Listening Training? Huh? Is that some new form of obedience school for children?
No, silly! It’s an awesome auditory processing tool that I decided I wanted my son to experience.
Listening is the primary foundation for competency in speaking, reading, writing and social interaction. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is the passive reception of sound, while listening is the active acknowledgment and organization of sound. Listening is the interpretation of sounds in the brain. Individuals with autism and other learning disabilities can have significant listening disabilities.
The process began with an extensive questionnaire and interview to assess Justin’s history, strengths and deficits, sensory issues, diet, behaviors, and more. From that and the desired skill set indicator (specific, measurable goals), a listening program was custom-engineered and shipped to us for his first intensive.
This intensive, two-hour sessions per day for fifteen days, consisted of low-frequency music files and narrated stories. He listened in special bone and air conduction headphones to sounds with different filtering, gating and delays sent separately to the right and left ear to wake up the brain and stimulate his vagus nerve.
Low frequency training addresses issues with basic body functions, including fine motor skills, toileting, balance, appetite, sleep, spinning, and the need to crash into things (sensory-seeking proprioceptive behavior). The vagus nerve connects the brain to the body’s major organs, delivering vital messages via the parasympathetic nervous system.
Our Experience with Listening Time
I thought it would take an Act of Congress to get my child to sit still and listen to ANYTHING for two hours. Knowing that he could engage in conversation, do homework, draw, or sleep during Listening Time helped my willingness to try it
He LOVED this time. Every day there was a new experience that he looked forward to; each session alternated between music and narrated stories. But this isn’t just “music therapy”, the files are engineered to delay and repeat in specific ways that wake up the brain and “rewire” neural pathways! By day two, he actually fell asleep during Listening Time. YES! (it works whether the child is awake or asleep)
It was made very clear to me that this is a long-term process, not a magic bullet or overnight solution to anything. Each intensive consists of roughly two weeks of Listening Time and a four-to-six week “integration” period before the next one.
The Noticeable Changes
Each child is different, and I was also prepared to see no real gains within the first intensive, which was to be expected. In fact, there was a strong possibility of seeing some regression, or behaviors getting worse before they got better. We had a mixed bag of experiences, all positive in regard to the big picture.
I first noticed Justin expressing frustration at small things quite a bit. He had a few more tantrums and meltdowns than I was prepared for. However, I was able to take a step back and realize that he was feeling things for the first time and had to learn how to react and respond to these new feelings. This was good!
He started falling asleep to Listening Time, and was relaxed and in bed by 9:30 several nights in a row! You don’t understand, this is a child that even with a Melatonin pill in his system would be-bop around like a whirling dervish until at least midnight. This was HUGE. It also meant we started consecutively making it to school on time for a change!
Other amazing observations include Justin being able to do his homework in his own handwriting and having an easier time in the bathroom; his typical 45-minute potty experience began taking 15 minutes or less. Wow.
It’s been a few weeks since his first intensive and he continues to show new behaviors that astound me. He recently looked at a bad grade in school and showed remorse that he did not complete the assignment. Given another chance, he was able to draw the conclusion that he could change his grade by completing it then and promptly did so. He apologizes when he unintentionally hurts me and is much less hyper. He is starting to think through responses rather than mimic phrases.
I know these things will continue to improve as I support him fully with other modalities and tools we already use, as well as clean up his diet (progress, not perfection!). I love being able to ease some of his struggles without attempting to change who he is.
The next intensive will address planning and organization, language, multi-step instructions, magnitude, expression, and more, so we’re VERY EXCITED about that!
I will be releasing a video and free report that goes into more detail about EnListen®… stay tuned as I share with you our journey with Listening Training!
And uh…thanks for listening.
Sorry… I had to