We all know that music soothes the so-called savage beast, but it can do much more than that. I have written before about how beneficial music has been for Nigel, including helping him to sleep better. So in December, for Autism Twitter Day (organized by Bonnie of Autism Family Adventures), I was excited to win a new therapeutic music CD. And the results of listening to it have been pretty wonderful.
Advanced Brain Technologies has created The Listening Program as a type of Auditory Integration Training/therapy. The program, first available in 1999, consists of audio CDs containing psychoacoustically modified classical music designed to stimulate the different functions of the auditory processing system. This is accomplished by carefully selecting compositions which include varied orchestration, tempo, octave, meter, etc. Post-production techniques involve filtration, audio bursting, blending, spatial dynamics, audio morphing, and more. Case studies demonstrating the positive outcomes with ASD kids using this program are available here.
Or, you can just read this case study: In the past two weeks since Nigel began listening to Music for Thinking before going to bed, not only has he slept better, I have seen noticeable improvement in two other areas. According to Advanced Brain, researchers have made a link between the middle ear and social engagement that provides insight into why some ASD individuals may demonstrate behaviors and communication difficulties in certain situations and environments. I hadn’t yet made that connection when I wrote about Nigel recently wanting to go back to regular school to be with his peers and the fact that he did so well at a Boy Scout function last week. But it makes sense now, after reading the detailed literature included with the CD.
The other area in which I notice improvement is in his schoolwork. He is frustrated because he wants to go back to regular school, and his attitude reflects that. However, the quality of his work has improved, as well as his ability to organize his thoughts. Just last week he wrote a three-paragraph essay about one of his Scout camping trips. It was well-organized, full of wonderful details, and included a conclusion listing all the things he learned on the trip. We had worked so long and painstakingly on his writing skills, starting less than a year ago with his first fledgling paragraph. To see him go from a labored few sentences to a beautiful, well-planned and well-written three-paragraph essay, well, I’m filled with such pride and emotion that I can’t even describe it. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he was able to do this after listening to Music for Thinking for two weeks. I’m a firm believer, and we’ll definitely be trying more CDs!