Monday, June 29, 2009

Therapeutic Listening

Mateo is starting this new program my mom (who is an OT) just got certified in. It's called "Therapeutic Listening". It's an Occupational Therapy tool for kids with Autism but also for other "issues" that relate to Mateo such as; impulse control, attentiveness, calming the sensory system, flexibility (in life, not body) and adaptability, motor planning, spacial awareness, fine motor skills, sleeping patterns, and speech and language improvement. The program consists of a special set of headphones and a series of CD's specific to each task. Mateo wears the headphones playing the CD on shuffle for thirty minutes twice a day. Okay, so we haven't quite reached 30 minutes yet. But hopefully we'll get there. We're doing a lot of bribing. But the child can still run around and play even with the headphones on and it doesn't block normal sound so they can still hear what's going on. It's actually really cool to listen to because the music is played a very specific way to trigger the brain to listen better and I think make certain connections in different parts of the brain. It sounds like someone is playing around with the volume on the CD, but that's the way it's supposed to be. I can't wait to see if we get any results.

We also made an appointment to have Mateo evaluated by an outpatient Occupational Therapist. He is attending Special Ed in our school district (starting tomorrow, actually) and he will get speech therapy and possibly OT (they are waiting to see how he does in the classroom first), but I feel that he needs more specific sensory integration therapy that the school does not provide. But this outpatient clinic has a special room (like a playroom with mats and stuff) that is all for sensory play and therapy. And that's what I'd like for Mateo. The sensory integration therapy combined with the therapeutic listening is supposed to have the biggest effect.

We've always said Mateo was a challenge, strong-willed, persistent, spirited and all that, even on this blog. But now that he's three, I feel like we're encountering more than just typical spirited child stuff and we're at a loss about how to manage him. Don't get me wrong, there are times when he behaves very well. This is especially true for babysitters and in public. But at home, he can be really difficult. So we're trying to pinpoint what he's having difficulty with in order to help him, thereby helping us. We've tried everything we can parenting-wise. I've read all the books, talked to an adoption therapist, been to conference about behavior, and tried lots of techniques. Unfortunately, nothing works. And really, I mean nothing. The main issues are what I mentioned above, but what make parenting him a challenge is his impulsiveness, his inability to listen long enough to be corrected, coping with change/transitions/"no"/waiting, and his frustration tolerance. Obviously lots of 3 year old's have these problems. But like I've always said, with Mateo, it's to the extreme. And I don't think it's about behavior anymore. I think the issue is something more organic, if that makes sense. Which is why we're trying different therapies, and even chiropractic care. Anyway, I'll write more about this another time.

If you're interested in learning more about "Therapeutic Listening", you can check it out here. And if you're interested in learning more about sensory integration, you can explore that same website.

I'll post any successes we have in the future. Comment below if you have any questions or comment (especially if you've tried this therapy before).


Crystal and Bryan said...

I just want to say good luck. I hope the OT helps him (and you, too)!

Anonymous said...

We have an 8 month old with sensory issues and high muscle tone...she has always been difficult (from birth, colicy, etc.) we finally got an OT referral and she has started OT for her sensory (mainly tactile and movement) issues. Also, and probably the biggest thing that has worked for us so far is we switched her diet to no wheat, soy or diary...and within 24 hours has changed her behavior and personality drastically. She went from explosive to happy! Good luck!

janiece said...

I'm all for anything that works. I've been there--not to the extremes you've had--but we've been through quite a bit with the kids. For us, the organized sports (yes believe it or not) helped alot. Senory issues, attention issues, etc. It really is what tied everything together. I do think different things work for different kids.

Molly C said...

sensory input is SO important to the kids that I work with. I work at a special needs summer camp and I have kids who have trouble with everything Mateo seems to struggle with. Feel free to email me at roneydapony (at) if you wanna chat

What's the classroom ratio and will he have a 1:1 aide?

Kim said...

You'll have to let me know how the therapeutic listening works out. Sounds like Mateo is a LOT like Meechi. If this works for you I'd love to know and have Meechi give it a try. OT does help him quite a bit. We were on vacation recently and I could tell a difference in him having not been to OT for a couple of weeks.