Over the last year I have been secretly worried that little brothers speech may not be improving at good rate. Everything seemed stagnant and we grew increasingly frustrated at home with failure to understand him followed by the crying fits that ensued on his part because we had no idea what he was asking of us. I say “secretly” because even though many of our family and friends understand where we have been to where we are now, it is hard to explain what worried feels like. They see the dramatic improvement of both boys, which I happily acknowledge, but I also see the bits of regression and flashbacks to what it used to be like when we started our “spectrum” recovery.
When it comes to language and communication, it is the building block to all other parts of therapy. If my M-bug cannot express his wants and desires he is left to feel lost and alone. Something I would never want my child to experience. We currently have him in 5 hours a week of speech therapy but we were stuck. What to do, what to do. I had known of listening therapies before in the beginning of our journey. In fact Lincoln’s OT, Miss Julie, used a form of it on him to pull out language and calm his stimming. It worked! So why not try a tailored program for M?
Here is the jist:
iLs is a multi-sensory program for improving brain function. It is an enjoyable activity, or “exercise,” which can be customized for all ages and skill levels for implementation in clinic, school or home.
iLs programs improve emotional regulation while training the brain to process sensory information
With improved regulation and processing, our ability to focus, think, and engage successfully in social situations also improves.
Where it helps us:
DECODING, PHONEMIC AWARENESS, READING Decoding, phonemic awareness, listening in a noisy classroom and speaking clearly require efficient processing and storage of information. The iLs auditory program emphasizes specific frequencies of classical music to achieve therapeutic objectives. The goal is to train the ear and the brain to analyze and process sound more efficiently and accurately. For example, the iLs Reading & Auditory Processing Program focuses on the mid‐range frequencies of the English language to train and improve perception and discernment of the subtle differences in closely related phonemes. This skill is essential for the development of spelling and reading proficiency. Impacted Skills: pitch discrimination, auditory processing, spelling
VESTIBULAR FUNCTION Directly connected to the cochlea of the inner ear, the vestibular system is primarily responsible for balance and coordination, but also has a strong impact on sensory modulation and emotional regulation. Once the vestibular system is functioning well, children are better able to participate in higher brain functions such as reading, writing and expressive language. iLs provides specific and comprehensive stimulation to the vestibular system through bone conduction delivered via headphones, balance board activities and body movement exercises. Impacted Skills: coordination, balance, focus, self‐regulation
SENSE OF CALM, “GROUNDED” The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) controls many organs and muscles that work in an involuntary, reflexive manner. The ANS is important in two situations: emergencies that require us to “fight” or take “flight” and non‐ emergencies that allow us to “rest and digest”. The part of the ANS which governs the latter is the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). iLs’ auditory program stimulates the PNS through the Vagus nerve (auricular branch). Many children and adults beginning iLs programs are in a state of hyper‐arousal, not far from “fight or flight”. The gentle stimulation of the PNS brings about a balance of the ANS which is reflected by increased calm and self‐regulation. Impacted Skills: behavior, the calm state which allows one to better focus on higher cognitive functions
iLs has a global effect on the brain and central nervous system, influencing the following systems and their function: auditory, visual, vestibular (balance and coordination), motor, cognitive (thinking and reasoning) and emotional. As a result, it is successfully applied to a wide variety of conditions:
Learning – Building the skills which enable success in school: attention, reading, visual and auditory processing, memory, self-expression, social skills
Performance Optimization – Improving processing speed and timing (athletics), creativity and imagination (arts and business), self–esteem and self-confidence (personal development)
Neuro-Developmental – Achieving therapeutic goals related to emotional and behavioral regulation, sensory processing, communication and social skills
Psychological/Emotional – Improving attention, emotional balance and vitality
Rehabilitation – Recovering energy and skills related to language, movement and cognitive function (memory, organization, planning)
We have been using iLS successfully for about one month. It took a few sessions to get M even wanting to wear anything, but once we did (and a few rewards later) he was on a roll. He is up to 15 minutes a session and sits beautifully while listening to the program scaled for his needs on the ipod. We often pair it with balancing activities to stimulate other parts of the brain in conjunction with the language receptors.
This is a completely non-invasive approach that is rooted in evidence, so why not try it. You can rent a system or look up a local practitioner in your area. iLS is a crucial piece of the puzzle and can be added in any phase of recovery or at any age.