Therapeutic Listening (TL) as developed by occupational therapists Sheila Frick and Colleen Hacker, uses sound in combination with sensory integrative techniques to support a variety of functional outcomes. All of our senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, hearing and vision) work together to help us understand and interact effectively with our world. In particular, sound combined with movement provides vital information about the orientation of the body in space and time that forms the basis of sensory motor function and perceptual organization. For this reason, Therapeutic Listening incorporated into a sensory integration treatment typically results in positive changes including improvements in:
• Organization of behavior
• Postural Control
• Coordination of Body Sides
• Oral motor Skills / Articulation
• Motor planning
• Fine Motor Skills
• Visual-Motor Integration
• Social Skills/ Communication
When engaged in a therapeutic listening program children listen to electronically altered compact discs based on the ideas and technology created by Alfred Tomatis, Guy Berard and Ingor Steinbach, pioneers in sound therapy. The music prescribed for the child varies in style, types of filtering and level of complexity according to the needs of the child and the goals of the program. Children typically participate in a therapeutic listening program for 2-6 months, listening for an hour a day while engaged in other activities at home, or school. In some cases, listening programs become part of longer term intervention program that supports a child’s “sensory diet.” During occupational therapy sessions, listening is combined with activities to facilitate attention, organization, postural control and movement resulting in overall improvements in functional skills.
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Material adapted from: Frick,S.M. and hacker, C. (2001) Listening with the Whole Body. Madison, WI: Vital Links. www.vitallinks.net