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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

The Power of Music

Apr 14, 2011 05:18PM ● By Nikki Copeliln

Music therapy has many approaches, and one of the most popular and beneficial approaches is the Tomatis-based listening therapy. The work of Dr. Alfred Tomatis, M.D. (1920-2001), an ear, nose and throat doctor, helped to discover the relationship between certain sound frequencies and their effect on both brain and body function. Tomatis-based music therapies, such as The Listening Program, use psychoacoustically modified music to stimulate different functions of the auditory processing system. Classical music is used because it has structure and organized patterns. This music is altered using varied frequencies for the stimulation of various areas of brain function. This enables the brain to better receive, process, store, and utilize the valuable information provided through language and our environment.

This kind of therapy is proving itself effective in the treatment of autistic children, especially those with language or communication impairments. In recent research, autistic children have shown higher scores in auditory skills after participating in a 10-week listening program (which is just half of the recommended listening cycle). These children also demonstrated improvement in following instructions, using more words, coordination, and reduced fidgeting. Most of the children experience a better ability to focus and retain information as well.

Listening programs are customized for the individual child based on their needs and their family's schedule. A typical listening cycle is 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 20 weeks. Through a certified provider, an evaluation is done to determine in what areas the child may struggle. Then a listening program is compiled to target those areas. And as research is showing, there may be improvements in other areas beyond the ones targeted.

Since most autistic children have difficulties with auditory processing, this approach in music therapy is quickly becoming recognized as a successful alternative treatment.

Nikki Copelin is the mother of 2 autistic sons and the founder of Advance Music Therapy. She is a certified provider for The Listening Program. For more information call 321-726-6812 or email [email protected]