Music is more than a source of entertainment. Listening to music is important as it is a way to express feelings and emotions, additionally, music is often considered a great stress-reliever. There are many other ways music can affect people, but how does listening to music affect children with autism?

This blog’s main objective is to introduce you to the Listening Therapy or the Tomatis Method – let’s discuss how listening to music can stimulate the brain among children with autism that can further lead to improving their motor, emotional, and cognitive abilities.

What is Listening Therapy?

Listening Therapy or Audio-Psycho-Phonology (APP) is a structured program of listening to specially designed music. It stimulates the brain, which results in improvement in various areas such as Communication, Auditory Processing, Social & Emotional Function, Motor Coordination, and Creativity.

What is the Tomatis Method?

The Tomatis® method is a type of sound therapy, like auditory integration training. It aims to improve listening and communication skills. In this therapy, the child uses headphones to listen to modified music as well as other sounds – such as a mother’s voice.

The Tomatis Method is named after Alfred Tomatis, a French physician and ENT specialist who developed the first listening therapy technique. In his early work, Tomatis proved the role of the ear in the self-monitoring of the voice when singing and speaking. In this method, the sound is used to stimulate the nervous system which can improve listening, language, and learning-related skills. What children with autism see is usually not linked to what they hear and feel.   

Listening Therapy: Sound Stimulation Program

The first step of the listening therapy session is to conduct an initial assessment which comprises of a consultation with the child and parents. During the assessment, listening therapy specialists will observe the child and obtain information from the parents regarding the child’s developmental history. If the therapy is deemed as recommended, the parents are provided details of the therapy and what can be the expected results.

Listening therapy sessions consist of specially-designed sound stimulation that the child receives through headphones. The therapists use a wide array of techniques to encourage children to widen their developmental spectrum. Most children with autism like to sing and move. The following are the main triggers for brain stimulation;

Singing.  While singing does not involve direct communication, it is an excellent way to encourage speech as it produces non-verbal expressive elements such as tonal inflections and voice flow.

Movement. Most children with autism need to constantly move, thus, listening therapy specialists use it to stimulate their brain through the child’s vestibular ear.

Multi-Sensory Input. The child with autism responds best to multi-sensory forms of interaction due to the regulation of their sensory system. All sensory stimulation methods are utilized to engage the child in natural interactions.            

Therapy as Playtime

Listening therapy specialists adhere to standard protocols, but their interaction with the child is approached as spontaneous and playful. The foremost priority of anyone wanting to bring out the best in children with autism is by fully enjoying their presence.

If you have questions on how listening therapy can help stimulate your child for improved communication, then head to this link on the importance of a listening therapy session in Dubai.

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