The JumpTherapy Blog:
Sensory Processing, Motor and Social Skills Resources
for Parents of Special Needs Children

Playing to Their Strengths: Developing Sensory Skills

The best results come when therapy is fun!

Part 5 of 5: Music therapy

piano & child’s hands
Music therapists enhance the evolution of physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioral and social skills in children. Music has a unique way of gently encouraging and supporting their expression, creativity, play and academic development. 
Therapists often use absorbing, fun techniques involving instrument play, vocal improvisation and movement to music to engage your child and improve self-awareness, attention span, memory, and communication skills.
There are also specific music-based therapy programs which can be helpful for calming, alerting, processing, and overall regulating, such as:
The Listening Program™ 
This music-based program, developed by Advanced Brain Technologies, helps to train a child’s auditory system, strengthen neurological pathways, and improve the skills necessary for listening, learning and communication. 
The Listening Program™ (TLP) is administered by a certified listening program instructor who determines a listening schedule of psychoacoustically modified classical music, played via headphones. It provides personalized, engaging stimulation to train the brain to learn, communicate, and process information, and thus improve overall performance.
According to the company, TLP helps specifically with “auditory processing and sensory sensitivities… It creates a healthy relationship with sound by training the brain with pleasing evidence-based music which can improve sound brain fitness and auditory processing, reduce sensory sensitivities, and help people find comfort and safety in their environment.”
How does The Listening Program™ work?
How it works, again according to Advanced Brain Technologies, is that the “High Definition music recordings [are] arranged in four progressive frequency zones, stimulating different brain areas and their related functions during the course of your personalized listening schedule. The training emphasis is in the lower frequency music of the green zone supporting social and emotional functions, motor coordination, stress response, sensory processing, and more.”
Live music: what you can do at home
Lower, rhythmic frequencies such as drums will get your child moving, and higher, melodic frequencies such as flutes and singing can engage your child’s attention. You can use different music in different ways to calm (music with a steady, rhythmic beat, perhaps drumming) or to alert (fast tempos, variety) your child when s/he needs help regulating. Follow the plan devised by your child’s OT, or make sure to provide quiet, comfortable time and space for your child to carry out The Listening Program™ or another daily session.
Looking ahead:
In an upcoming post, we will investigate the “How Does Your Engine Run” self-awareness program and how you can best utilize it in your family.
How does your child react to music? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, let me know there or via email what topics you would like to discuss or hear more about. 
Feel free to share or quote from this blog (with attribution, please, and if possible, a link), and to repost on social media.
I look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

About Miriam:
Miriam Skydell MS, OTR/L is a pediatric OT with 30 years experience and a strong commitment to empowering every child and every family with the skills, confidence and emotional stability necessary for a meaningful, independent life. In addition to her Masters degree from NYU (1986) and membership in the AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association), Miriam is a licensed Interactive Metronome®,  HWT (Handwriting Without Tears®), and TLP (The Listening Program®) provider.

Miriam performs preschool screenings, contracts experienced OTs, PTs and STs to schools, helped implement the HWT curriculum, and lectures extensively for parent and support groups and at teacher conferences for public and private schools throughout New Jersey. Through her private practice in Fair Lawn, Miriam Skydell and Associates, established in 1995, Miriam has helped countless children with a wide range of diagnoses improve functional living skills, manage the impact of sensory processing dysfunction, and meet their individual potentials.