Category Archives: Attention

Sensory integration, audidtory processing, movement and listening therapies to support children’s attention and focus at home and school.

Movement = Increased Attention and Learning

I chose to become a pediatric Occupational Therapist because I’ve always loved kids but also, I can’t sit still.  I think best when I’m moving and doodling. I think doodling is a word? 🙂 Like kids, I struggle to sit still for long, let alone sit still and learn. I love when research shows that children who get more physical activity actually do better in schools.

It certainly takes creativity and flexibility on a teachers part to cater to each students  sensory preferences and what helps them learn.  Some kids need to move, others need to fidget or doodle, and some may need to chew. This improves the child’s processing, attention, memory and overall ability to learn.
 

 

Movement Breaks for the Classroom:
-Run /jog on spot, march, spin, do jumping jacks.
-Infinity Walk
-Yoga moves in chair or while standing
-Brain gym activities
-Pass out materials or tidy up
-Use a move ‘n sit cushion
-Sit on a balance ball
-Stand at the table instead
-Lay on floor to do work

 

Here are some fun ‘Brain Breaks’ for teachers to combine movement and learning:
 
 

 

Fidgets are also helpful for processing and learning.  Teachers can provide students with rules to safely use fidgets.  Items used could be:  ponytail bands, paper clips, Velcro under the table, key chain on trouser loops, stretchy bracelets, pencil toppers, koosh balls, balloons filled with flour or rice, or simply an eraser.  Consider the child’s sensory preferences when choosing a fidget and change it for variety.  Some children need feet fidgets. My friend Ida Zelaya from Sensory Street, Inc. suggested rolling cut-up pool noodles with the feet. Perhaps even having a beanbag to use with the feet.
 
 

 

Proprioceptive input, heavy work, can be calming and organizing.  The easiest way is by running an errand or doing chores involving heavy lifting, pushing or pulling.  A popular strategy is to tie theraband to the chair legs to stretch with legs or squeezing a stress ball.
 
 

 

Here are 3 wonderful articles to share with your teacher or school:
 
 
 

 

Due to every child having their own sensory and learning preferences, it’s important to have an Occupational Therapist advise on strategies, frequency and intensity of sensory input to help under various circumstances. Ultimately, the goal is for the child to learn this for themselves. 🙂

Integrated Listening Systems therapy at ot4kids

I use Integrated Listening Systems (iLS) Therapy to improve children’s sensory processing, motor skills development, auditory processing, attention and regulation.

I have found that iLS and Occupational Therapy together make a good pair and help children progress faster.  It is also effective as part of a home program for many children.

iLS is unique in providing bone conduction in the headphones.  This is highly beneficial as it offers additional vestibular (movement) input to the child working on a neurophysiological level.

WHAT IS iLS?

iLS is built upon the techniques and theories developed by Alfred Tomatis, M.D., and has been refined by Dr. Ron Minson over many years.  It is based upon the theory of neuroplasticity, strengthening and creating neuronal maps that support sensory processing, movement, attention and learning.  iLS is a sound-based multi-sensory program that combines movement, visual and auditory input.

HOW DOES iLS WORK?

Classical music has been digitally manipulated to specific frequencies and vibrations that stimulate various parts of the brain to improve the neurological foundation for sensory integration.

Music is delivered via a portable iPod through specially designed headphones with bone conduction (a small transducer).  The bone conduction unit is inside the top of the headphones and provides specific vestibular and auditory stimulation.

In my practice, after I assess a child I determine whether iLS will benefit their program.  We then create an individualized listening program along with sensory, movement, visual and auditory exercises based on the child’s goals.  Generally, the program is administered approximately 3-5 times a week for 30-60 minutes.  For the first 15-20 minutes, the child participates in their home program exercises and for the remainder of the program, they either relax or complete fun projects.  I either use iLS during the child’s treatment sessions or offer units for rental for intensive home programs.

iLS HELPS:

Sensory processing, body and spatial awareness, motor skills coordination

Motor Planning, sequencing

Attention and following directions

Auditory Processing, sound sensitivity

Visual Motor Skills

Self-esteem

Sensory regulation, calming, sleep

iLS can be used for children who have various diagnoses including:

Sensory Processing Disorder

Autism, Asperger’s syndrome

Dyspraxia

Learning difficulties

ADD / ADHD

Neurodevelopmental delays

 

FURTHER iLS RESOURCES-

Research and case studies:

http://www.integratedlistening.com/research-science/

Free parent webinars:

http://www.integratedlistening.com/training/ils-webinars/

Online videos and talks by Dr. Ron Minson about iLS:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thecoffeeklatch/2011/10/24/dr-ron-minson–ils

http://www.autismsocialnetwork.org/community/72-ils/videos/video/46-ron-minson-md-a-edward-hallowell-md-qhow-integrated-listening-systems-ils-worksq

http://www.worldtalkradio.com/worldtalkradio/vepisode.aspx?aid=55628

Study by the Spiral Foundation regarding the effectiveness of home-based iLS therapy:

http://on.fb.me/S8eUjJ

How iLS influences sensory processing

http://www.integratedlistening.com/how-ils-influences-sensory-processing/

Parents’ account of using iLS and music therapy with their child:

http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/feeding-hungry-brain-music-autism-2321452

Tips on introducing headphones to a sensitive child:

http://polaristherapy.com/2012/07/07/introducing-headphones-to-the-tactile-and-auditory-sensitive-child/

Auditory Processing Disorder

Here is a 3-part series of short videos by “A Place of Our Own” regarding Auditory Processing Disorder. I think it’s great how they emphasize the importance of having a multidisciplinary team working together, as well as having a Sensory Diet.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

If you prefer, you can read this transcript:

http://aplaceofourown.org/question_detail.php?id=573

Pay Attention! ADHD or Auditory Processing Difficulties?

I just found an interesting article about Rosie O’Donnell and her son who has an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). APD is when an individual’s brain has difficulty identifying, filtering, and interpreting sounds.  Children with APD typically have difficulty attending, following directions, having conversations, and can also be sensitive to loud sounds and large busier group settings.  I have often treated children who are mislabeled as having ADHD or ‘attention problems’ due to these difficulties whereas they really have Auditory Processing problems amongst other Sensory Processing difficulties.
At schools, children are often told to ‘pay attention,’ ‘listen,’ or ‘be a good listener’ however in reality these children are listening…..they just struggle to hear and make sense of auditory information ‘right.’ Here is an interesting post by a young woman of ‘What it’s like to have an Auditory Processing Disorder?’
Raising awareness about APD with teachers, parents, and medical professionals is key so that these children can get the right support versus being treated incorrectly or labeled as having a behavioural problem. Therapy using a Sensory Integration approach combined with an Auditory Training program (e.g. Therapeutic Listening, Listening Program, etc) have been helpful for many children with APD.