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Use the information provided on this site as an educational resource for determining your options and making your
own informed choices. It is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any specific illness.


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We use our ears to hear voices, music, alarms and sirens, as well as "noise" around us generated by
electronic equipment, nature, etc. When our brains are able to properly receive and organize the data they
receive through our ears, we are able to sense danger, process information and instructions, and feel
pleasure through music or sounds of nature. A person whose senses are well-integrated can sit in the
middle of a noisy party with music, talking, glasses and silverware clinking, and dogs barking, and still be
able to carry on a conversation with the person sitting across the table. This person’s brain simply filters
out the unnecessary information, and focuses on the words the individual speaker is saying.

In contrast, a person with sensory integration dysfunction may hear all of the above sounds at the same
level, in effect being bombarded by each of the sounds. This person will be unlikely to follow the
conversation directed at them by the person across the table. Imagine a similar child in a classroom,
surrounded by pencils being sharpened, children talking, music playing, feet shuffling, and chairs being
scraped across the tile floor. This child may not be able to complete the math or reading assignments
correctly with all of the other stimuli overloading his brain. In fact, this child may even exhibit behavioral
problems resulting from his frustration and inability to screen out unnecessary sensory input. The teacher
may notice the child "clowning around," staring into space, or flapping his hands. This child may become
terrified of the fire alarm, perceiving that sound as painful. Another child may struggle when the room is
quiet, because that child is not receiving enough input through his hearing. This child may begin tapping
his pencil, humming, kicking his desk, or otherwise producing his own noise. All children are different in
their needs, but the teacher should be sensitive to the child with sensory integration dysfunction, taking
time to determine whether that child needs a quiet area to study, a set of headphones to block out extra
sounds, or perhaps a stereo headset to provide quiet music.

Symptoms of Listening Problems

  • Need to have instructions repeated
  • Says “what” frequently
  • Misinterpret what is being said
  • Difficulty following and participating in conversations in noisy environments
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty following directions.
  • Slow, hesitant, poorly articulated speech
  • Ability to speak often improves after intense movement
  • Often talks out of turn or "off topic"
  • If not understood, has difficulty re-phrasing; may get frustrated, angry, and give up
  • May only be able to understand or follow two sequential directions at a time
  • Difficulty filtering out other sounds while trying to pay attention to one person talking

Therapeutic Listening
Therapeutic Listening is a sensory technique targeting the vestibular and auditory systems through
specially designed music and equipment. Provided by certified therapists, this tool can be a wonderful
adjunct to traditional therapies and can positively affect many areas related to sensory-integrative
dysfunctions. Through our own experiences with music, we know how different types of music affect us,
from nature sounds to classical music, to rock and roll. Music itself, as a type of sensory input, is often
used by therapists to assist with the sensory integrative needs of children. Therapeutic Listening is similar
to this approach, however, it is a much more specialized technique. It is ultimately hoped that this
technique will help promote change in the skill of "active listening," a skill requiring significant
coordination of the vestibular and auditory systems.
For more information on Therapeutic Listening, visit the website

The Listening Program
The Listening Program ® is a Music-Based Auditory Stimulation method that is used to train the auditory
skills needed to effectively listen, learn, and communicate.  This method has helped thousands of children
with auditory processing problems, dyslexia, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, autism, and
those with sensory integration and motor skills difficulties.  It has helped adults fight depression, learn
foreign languages faster, develop better communication skills, and improve creativity and on the job
performance.  Finally, many clients report psychological gains: improved self-confidence, higher levels of
energy and motivation, greater clarify of mind, and a sense of well-being.  

The Listening Program ® was designed to help balance, strengthen, and/or restore our ability to listen to
and process sounds across the full auditory spectrum, from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.  Using The Listening
Program ® literally exercises and tones tiny muscles in the ear and helps build stronger multi-sensory
pathways in the brain. The brain receives especially rich auditory stimulation, and its ability to process
sound improves.  The Program is available exclusively through trained and qualified health, therapeutic,
and educational professionals, but can be used as home.
The closest local provider is in San Jose, CA at
All Things Well

Music (see also Music Therapy)
My children have always loved music and when
they were younger, we would regularly attend
Music Together" classes.  These classes are fun,
easy, and a great way to meet other moms. We'd
also often use soothing music when they were
infants to lull them back to sleep.  Now, every
night we still use a lullaby CD at bedtime. These
were (and still are) our tried and true favorites.  
Scroll to the bottom for more listening ideas and
see our
Books & CDs page for singalong fun!


