Therapy Thursday

Thank you for your question! Therapeutic Listening is a complex treatment and there really isn't a lot of research on it. Please let me know if I have answered your question adequately.

Question: Good luck with TL(Therapeutic Listening)! I've heard and read about how great an impact it can have. We tried it with our four year old and we unfortunately fell into the under reported unsuccessful category which you alluded to briefly. I'm curious about what you know about the downside affects. We are having a difficult time pinning our OT down on the potential for adverse affects.

Answer: I am assuming you were wondering about research on the adverse effects rather than word of mouth. According to a paper published by the Autism Research Institute (B. Rimland and S Edelson 1991), the Berard and Tomatis Auditory Training programs are not harmful. Therapeutic Listening is based on these approaches. They also report that some people experience "mild-not severe-side effects during and after the training sessions, including irritability, mood swings, hyperactivity, and fatigue". This is based on parent report rather than actual data.

On a personal note, both Stefanie and I have children who have participated in Therapeutic Listening. Both of our sons had the experience of throwing up once while listening to the music. It can have a surprisingly intense effect on some kids. For both children, this was a one time thing. In addition to the above side effects mentioned, I have had parents report changes in eating and sleeping habits. Children with sensory issues often have eating, sleeping issues and mood swings before beginning Therapeutic Listening. It is sometimes hard to tell what is actually caused by the music.