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Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and ADHD

therapeutic listening

Hi, we’re considering adding therapeutic listening to my 8 yr old son’s sensory therapy. Modulated listening for 1/2 hour twice a day. He’s been seeing an integration therapist for 6 months and is doing well. Would anyone like to share experiential pros or cons?


We did iLs (integrated listening systems) therapy for almost a year through a children’s occupational therapy clinic at our local hospital, and also did some additional trials of therapeutic listening, and one other type I can not recall the name of right now.

Overall, my son does far better when receiving the therapy than when he is not.  When he is not (like right now) he regresses.  We have him in a clinical trial right now and are at the baseline period. He will start on iLs again in November.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will see further gains.

In the first few months of iLs treatment we saw huge developmental gains and some decrease in sensory issues, though it did not seem to really help him with the attention problems.  Sometimes we saw increased silliness and sensory seeking, especially on ‘off days’ (ie days where we did not do the listening therapy).

Over all, though, he did much better.

We saw the most gain from the iLs treatment and found highly variable response from him in the therapeutic listening.

Posted by khrys1119 on Oct 20, 2011 at 3:14am

We do therapeutic listening through our OT.  I LOVE IT.  Our daughter can concentrate so much better at school on the program.  (Honestly, I believe the therapeutic listening does more or at least as much for her as her ADHD meds do.)  I will say that our OT did warn us that the program does not work for everyone.  Some people respond to it and others do not. 

Our OT has a “lending library.”  Basically, we used her headphones and her music for 5 months.  (It was supposed to be for 6 weeks, but we have a GREAT OT.)  Anyway, since we experienced such success with the program we purchased our own headphones and our OT changes the music each week from her music library.  Honestly, there is NO downside, other than it may not work for your child.  We can do whatever we want while wearing the therapeutic headphones EXCEPT watch TV, play video games, or play on the computer.  Basicly, no electronics. 

We listen in the morning before school while we are eating breakfast and getting dressed.  We listen in the evenings during the first part of homework. 

We have not seen monumental changes in our daughter.  But, lots of little things have changed for the better.  For example, she does not melt as easily.  She can focus better. It seems that she can follow instructions easier.  Don’t get me wrong, it is not a DO-ALL/BE-ALL super therapy.  It is one of the mechanisms we use to cope with her ADHD and SPD.  We still go to OT appointments twice a week, we work on writing all the time, we have yarn balls and squishies all over the house, we still use lots of lists and we parent using behavior modification strategies, just to name a few of the things we do.

It is definately worth a try.  I hope that it works for you!!!

grin  Blessings!

Posted by karen4880 on Nov 16, 2011 at 12:39am

We have just started theraputic listening with my 4 1/2 year old about a month ago. I am kind of split on if it works or not. With my son I think it really depends on what they have him listening to.

Posted by sensorymom246 on Jun 13, 2012 at 8:57am

I have a 10 year old son who has ADHD, mild PDD-NOS, Sensory/Auditory Processing disorders, feeding issues, some social skills issues and anxiety. I have approached our OT and they won’t provide Therapuetic Listening because it is not a proven therapy (meaning that since it does not work for everyone, they don’t provide the service). At this time my son seems to suffer more from his anger/behavior at home, feeding issues and social skills. I hear everyone talk about how it seems to help with the sensory issues, but does it seem to help with any of these other issues? Has anyone had issues with their OT/hospital not providing this therapy and can you get it from somewhere else? Have anyone tried it on a child around the age of 10?

Posted by sunflower24 on Jul 30, 2012 at 7:19pm

Hi Sunflower,
Perhaps this will be of some help. Here is the website of therapuetic listening program my son is involved in with his OT. There are links to find qualified practitioners and research/case studies.
My son has benefitted from the therapy-as a supplement to his DIR/Floortime work with his OT. He just turned 9, and it’s my understanding that there is no age related “cut off” as far as possible gains in areas of challenge.

Posted by cowboy on Jul 30, 2012 at 9:13pm

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