Our eyes provide us with input regarding such things as color, light, movement, locations, body language,
and facial expressions. This information, when properly received and analyzed by our brains, allows us to
find our way around, read, interpret body language and facial expressions, anticipate movement, and
sense danger. A child who is under-reactive to sight stimuli might flick her fingers in front of her face, or
hold a book close to her eyes.

On the other hand, a child who is overly sensitive or overly reactive to visual input might be frightened in a
crowded mall, or become either withdrawn or hyperactive in a room with bright lights and an abundance of
color or movement. People with sensory integration dysfunction may not respond appropriately to others’
facial expressions, due to their inability to properly organize visual input. A large classroom which is
visually stimulating, with colored posters, stacks of books, bright lights and windows, rows of desks, and
many children, can be very distracting to the person with sensory integration disorder, and may require
that special accommodations be made for that person.

Symptoms of a Vision Problem
  • One eye turns, drifts or aims in a different direction than the other eye? Crossed eye? Wandering eye? (Look
    carefully -- this can be subtle. This is significant even if it only happens occasionally, such as when the person is
    tired, stressed or ill).
  • Frequent squinting or closing of one eye?
  • Excessive blinking or squinting?
  • Poor visual/motor skills (including "hand-eye coordination")?
  • Problems moving in space, frequently bumps into things or drops things?
  • Difficulties catching and/or throwing airborne objects?
  • Repeatedly confuses left and right directions?
  • Appears to favor the use of one eye?
  • Turns or tilts head in order to use one eye?
  • Reading and/or using a computer causes eyes to tear, itch, or hurt.
  • Jerky eye movements.
  • Eyes that cross or turn in or out.
  • Light sensitivity after reading.
  • Headaches, dizziness, nausea, or fatigues easily after reading.
  • Head tilting, closing or blocking one eye when reading.
  • Skips lines or loses place when reading.
  • Difficulty tracking moving objects.
  • Misaligns letters or numbers.
  • Unusual posture or moves head closely to see book or paper.
  • Avoidance of near work such as reading.
  • When reading, words, letters, or lines run together or jump around.
  • Difficulty concentrating or comprehending reading material.  
  • Persistent reversals of numbers, letters, or words after second grade.
  • Writes crooked or poorly spaced.

There is a crucial difference between “sight” and “vision”. Though we are born with sight, vision is actually
learned. Sight occurs in the eyes, but vision is the ongoing interplay between the eyes and the brain.
Incredible as it sounds, each eye receives about a billion messages every waking second. These images are
then sent to the brain, which, in turn, processes them into pictures in our “mind’s eye”. How well your eyes
work together to help the brain interpret these messages ultimately determines not only whether your
vision is good or bad, but also whether or not you can concentrate.  Since 75% to 90% of all a child learns
comes to him via the visual pathways, it stands to reason that if there is any interference in those pathways,
a child will not develop to his maximum potential.  About sixteen percent of all children suffer from
inadequate visual skills

Vision therapy is a non-surgical course for treating many common visual deficits, such as poor tracking,
double vision, inadequate focusing abilities and lazy eye. The course of treatment varies greatly from one
individual to the next, but typically includes a series of eye exercises that strengthen the eyes and visual
system.  Visual Perception can be stimulated by the following activities: puzzles, tracing, dot-to-dot,
activities distinguishing letter’s and numbers that appear similar (like 2/5, b /d, p / q), hidden pictures,
stringing beads, and sorting nuts and bolts. Visual memory games like "Concentration," and building
blocks like Legos, also help visual perception.  
Vision Therapy and the Autistic Child Success Story.

Here is an excellent website that explains Vision and Learning and another that answers questions about
and explains
Vision Therapy.
Hearing & Sight
Toys, Products, and Ideas
for Sensory Education
Oriental Trading Company, Inc.
San Francisco Music
Box Company