Therapeutic Listening ®

July 26, 2016

What is it?
“Therapeutic Listening ® is an evidenced-based auditory intervention intended to support individuals who experience challenges with sensory processing dysfunction, listening, attention, and communication.”  Therapeutic Listening ® is essentially a tool to help access the nervous system and make positive changes that organize the body. Because the auditory system is closely connected to all parts of the brain, it can have a strong influence on the nervous system (our body’s internal communication system). Therapeutic Listening ® can elicit positive and organizing changes to all senses (touch, movement, visual, auditory, taste). In turn, this can increase whole body organization and thus positively impact your child’s attention, regulation, and learning abilities.

How does it work?
In a nut shell… The music is electronically altered via high pass/low pass filtering, which helps children “tune in” to the music. The musical selections are specifically chosen for each child to elicit a regulated, organized, or relaxed state. Recognizing this novel feeling of being regulated on a frequent basis allows training of the brain to maintain this state. The theory is for children to eventually be able to get to and maintain a happy and regulated state on their own in a variety of contexts. It is designed to compliment your child’s current Occupational Therapy and has been known to drastically speed up progress in all functional areas when paired with a sensory integration approach.

Who benefits from Therapeutic Listening ®?
It has been known to help clients with:
• Poor attention
• Poor self-regulation
• Trouble following directions
• Difficulties with social interaction (including non-verbal communication)
• Difficulties with sleep patterns or bowel/bladder control
• Picky eating
• Over or under-responsive to sensory stimuli
• Difficulties with transitions or changes in routine
• Learning Difficulties
• Decreased coordination skills
• Difficulties with visual motor skills or eye-hand coordination
** It can be beneficial for any age because the musical selections are timeless.  

What’s Involved?
A therapist trained in Therapeutic Listening ® will determine the appropriate musical selection that best meets your child’s needs.  The program is designed for the individual to listen to a specifically chosen modulated album for 30 minutes, twice per day, with at least three hours between listening times.  The musical selections will generally be changed every two weeks to encourage novelty with listening.  The length of the program depends on your child’s specific needs but consistent participation in the program can elicit remarkable improvement in the quality of your child and family’s life!

Interested in learning more?
• Check out Vital Links at to learn more about foundations of Therapeutic Listening ® . There is also a parents section that includes videos of parents describing their experiences and outcomes with Therapeutic Listening ®
• Speak with your child’s Occupational Therapist to learn more about Therapeutic Listening ® opportunities at our clinic


PT Aquatic Therapy

July 19, 2016

Does your child love the water and swimming? Aquatic therapy may be a great addition to his or her current physical therapy! Aquatic therapy is based in a swimming pool and has excellent benefits for children. In the water, children are more likely to work harder without realizing it due to the ability of the water to help them float, less effort required to move, and the fun nature of being in a pool. Strengthening, range of motion, coordination, endurance, and balance are just some of the areas that can be addressed in the pool. The resistance provided by the water is key to strengthening, as each movement a child makes is against this resistance, therefore increasing strength. The fluid movement of the water helps children move their joints and assists with the motion, improving range. The fluid movement of the water also helps to challenge balance and acts as a continuous force while in the water. Use of equipment in the water including weights, kick boards, flotation assists, barbells, and toys provide a variety in activities from the clinic setting and encourage creativity and fun in each child. Each session is tailored to your child’s needs, just like in the clinic. If you have any questions or believe your child may benefit from aquatic therapy, talk to your child’s physical therapist at his or her next visit!


Have you ever heard about positive reinforcement? How about negative reinforcement? And punishment? These are words that providers of ABA, applied behavior analysis, use everyday.

So let’s talk about these terms. Positive reinforcement is the addition of something that increases the likelihood a behavior will occur again, so if you want your child to eat their vegetables, then give them something they really like after they eat the vegetables (like a cookie or ice cream).

Conversely, negative reinforcement is taking something away to increase the likelihood that behavior will occur again. So again if you want your child to eat their vegetables and they say “no,” so you take the vegetables away, they are more likely to say no again in the future. Punishment is pretty much the same way, positive punishment is adding something to decrease a behavior – like a chore, doing the dishes, for throwing. While, negative punishment is taking something away to decrease a behavior -like taking away the x-box when they don’t do their homework.

In ABA we use these ideas (and a lot of other things) to work on socially significant behaviors. Wait, what do you mean “socially significant”? Socially significant behaviors are behaviors that impact daily life and quality of life. These can be things like hitting and throwing, or non-compliance like refusal, and things like simple requesting (verbal behaviors), brushing teeth and engaging in age appropriate play and activities.

ABA has started getting a lot more interest lately, which is great! It was originally developed by B.F. Skinner, known as the father of behaviorism (fun fact). For the time being ABA is primarily focused on children with Autism but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective with other kids (and people). I could use ABA sometimes to change my behaviors! At least that’s what I think.

If you’re looking for any more information about ABA, Autism Speaks has a lot of great resources for parents and we can give you more information too!

A really good book I’ve found about verbal behavior in ABA is called The Verbal Approach to Behavior: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders, by Mary Lynch Barbara. I like this book a lot because it’s actually written by a parent of a child diagnosed with autism and can be really helpful for parents.