Therapeutic listening is an approach that recognises that listening goes well beyond the ears and is a function of the brain .
The way we listen affects the way we behave , and so to that end therapeutic listening uses sound training together with sensory integrative techniques that don’t just stimulate the auditory system but also help rewire those parts of the brain that enable us to hear . What’s more it can help people who exhibit a myriad of behaviour types .
Therapeutic listening uses electronically modified music with rhythmic sound patterns in order to stimulate and trigger the self organising capacities of the nervous system , and as such , a person’s progression through the program will depend on how they respond at any particular point . In other words , its adapted to a person’s specific needs. We did the home based program and did it twice a day while doing a floor time activity or while doing a physical activity . Our experience with therapeutic listening showed improvements in many areas such as : *better hand-eye coordination which resulted in better hand writing , better coordinated movements , better concentration , less anxiety as well as better articulation .
I am a certified therapeutic listening practitioner and recommend you use the Vital Link website to find a practitioner in your area .
Floor time therapy is the notion of following the child’s lead and engaging with the child at his level.
Therapists teach parents how to direct children into a meaningful and complex interaction which is called ‘opening and closing circles of communication.
This therapy changed our lives , as our son at the age of 4 had a very limited vocabulary and through the sessions we have managed to introduce new concepts and words.
The speech and language therapy he was doing at the time did not seem to have a positive affect on him and his articulation was poor as there was not much engagement from his side at the time.
The therapy method was created by Dr. Stanley Greenspan it was developed in order to help children communicate as well as reach higher level of thinking.
Following the child lead and participate in a play and imagination world is a fun way children become “problem solvers ” and can reach higher levels of studying.
Floortime therapy target the improvement in the following areas of communication and personal development:
– Self-regulation and interest in the world – many children on the spectrum have rigid thoughts and actions which limits their progress.
– Intimacy, or engagement in human relations
– Two-way communication
– Complex communication
– Emotional ideas and development of letting the child express feelings and emotions with no boundaries.
– Emotional thinking and logical thinking.
– Floortime helps the child make logical connections : for instance if the child is playing with a car and wants to stack the car in a small cupboard ….you don’t just open the cupboard for
the child but try to create an obstacle like blocking the front of the cupboard to let the child solve the ‘problem’ using communication skills forcing a thinking process and asking relevant questions.
The parent should remain objective playful and never judgmental as this will send the wrong message to the child, the idea to follow the child lead is to help with engaging the communication.
The child could see that the parent takes interest and is engaged in the activity.
We learnt the importance of back and forth communication at the time of play and the negative effect of plastic modern flashy toys with digital sounds that destruct the child’s attention and isolate the child further.
During our sessions Guy was developing his capacity to stay in a continuous flow of interaction, engage in shared problem solving and express his ideas in pretend play and conversation with the therapist and Tommy (his younger brother).
Stanley Greenspan You tube video:
In this post I’ve gathered different resources that I found helpful through the years, some can be made at home with a bit of effort and others can be purchased on a small budget.
Resources for hand-eye coordination :
- Hitting a ball hanging from the ceiling ,bunting the ball ,catching it /hitting with a plastic tennis racket
hitting a ball
- For the following resource you would need a tennis ball, tweezers and small pieces of paper:
Get a standard tennis ball, cut it in the middle and them crunch small pieces of paper at the side.
- Ask your child to hold the ball with one hand .opening the ‘mouth of the ball’ and with the other hand insert the pieces of paper using the
Tennis ball eye -hand coordination
- Throwing balls into a bucket- you could use a small ping-pong ball or tennis ball together with a small bucket you can find at home, I have used different types of textures sizes hardness and colors to add another layer to the sensory input.
- Prickly pile up- was a hit in my household when each boy in his turn tried to “pile up” another hedgehog on top of the others making sure they keep “hanging on”
Resources for Spatial awareness :
- Spinning – the feeling of spinning around and getting used to the movement is very important in the way the child develop the spatial awareness this could be done with a desk chair or with the ‘Astronaut board’ below as part of the program.
