: 3632
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:20 pm

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby OneRockAtATime » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:58 pm

Please email me the info mabye you have found a door that I have not to open. I know in my gut this is something my son needs. Thank you so much.

Arydigital
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:13 am

Re: Our experience with Therapeutic Listening

Postby Arydigital » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:16 am

I would saw my arm off for them can't afford them and there is no one near me doing it so I would have to pay the 2 grand to get the right help. Heaven smile down on me plz I know my son needs this. He can't hear or say certain sounds and can't hear certain words if spoken by a woman but can if they are spoken by a man. His hearing is off and need recallibrated.


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