Avera Medical Minute: Therapeutic Listening

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Rebecca Jensen and her family opened their arms to a little boy from Russia. They knew he had down syndrome. Other needs arose in the coming years.

Therapeutic Listening benefits a boy with downs syndrome

"He was diagnosed with ADHD, and a couple of years later with an autism spectrum disorder, so it's been a journey of figuring out what we can do to help him so that he could be successful at home and at school," said Jensen.

Nathan struggled with many daily tasks, but a ray of hope came through the suggestion of their doctor. A connection was made with an occupational therapist at the Avera Therapy Clinic in Mitchell.

"He wasn't quite improving as much as we hoped he would, so she suggested therapeutic listening," said Jensen. That's when there was a noticeable connection with Nathan.

Avera occupational therapist Melissa Brissette said at Nathan's first visit, he tore up the clinic. After more sessions including Therapeutic listening, a remarkable transformation took place. "It really helps with communication, or motor skills, attention to detail, attention to task, overall just self-regulation," said Brissette.

Therapeutic listening is digitally modified music, often including nature sounds. It's an entire process that needs to be done in a certain way to bring results.

"He will now greet me in the therapy room, he waits for a response instead of impulsively reacting, which we greatly appreciate, his aggression has greatly decreased as his communication skills have increased," said Brissette.

Nathan can now participate in Special Olympics and is more interactive at school. Rebecca has written books about her son, helping his classmates understand and include Nathan.

Therapeutic listening is usually scheduled for 30 minutes, twice per day.