Sound-based sensory intervention is usually part of the sensory integration therapies used to help children with a sensory processing disorder. Some people under-react to sensory stimulation because their auditory system does not send the message to the brain quickly for a prompt reaction. However, not everyone with sensory processing disorder requires listening therapy.
Before the listening program is introduced, the therapist will evaluate the child to determine if it is necessary. Listening therapy programs are only effective when auditory stimulation is necessary. It is important to verify if listening therapy should be included in the other sensory processing therapies being adopted to help manage stimuli responses.
Improved attention and focus
Children with sensory processing disorder often have a short attention span. This makes it difficult for them to complete a task they have started without getting distracted. The listening program trains them to retain a longer attention span and focus on one thing at a time.
The listening therapy usually lasts about half an hour a session. Therapists recommend at least two sessions every day. This requires commitment and trains a child to sit through all the tasks he undertakes beyond the listening program.
The child learns to self-regulate his reactions.
The listening program exposes the child to various frequencies. To an adult without auditory stimulation issues, this can be unpleasant. However, a child trying to seeking auditory stimulation will be fascinated.
Over time, the child will figure out the frequency that calms him and music that excites him. Children on the autism spectrum usually have emotional outbursts. Listening therapy helps them to find a balance and even control their reactions to sensory stimulation.
Development of fine motor skills
Sensory processing disorder affects children in various ways. For some, the development of their motor fine motor skills delay. Such children struggle with basic things, such as holding a pencil, writing, threading beads, or even playing with legos.
Listening therapy helps such children to focus on what they are doing. Sometimes, it gets them to work on autopilot since they are enjoying the music. The listening program is used together with other sensory processing therapies so that children can improve their stimuli responses in various ways.
Improved sleep patterns
Listening programs help children to unwind and relax. This therapy is especially effective in hyperactive children who tend to over-respond to sensory stimulation. The music helps to soothe them and lull them to sleep. Since they are relaxed, they tend to have an uninterrupted sleep, which ultimately helps improve their mood.
Better balance and motor coordination
It is easy to assume a child is clumsy or careless. However, sometimes, the problem is beyond their control if the problem is delayed or misinterpreted feedback from the brain after sensory stimulation. Music improves focus and helps the brain to interpret the sensory stimuli correctly. This allows the child to have better balance and coordination.
Improved communication and social skills
The listening program helps control sensory overload, which often keeps children with sensory processing disorder away from crowds and noise. Now that the children are learning to control their responses to sensory stimulation, they become more tolerant of environments they once rejected. This helps children to build socializing skills and even enjoy some of the games they previously avoided.
There is much to gain from listening therapy. While these are the general benefits, some children may see some of these benefits, while others may see more benefits. The listening program’s therapeutic gains depend on how often the child attends the session and the extent of the auditory sensory shortfalls.