by Sam, Contributing Writer
As of last week I intended to do this week’s post on our current path and newest efforts. In addition to our therapists working to integrate Dave Hammer’s plans, our newest effort just happens to be listening therapy. Since there was just a write up on it by another friend I considered changing, but then thought it might be a great time to post on it. Maybe multiple experiences will be helpful to others.
Our occupational therapist recommended listening therapy in November. I was immediately up for it because Andon likes music anyway and it seemed like a simple enough activity to integrate into the day. I’m always up for easy ways to attempt to improve progress. With some research from my husband and concerns on how to get insurance help with the expensive headphones, we did drag our feet.
It wasn’t until about a month ago that we finally got the headphones in the mail and started the therapy. We were able to order our own headphones through the company, but rent the discs from our OT office. The goal is to listen for 30 minutes twice daily. I typically set up some sort of ‘center’ to keep Andon occupied twice a day or do it during meal time. These headphones allow him to hear what’s going on around him so he’s not secluded if he has them on at dinner.
Our experience so far has been that Andon is absolutely ‘done’ after 20 minutes. He says his ears are hot and he wants the headphones off. Since 30 minutes is our goal I buy as much extra time as I can and then let it go so that we don’t produce a bad experience. We also have trouble getting it in twice a day every day. We are a busy homeschool family so it just doesn’t flow to get in two 30 minute sessions of listening, but we’re working on that.
The activities I integrate are things like sand, dry rice play, play dough and busy bags. (Busy bags are a fun collection of homemade Pre-K activities that we made with a group of friends awhile back. You can do a Google or Pinterest search if interested.) I’ve also recently pulled in some of the snow as a center since we’ve had a ton of it here lately.
So far I’m ultimately appreciating the scheduled in center time. There have even been times that I noticed Andon ‘melting’ and overstimulated and I am able to use the therapy as more of low key sensory effort which typically helps calm him.
As far as progress/therapy is concerned, we’ve been at a standstill for a while. I’d say a month and a half. One therapist has had other obligations and illnesses and has cancelled quite a bit, while our new therapist recently had a baby. To be honest, we’ve enjoyed the small break a little bit despite the concern of taking a ‘break’. However, I have noticed better annunciation efforts in some words as well as some more multi-syllabic words just over the last few days. No improvements in conversation.
Can I say for certain that these small improvements are from listening therapy? Of course not, but we’re committed to trying it and intend to stick to it for a while. Just as Tara mentioned in her post there’s currently no magic. Yes, I too consistently hope for something magical, but I can find the silver lining in it and will continue using the program with hopes that something might click and improve things overall.
Bio: Sam lives in Kentucky with her husband of ten years and four children. Her son Andon was diagnosed with apraxia of speech at age three. He has a severe peanut allergy and some other food intolerances. Andon also has sensory processing disorder along with some sleep challenges. She is a stay at home, homeschooling mom with a bachelors degree in elementary education and a masters in early childhood.