The Listening Program produced by Advanced Brain Technologies, USA is the program I use. There are other programs available but this is a general program, which can be used, by individuals or a group so it is suitable to take in to school. I used it in Chuter Ede Primary School, Balderton, Newark with groups of up to six children each term. I used the results in my MEd dissertation and those results were confirmed by the children's progress in the schools NFER county tracking tests taken each year, the results being now on the website at www.advancedbrain.com. Jan Johnson in Dyslexia Review reports these results in an article on sound therapy.All the children who have been through the program have improved in auditory discrimination, which, for most has led to an improvement in auditory memory. All improved in reading age by more than the time of the program. Where there is only auditory problem amazing results can be obtained. A child improved in reading age by 19 months over 2 months of the program and the improvements continued so he gained 57 months in reading age over a year. There were lots of exceptional progress scores in the NFER tests for language and mathematics. Parents report improvements at home. The children are calmer and are less subject to tantrums. Communication is better and they have an improved attitude to school and schoolwork. The children increase in confidence, have better concentration and generally seem happier.
I have demonstrated that this program can be implemented successfully in school but where a school does not provide this, it is available for use by the individuals working through it at home. An initial and final assessment is performed and I provide support and advice as the program is worked through.
The designers of the program are from a number of
disciplines to include a doctor and psychiatrist, child development
specialist, speech and language therapist, musicians and psychoacoustics
experts. It has been field tested with good results and academic
improvement has been seen alongside those results. Data is being
continuously amassed to show evidence of improvement for individuals
with difficulties ranging from profound learning difficulties to
dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and autism.
A prerequisite to the program is a hearing test These are done as a matter of routine in school. The program is intended to address listening problems and the children involved usually have excellent hearing. However they may be unable to distinguish the individual sounds in speech leading to confusion, difficulty with recall, following instruction and attention. In addition they may be unable to filter out extraneous noise which are the sounds in the background that most of us do not notice now but, for them make life very difficult causing possibly frustration and boredom responses in misbehaviour or switching off into a private world altogether.
The Listening program is a development brought about by people who have benefited from other programs, all of which have recognised the work of the French ear surgeon Dr Alfred Tomatis. He was the first one to produce a program to improve listening and help tune to the whole spectrum of sound. He recognised that hearing was the first sense to come to the baby and the last sense to leave us. Through the auditory nerve there is input to help with balance and even vision and tactile senses. Sound acts as a nutrient, which can stimulate and energize the brain and the stimulation can improve learning and behaviour.
The children listen to music, played at low volume, through headphones for periods of up to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 10 weeks, 20 weeks if on the extended program. The daily time may be less and gradually built up if the child is hypersensitive to sound and that child would need an individual program. The music is mainly classical, specially treated so the lower frequencies are gradually removed, with gated sections wherein there are sudden changes of frequency by music or nature sounds to awaken attention. All the children have enjoyed the music and like to hear them as the sound of the birds move from one ear to the other. Some count the birds, and others try to identify them.
Improving the ability to process sound can lead to an improvement in learning and communication as well as helping retain auditory information. Work at Sheffield University where children with auditory processing problems have used the program show improvements particularly in attention and sequential memory.
There are extensions that can be put in to benefit the child with more complex problems. A CD with high frequency sounds can be added on and a CD for sensory integration can be slotted in near the start to give additional help with motor problems.
Further CDs produced by Advanced Brain Technologies which provide music specially fitted to particular activities such as motivation, productivity and relaxation in the Sound Health Series and these are used in some schools to provide an appropriate sound stimulation suited to the activity.
The most recent CDs are produced for babies to provide sound experience to benefit the development from the earliest time and these will be available in the UK this year.
Brainbuilder CD can be used to complement the programs. It is a program, which can measure the sequential memory, visual and auditory, and then the individual can practice, using the element of self-competition to improve the memory in these areas.
Further details of programmes available from www.advancedbrain.com or