Therapeutic Listening is an auditory program aimed at supporting individuals who experience challenges with communication, listening, and attention. The child or adult is exposed to filtered music in order to stimulate the nervous system with low and high sounds at different intervals. These help to strengthen communication between the ears and the brain for better processing abilities and stimulation for behavioral and emotional growth.
Listening comprehension is more than hearing what is said, rather it the ability of a child to understand the meaning of the words. Listening comprehension is a child’s ability to take in information, form a response, and be able to convey ideas and thoughts. Listening is one of the building blocks of language, and communication, especially at an early age and is a crucial skill for children to acquire. Children have short attention spans, so learning to listen and understanding information can take time.
What is a Therapeutic Listening Program?
Therapeutic Listening is a sound-based intervention that is integral in the development and sensory integration of a child. Therapeutic listening programs have many benefits, including improved attention in your child, building confidence, and showing improvements in literacy, reading and communication.
At SBDC, we practice the renowned Tomatis Method for natural auditory stimulation as well as Integrated Music Therapy that helps accelerate our teaching methods and supports the therapies used.
Why is Therapeutic Listening Used?
These programs target a child’s nervous system and sensory connections to influence movement, motor skills, arousal and activity levels and a child’s ability to control different senses and parts of the body.
It is usually recommended for children diagnosed with learning difficulties with language and communication such as Dyslexia, attention issues, emotional control and Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Sensory Processing Disorders and Down Syndrome. Therapeutic Listening would be one of the therapies used to help treat and improve these learning challenges and diagnoses.
In conjunction with the efforts and activities used at the Therapeutic Listening Program that your child attends, here are five ways parents can help supplement a child’s listening skills at home:
Be a Good Listener
Children learn by imitating adult behavior. Teach them to be good listeners by watching and imitating you. When your child is talking to you, listen carefully, and respond clearly. Avoid interrupting your child when they are speaking. Treating them with respect, empathy and understanding helps your child to model after your example and learn that this is an expected and normal behavior for communication.
As you converse with them, show you are paying attention by maintaining eye contact, smiling, asking related questions and repeating what they share with you to let them know that they are heard and seen.
Don’t just have one-way conversations with your child; make it an interactive session where they can express their feelings and share their thoughts. When you take time and make an effort to speak with them, you help them understand their opinions and beliefs matter to you, thus making the whole exercise interactive. When they ask questions, explain in a way that they can understand. Tell them about your day and in turn, ask him how his day was. This way, communication flows both ways.
Feel free to also ask specific questions about what your child has said. Some types of questions that you can ask include:
- Reflective Questions
- Helps to extend the conversation and prompts your child to share more with expansive thinking
- Leading Questions
- Some questions or phrases that prompt your child to answer in a particular way
- They are like guiding questions but can be quite specific to the context
- Open-ended Questions
- These help to expand the conversation further
- Close-ended Questions
- This is an extremely specific question type, used to ask for only one or a few specific details of the sharing
Give Clear Instructions
When assigning duties, give clear and concise instructions. Avoid over-explaining yourself. Be precise and straight to the point in telling them what is expected of them.
To make sure they understand what you’ve said, ask the child to repeat the instructions to you to gauge if the message was received and your child was able to understand the instructions given – thereby practising listening comprehension and communication at the same time.
Read and Play Together
Make reading their favourite stories an interactive activity. Read aloud to them. Start with topics that are most interesting to them. Ask them if they understand to see if they have been listening keenly and ask for their opinions on the stories or plots.
If they haven’t been paying attention or cannot remember what they were doing, don’t criticize, instead, encourage them to do better next time. Let them retell the story to you to make storytelling more interactive. Use games, charts, and online reading materials to build your child’s vocabulary.
Play listening games to help your child practice focus, attention and interpretation. Games like Simon Says or Follow the Leader are great for building a chain of thought that is simple for a child to comprehend and follow.
Involve Them in Decision-Making
Give them the freedom to choose what to wear, games to play, books to read, and even music to listen to. This makes them responsible for the choices they make and helps them remember what they are supposed to do because they are invested in the activity. Decision-making also helps to teach your child about cause and effect. Different decisions bring about different outcomes and it is good to expose a child to that early on.
With day to day activities, avoid ordering your child around at all costs. Aside from disciplining a child, do not raise your voice or use a menacing tone. This also helps them to react faster and understand they are in the wrong when you do practice these things.
Should I Enroll My Child into a Therapeutic Listening Program?
Listening is a skill that is best developed from an early age. Active listeners grow to be good communicators. For a child to become good at communicating, it comes with time and some support is required. Children who are good at communicating what they want and how they feel tend to have higher confidence, independence and self-esteem.
If you are unsure, it is best to visit a professional for a consultation and evaluation. Thereafter, a better picture would be formed for an individualized Listening Therapy Program to be put together or for other supporting activities to be recommended instead.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about the Therapeutic Listening Program offered at Singapore Brain Development Centre (SBDC). We seek to grow every child’s learning capability and to help bring out his/her hidden potential. A consultation and personalized solution could be the first guided step in the right direction of cognitive development for your child.