Improving the Lives of Children and Teens with Developmental Difficulties, Learning Delays & Disorders
No one wants to discover that their child is behind in their development or learning. However, when a problem is recognized, it can be dealt with. More and more parents are learning about how music-based auditory training can improve the lives of children with learning delays & disorders, and developmental difficulties.
How can musical frequencies help my child’s development?
Auditory training with classical music that has modified frequencies effectively encourages the growth of pathways in the brain, which in turn can improve overall brain function.
Low frequencies stimulate motor skills, sequencing and sensory integration; middle frequencies bolster attention, memory, fluent speaking, understanding conversation, writing and reading; high frequencies help the brain with mental clarity, higher order thinking skills, impulse control, social awareness and mood.
In addition to improving overall brain function, the frequencies of the modified music has been shown to decrease symptoms associated with…
- Dyslexia/Reading Delay
- Auditory Processing Disorder
- ADD/ADHD/ Short Attention Span
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Sensory Integration Disorder
- Developmental Delays
- Down Syndrome
- Language Delays
- Slow Processing
At Brain Works, we have a Clinic Program and the portable iLs Focus to be used at home. Each are multisensory brain training programs that help the following:
Sensory integration (connecting sight, sound, taste, smell, touch and movement in the brain) can be a weak area for some individuals. If their senses do not tell them how their bodies are doing, they may not feel like a ‘whole person’. The vestibular system in the ears helps the brain integrate the five senses and integrate movement with the senses. As modified music stimulates the ears with sound energy, the function of vestibular system improves. It essentially enhances the clarity of sensory and spatial information, which results in improved motor control and body awareness. Low frequencies from auditory training and visual-motor-balance training organize the brain and add more neural pathways that connect the senses with with each other.
Balance and coordination are governed primarily by the vestibular system within the inner ear. The semicircular canals in the inner ear give us a sense of orientation. Sensory feedback (proprioception) from our arms, legs and other appendages tells us where they are in space, which allows us to accurately control their movement. The vibrations from the modified music used for auditory training stimulate the vestibule, which transmits an electrical message that goes through the vestibular nerve and out to the muscles of the body. In that way, the music’s frequencies (especially the low frequencies) improve spatial awareness, posture, fine and gross motor control, walking gait and other movements.
Auditory processing (understanding what is heard) is often difficult for people with listening problems. A person may hear mumbling instead of clear words, hear speech sounds out of order (i.e., hearing “decks” instead of “desk”) or hear speech sounds incorrectly (i.e., “bad” instead of “bed”). Hearing is not the problem however; it is interpreting the sounds that are being heard. Auditory training helps the brain learn to discriminate among speech sounds, so that words heard in conversation can be processed accurately. When a person can hear speech sounds and letter sounds accurately, speech articulation, receptive and expressive language, reading, spelling and writing have the opportunity to improve. People often show significant improvements in auditory processing with music-based auditory training.
Receptive language, or understanding verbal messages, typically improves with auditory training as it helps the brain process spoken words with sufficient speed and accuracy to keep up with conversation and interpretation. Auditory training also helps with expressive language, which includes using a good vocabulary, proper sentence structure and grammar, finding the appropriate words to express one’s thoughts and speaking without hesitation.
Sensitivity to sounds can cause pain in the ears and even nausea. If muscles attached to the ear’s hammer and stirrup bones are weak, loud noise cannot be dampened and background noise cannot be tuned out. The modified music in an auditory training program helps strengthen these middle ear muscles, which improves the control and function of the bones in the middle ear. Background noise fades into the background and loud noises are no longer painful.
Sensitivity to touch can be a problem for people. Tags in shirts, certain fabrics and textures of food can be a great source of irritation. Overly sensitive people often avoid hugging and light touch from others. Other individuals, who have little sensitivity to touch, will often give bear hugs and love slamming into things and people because it takes that much pressure for them to feel sensations in their body. Stimulating the vestibular system with modified music seems to reset the sensor cells in the skin, so that responses to touch are more normal.
Making eye contact improves with listening training. For some individuals, there are not enough neural connections between visual and auditory regions of the brain, resulting in poor communication between the two. They can look at a person or listen to a person, but struggle with doing both at the same time because one acts as interference for the other. Auditory training creates new neural pathways in the brain, improving the communication network for all of the senses and brain areas. As a result, it becomes easier to maintain eye contact while listening or speaking.
Social interaction is difficult for some people for a variety of reasons related to visual and auditory processing. It is difficult for some individuals to pick up a person’s intentions, like backing away to leave, because they do not notice differences in body posture or facial expression. There are also some who cannot pick up cues from a person’s tone of voice that project what a person is feeling or intending to express. Finally, there are those, who cannot “read between the lines” in a conversation, so indirect messages and jokes are not understood. All of these difficulties can result in social misunderstandings, which can lead to blunders that end in feelings of embarrassment and frustration. Auditory training often helps individuals interpret body language, tone of voice and indirect verbal messages.
Attention span is influenced, in part, by perceived sound energy stimulating the brain. The modified music heard during auditory training stimulates the parts of the brain that affect concentration. Many people who do auditory training pay more attention to their environment, have better focus on details in their work and listen without spacing out. When attention can be maintained for a longer period of time, memory, learning and work production increase.
Memory comes in many forms – memory for what we see, hear, taste, touch, smell and how our body moves. Each form of memory allows us to build upon our learning, protects us from repeating mistakes and saves us time as tasks become familiar and automatic. Many clients report an increase in one or more forms of their memory, when they do music-based auditory training. This phenomenon is a product of the neural growth that results from auditory training. As more connections are made, the brain becomes more efficient so memories can contain more details, regardless of their source.
Auditory training with modified music lays the foundation for improved academics, communication and social interaction through greater sensory integration, auditory processing, attention span, language skills, balance and coordination, memory and regulation of sound and touch. For many individuals, these improved skills create a significant difference in the way they connect with their world.
What’s the next step?
As we have demonstrated, listening training can benefit both children with developmental disorders and children with gifted minds. Let us show you how music can improve your child’s quality of life. Please contact us today.