Local Company Develops 'Breakthrough' For Autism, ADD Therapy

Integrated Listening Systems Accelerates Benefits From Occupational Therapy

A company is using classical music to accelerate the benefits of occupational therapy for those with autism, attention deficit disorder and other sensory processing disorders.

Over the past year, 5-year-old Arielle Anderson has participated in occupational therapy for a sensory processing disorder and language delay.

"She was having a lot of difficulty participating at school, getting dressed and transitioning between daily routine activities," said Jamie Schreckler, an occupational therapist at the STAR Center.

For Arielle's treatment, therapists incorporated a new technology, called Integrated Listening Systems, into routine occupational therapy. iLs sends classical music through headphones while the child performs other therapeutic tasks.

"If you can imagine having to process sound at different frequencies at the same time as trying to move your body, it's like a brain workout," Schreckler said.

Using music, iLs stimulates multitasking in the brain. The therapy is based on the concept of neuroplasticity, "which is the ability of the brain to change its function, its organization, its growth and make new neuro connections in response to sensory input," said Dr. Ron Minson, who helped identify the benefits of combining auditory stimulation with occupational therapy. He said the applications of iLs are numerous.

"We know (attention deficit disorder), autism, learning disabilities, sensory processing disorders, attention, concentration, all of these are issues that require optimal brain function," Minson said.

Arielle's father said ordinary tasks such as getting dressed, or even choosing a flavor of ice cream, used to cause her to break down. However, after 30 sessions of therapy incorporating Integrated Listening Systems, her parents and therapists have noted significant improvements.

"She is dressing herself. [She's] a lot more responsive to adult cues and following directions," Schreckler said. "And now just a year later, she has just skyrocketed in her ability to pretend, socialize, respond to questions and really, just participate in a full way in her life."

"When that foundation is established and working well, then your reading, logical processing, memory, organization, emotional control and regulation, all of that's possible," Minson said.

Dozens of providers, including school districts in Colorado, offer Integrated Listening Systems therapy. For more information about iLs, or to find a provider, visit integratedlistening.com.

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