Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's the little things that we can miss

This is the third week that we have been implementing the listening therapy. We are starting the see the signs of change. If we weren't observant I think we would miss it completely. Firstly he has learnt to make his bed three days in a row. We have been struggling to get him to school in the mornings and he is following the getting ready for school schedule without any prompting from us and for a first he made himself breakfast the other morning.

On the humerous side he has NOO voice control, which has some funny effects. At school he had to get told to use his indoor voice the first time ever in recorded history, when out and about he is just talking normally and everyone can hear him. Even in therapy his volume change is so noticeable, hoping this will have some moderation at some point. We are going to have to do the temperature technique and see how it goes, just got to get the energy to set it up.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Progress of Sensory Therapy

Following the last post we have been implementing the listening therapy for a full fortnight, we have been getting our son to listen to 30 minutes of therapy twice a day which has not been as hard as we thought it would be. The reactions have been interesting, during and for hours afterwards his hearing seems to be affected his speech has got louder and louder at this point he has not been able to learn how to control the sound of his voice and we wonder if he doesn't know how loud he is. So we need to work on a little bit of voice control and have some tools to do so and we will be attempting to implement some sensory therapy in the form of making some home made musical instruments and then using a thermometer to show what appropriate levels of noise is ok. Let's see how we go!!!

We have switched cd's and now going to listen to one by the Therapeutic Listening, Mozart for Modulation. We will load these onto the mp3 player this afternoon and start that one. From reading I think I am getting ideas of what can help Josiah. When we went to see the OT she discussed the results of his sensory profile what was surprising is that in three areas it showed he was having sensory issues and only one of the four was he showing typical behavior in these areas. So it would seem we need to look at this aspect of his therapy for quite some time. I think my idea is to try and find sensory activities that can be easily implemented into his normal schedule and his normal play time the musical instruments is one of these activities.

Sensory Therapy

Therapy begins formally and informally, before meeting with the occupational therapist. We begun some tactics to attempt to assist Josiah with the issues he was having. The main priority is in the morning we we tried to eliminate background noise and distractions. Along with the no nag tactic, Scott has been taking Josiah to another area of the room during the story time to help him not be overwhelmed. Recently we were given a trampoline and we found that if we encouraged him to jump on the trampoline before we did a stressful activity such as going shopping it did seem to help a little.

In regards to the formal therapy side of things, Josiah has been put on a program called Listening Therapy, the idea is that listening to cd's that expose the ears to sounds that naturally would irritate a child with auditory sensitivity. Apparently it can retrain the ears and strengthen the muscles in the ear to tolerate sounds that previously were a distraction or could cause a meltdown. These cd's also have many other reported effects of treatment

The program works like this Josiah listens to a cd for 30 (we started at 15 mins and increased by five minutes each day) minutes twice a day for two weeks, the music is supposed to be background noise while he carries out the normal activities that he partakes in. With the cd we were given a cd player which I shuddered to think how in danger it would be with a four year old. So we purchased a cheap mp3 player and loaded the cd's onto this. The only issue we found with this is that sometimes the batteries on the mp3 player may need charging frequently.

While reading there is some information to say that mp3 players can distort the sound of thecd's, the frequency range needs to be from 20,000hz-20,000khz, so I checked the mp3 player it plays 20khz max and the headphones only process 30khz so I am going to ask someone who knows if that makes a huge difference.

So far we are listening to ease #1, the side effects have been numerous. Mostly a response afterwards WHAT YOU SAID? I CAN'T HEAR YOU? When you are right in front of his face, hard not to laugh and hard not to worry. I could not tell you of what results may be, but I know for the first little while it actually causes disruption. In the next post I will hopefully have something of interest to report.

If you think you would like some more information please check out these websites:

Ease these are the cd's we are using. Please check out also the frequently asked questions, I found this particularly helpful especially the section on mp3's and ipod's.
Sensational Kids this has a section on the cd's and a little information there are some good links too. The headphones pictured on this site, the larger ones are the ones we are using.
Vital Links this website includes information on Sheila Frick who is one of the developers of Listening Therapy. Her training for therapists is called Training for the Whole Body

Sensory Processing Issues, the Beginning

Starting at the beginning the reason for us as parents starting to do a further search into his behaviour was that Josiah's behaviour was causing more of a problem. What we struggled with the most especially at the end of the term, the start of the term was a child who took hours to get dressed and very frustrating for all of us involved. These problems were also showing up when we picked Josiah up from school. It seemed that the second he was in our prescence he would just loose it and we would be on the receiving end of yelling, screaming for any type of reason and often we would not even get home before it started.

What was most confusing about this whole issue is that I had always assumed that because my son was not like the classic case of not liking socks, tags or other more common signs, he had no issues in this area. When it was brought up I was skeptical but thought I should just in case check it out to be fair. This first website I found was a website that listed information about SPD and also included a checklist to complete all 13 pages long:). Shock horror reading the information on the auditory side of the disorder rung true to me. The things that stood out to us were on the checklist:
  • Difficult filtering out other sounds while trying to pay attention to one person talking
  • Looks at others to/for reassurance before answering
  • If not understood, has difficulty re-phrasing; may get frustrated, angry and give up.
From here I rang the OT that we were in contact with through the school and she was helpful. What was fortunate for me is that they were running a workshop on the very issue at the Child Development Centre which I was able to get a place. The workshop itself was a little beginner but it was good to hear stories from other Mums in the same position. There will be a follow up workshop in a few weeks time.

A few things stood out to me apparently deep touch (for those who can handle it) can be a form of calming, activities such as jumping on a trampoline, running and muscle exertion or a hug, there are a few types of activities that can help. 15 minutes of this type of activity can be calming for two hours, that one statement was very helpful. For sure if I can calm my child for two hours for a mere 15 minutes let's do it.

So we are at the beginning of working this out and not even starting to understand the complexity of the situation and working out what how each condition is and how we can treat it and what the issues are for each.