If your child struggles with sensory processing disorder, you likely know how overwhelming sensory stimuli, such as taste or smell, can be for them.
Due to their sensory aversions, children with sensory processing disorder often struggle with everyday tasks like bathing and eating.
Fortunately, there is help.
Therapeutic listening occupational and physical therapy is an excellent choice of treatment for children with sensory processing disorder.
Here at Little Feet Therapy, we offer a variety of pediatric therapy services. In particular, we offer pediatric occupational therapy and pediatric physical therapy therapeutic listening treatments.
Let’s take a closer look at sensory processing disorder and how therapeutic listening works to find out more.
What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory processing disorder is a common diagnosis in children. One study estimates that up to one in six US children may have sensory processing issues.
Children with sensory processing disorder often display atypical responses to sensory information.
For example, the sound of a vacuum cleaner may cause a child with sensory processing disorder to feelstressed out, overwhelmed, or even nauseated.
Alternatively, children with sensory processing disorder may appear unresponsive to sensory information.
For example, a child with sensory processing disorder may fail to respond at the feeling of their hand being accidentally burned.
Interestingly, they might react in both ways in various situations. At times, they might be overwhelmed by sensory input, while other times they might be unresponsive.
Sensory processing disorder can affect several senses and skills, including:
- Balance and coordination
- Gross motor skill control
If you suspect that your child could have sensory processing disorder, you may notice that they struggle with sensory information surrounding one or more of the above senses.
What Is Therapeutic Listening?
Therapeutic listening is a treatment approached used by occupational and physical therapists to manage the symptoms of numerous conditions and disorders, including sensory processing disorder.
Therapeutic listening utilizes the use of pre recorded music in order to stimulate the nervous system as well as areas of the brain responsible for sensory processing.
By focusing on the connections between the auditory system and nervous system responses, such as increased heart rate, therapeutic listening can help teach your child how to regulate their responses to the sensory stimuli that they find stressful or uncomfortable.
Therapeutic listening requires the use of several tools, including:
- A device to play music, such as a phone or computer
- Specialized music
In order to maximize success, it is important to continue practicing therapeutic listening with your child at home.
How Does Therapeutic Listening Work?
If you are looking for therapeutic listening for your child, an occupational or physical therapist is an excellent choice.
Your child’s occupational or physical therapist will typically begin by instructing your child to listen to the music two times a day for 30 minute sessions, 7 days a week.
The type of music that your child will listen to will varies depending on your child’s individual needs and goals.
Your child’s occupational or physical therapist will carefully select and modify the music every two weeks, depending on your child’s response.
As they listen, an occupational or physical therapist may ask your child to participate in sensory integrative activities.
For instance, your child’s occupational or physical therapist may ask them to play with a sensory bin, work on motor skills, or smell different types of food, as they listen.
The length of duration for therapeutic listening depends on how well your child responses to treatment and can range from several weeks to months.
Therapeutic listening is not a stand alone treatment, but rather a treatment strategy that may be incorporated into your child’s treatment plan. It often accompanies sensory integration therapy as well as other treatments.
Who Can Benefit From Therapeutic Listening?
In addition to sensory processing disorder, therapeutic listening may be helpful for children experiencing a range of issues involving:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Motor planning, gross and fine motor skills
- Self regulation
- Oral motor skills and articulation
- Social skills deficits and communication issues
- Sensory defensive behaviors, such as crying at the feeling of clothing rubbing against skin
- Eating and sleeping patterns
- Responses to sounds and verbal directions
- Bowel and bladder control
- Energy levels
Some children may respond unfavorable to therapeutic listening, including children diagnosed with:
- Auditory evoked seizures
- Tic disorders
- Active ear infections
If your child has been diagnosed with any of the above conditions, make sure to check with your pediatrician or occupational therapist before your child begins treatment.
At Little Feet Therapy, we have a special interest in helping children with sensory processing difficulties.
If you think that your child could benefit from therapeutic listening, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more.
Our qualified and friendly team can’t wait to hear from you.
Book your appointment with Little Feet Therapy today to get started.