- Directionality : drawing arrows ,mazes and following the direction with arrows helps understanding directionality as your child will physically add the arrows where appropriate.
Primitive Reflexes- (as part of occupational therapist plan) :
Gross motor activity :
- Jumping on a trampoline /Bosu – also helps with spatial awareness
- Jumping from one hula hoop to another- lay 3 to 4 hula hoops on the floor and get your child to jump.
- Skipping : skipping can be a tricky task for some kids : we first practiced jumping and then learnt the arm motion with poi –socks ( you can make easily at home or buy it ready made.
- jumping jacks exercise -straightforward jumping while moving arms and legs
- Wheel-barrow exercise : hold the child legs and have him walk on his hands around the house .
- Putting legs on the wall while the child’s hands are the floor.
- Using a balancing board while hitting a ball which is tied to the ceiling variation: throwing and catching ballons while on the balancing board –
- Walking on a beam – there is no need to purchase a beam as you can practice walking in a straight line on pavements outside or in the park.
- Walking on colored stones – helps children build confidence when jumping, judging distances, coordinating and balancing
- Working on inward/outward position of the toes : we did so with a pigeon/duck walk chart I created .
duck pigeon walk
- Stretchy arm bands or resistance band, they are really great to have at different resistance levels as they can help with motor planning, hand-eye coordination, proprioception and spatial awareness.
- Pointy dog exercise (Bird dog)
- Superman excercise
- Marching straight in line with fingers pointing up – this exercise helps with directionality.
Resources for logical thinking :
*Geoboard – great little board that helps with directionality creativity and mesuring distances as well
- Wooden blocks: Here are some examples for possible structures, the child might find it overwhelming at the beginning so I would recommend to start with an easy setup
- Parquetry blocks – geometrical shapes that can be sorted in as part of a picture or pattern
- “Thinkfun pathwords” – word game good for spatial orientation , directionality etc..
There are few other games from ‘Think fun’ which also contribute to directionality and spatial orientation .
- Q-bitz: a visual challenge game.
Resources for writing :
- Pelican pencils , tried a variety of pencil grip but found the pelican pencil the best for my kids as its stable and sturdy.
- There are many resources out there which are aimed at helping children in learning to write . I have tried some which combine music and learning but I have found out that there is a set of basic skills a child has to have before he or she are ready to write.
- The visual skills are focusing , tracking and teaming making sure both eyes are working together to be able to learn to write .When the child is ‘Ready to learn’ I found ‘writing without tears’ to be a good resource.
Oral resources to help in articulation and speech :
- Chewy necklaces and Ark grabber both are chewy but the arc is thicker and helps in jaw movement, tongue movement, and oral exploration.
mouthing, and oral motor development.
- Blowing and making bubbles using different size of straws
- Whistles : variety of different kinds .(recommended resource kit
- Blowing a variety of balloons from different sizes and shapes
- Baby chewy toys
- Sucking non sugar lollies (organic lollipops)helps to develop the muscles in our mouth
- Using a mirror moving the tongue in circles after putting fruity lip-balm / putting one lip over the other sucking lips inwards and pulling tongue out
- Using electric tooth brush on the lips for sensory input
Speech and Language :
- Games for WH questions : super duper publications have got a verity of games for Speach and language
- Auditory workout App: this is a wonderful application designed for children with auditory processing disorder .
- Learning to sequence : 6 set scene game by ‘Carson Dellosa’ publishing
- Social stories : creating social stories . I created some , one of them appears on Amazon , it was a story dealing with friendship and competition brother rivalry and relationship I offer it for FREE on this page.
- Black sheep publications offer games that help in problem solving , imagination and prediction.
- Tell tale – card game that encourage imagination and creativity together with communication skills.
- What a performance – perform a variety of noises, actions and activities to help children express themselves in a unique way.
- Metronome- clapping hands at the right rhyhem and developing awareness to sound and music.
- ‘Loopz Shifter’ game : An action memory game that used light and sounds to help in memorizing the steps.
- Nutrition : healthy diet helps in revealing stress avoiding process foods added sugar and white flour.