I've been taking my DS to an occupational therapist for the last couple of months and she mentioned recently that his listening needs more work. She recommends some special headphones and music, but he really dislikes this task in her sessions and I'll be honest that I'm very dubious about it. Money is tight, and I want to spend it effectively iykwim.
My own observation of him is that his listening is either great or something he struggles with, and that when he is struggling it is part of a package. At these times he is seeking deep sensation, a bit hyper, and needs lots of physical play, bouncing and crashing etc.
So I'm not sure if listening is something that needs specific work. i know the obvious answer is that the OT is the expert, but she said it during a session which was unusually difficult - he was tired, a bit wound up after visiting relatives and the session was unfortunately during his rest/quiet time.
I was flicking through the Out of Sync Child workbook and exploring some of the ideas for games around listening but very little struck me as suiting him.
I know this is a fairly woolly post - I haven't quite got my finger on the problem to be able to ask the right questions but for the moment I'm curious to hear about other people's experiences, or ideas
Has anyone tried those headphone sets with modified music? Do you think they work, and why?
Has anyone any other thoughts or suggestions or experiences either with the listening, or with that general pattern that I described? (before discovering OT, I used to think he was reacting to some food because it was nearly like he was on drugs! I'd have been trying to stop him bouncing off cushions but now I find that encouraging it (safely) helps enormously)
Listening therapy is very hit or miss. You are right to be wary of using it without seeing some positive effects in his OT sessions. You don't say how old your child is - if they are 6 or older, you should have him tested by an audiologist who specifically tests for auditory processing issues - not all do (if you are in PA/NJ/DE - let me know and I'll give you my audiologists info).
For kids who truly have APD (vs. ADHD or something else that looks like APD), really the only thing shown to have any positive responses is a software program called FastForward. It's very expensive and even that isn't 100%. I've found a few things that are helpful to my son when it comes to processing information...
1. In the classroom, the use of a sound field system. Basically, the teacher wears a microphone and there is a speaker in the room or on the child's desk and it brings the teacher's voice just above the din of the classroom.
2. Seating - child must be away from windows, air conditioning/heating units and close to the teacher.
3. When I'm speaking to my son, I always try to make sure I have 100% of his attention. I'll tap on my chin to draw his eyes up to me and ask him to listen to what I'm saying. I may do this a few times until I'm sure I have his attention. Then I'll ask him to repeat back to me what I just said to make sure he heard correctly and understands.
4. This one is very hard for me... when I ask a question... I have to shut up and wait. Kids with APD tend to be a lot slower than other children. They are working through the answer in their minds and it takes longer to get out. I have it in my son's IEP that he gets extra time to answer questions.
We have tried therapeutic listening with my son and it hasn't been helpful. I really like his OT and she let us borrow her stuff. She told me that there really isn't good research to back it up, but she has seen it help some children. Personally, I would not invest the money if you're not seeing any good come of it.
My son is 4 and his sensory issues are majorly impacted by diet. sorry...nak now. cutting dairy eliminated 95% of his issues for about two years. now we're having issues again and i'm once again exploring food/diet. good luck.