Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the programs we offer to support auditory processing. We have added the iLs program this year and are excited to share the information we have learned with you!
When listening happens effortlessly and efficiently, we hardly think about it! We use our listening to communicate and to socialize. Listening gives us information about the space around us, it helps us to understand the world around us. Listening connects us and helps us feel safe.
What happens when listening is not effortless or efficient? Some of our children have sensitivity to sound and can become anxious or startled in response to sound. Others may have difficulty processing sound; for example, they have difficulty hearing you calling them against all the voices and sounds of the playground. Maybe they cannot remember the words that were spoken and cannot follow through on requests. Some may have difficulty distinguishing the subtle differences in sounds ‘cat’ and ‘cap’ and these misunderstandings can have negative effects socially.
Sound is constantly processed by our auditory system. It is one of the sensory systems that develop in utero. The infant’s first sounds are the sounds of the mother’s heart beat and digestive sounds. Later their repertoire can include music, people’s voices and sounds in the mother’s environment. Sound is invisible, so for the child with anxiety related to sound, it can be very difficult and stressful to be in unpredictable environments as unexpected sound may occur.
The vestibular system orients us to gravity and ‘grounds’ us and the visual and auditory system orient us to the space around us. These three systems work hand in hand to give us accurate information about our environment and ourselves in our environment in relation to others and objects around us.
Let’s look at the different auditory programs we offer at Aquilla OT Services.
Therapeutic Listening - this program was developed by Sheila Frick, OTR. This program includes the ideas and theories of Dr. Alfred Tomatis, Dr. Guy Berard and Ingo Steinbach and incorporates the theory of sensory integration. Therapeutic Listening supports the development of:
Body awareness, bilateral coordination, postural control
Attachment and connection
The music in this program is recorded using specialized filters, which target specific frequencies to pass through. Music switches between low and high frequencies and this sounds like changes in the volume of music. Music can be delivered through a headset and MP3 player, or CDs, which enable music to pass through the air.
Suggested listening - 2 X 30 minutes/day, 7 days/week for 2-3 months
Bérard Listening Therapy - this program was developed by Dr. Guy Berard, based on the ideas of Dr. Tomatis. The Bérard Program is a more intensive program which supports the development of:
A regulated response to sound
Attention and focus
You can find more information about the Bérard Listening Program on our 'Bérard AIT' page!
Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) - this program was developed on the theories of Dr. Alfred Tomatis and Dr. Stephen Porges. iLs can support the development of auditory processing and decrease auditory sensitivity through the Focus Program. iLs can also support the feeling of safety to help children connect and learn, through the Safe and Sound Protocol. Both of these programs are now offered at the clinic.
One of the sensory branches of the vagus nerve innervates the inner ear and here is where the magic of the iLs listening program takes place. Listening to music within a comfortable range of tones can send a calming or ‘all is well’ message to the central nervous system.
iLs can also be used during OT sessions to increase the feeling of safety and connection (Safe and Sound Protocol) and enable children to develop comfort in listening, auditory processing skills, attention, focus, physical and cognitive skills, and to help integrate sensory input more effectively, through the Focus program. iLs now rents headphones and access to their listening programs so that listening can also be done at home.
The iLs stimulates the brain by:
Delivering specific sound frequencies that change (high/medium/low)
Offering vibrations through specialized bone conduction headphones -sound patterns (air conduction listening)
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to contact us with any questions!