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The Use of TLP in children and adults with Autism, Sensory Processing, and other neurological conditions….an OT Perspective:
As a pediatric OT working with children and young adults with Cerebral Palsy, Genetic Disorders, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorders, and various Syndromes, I had always felt that something was missing from the mix that would address the whole client. What was that missing piece in treatment that was critical for putting all the pieces together for optimal outcomes?
Having trained in Neurodevelopmental treatment and Sensory Integration and processing, I observed that an element of therapy was missing that blocked further success. I was on a quest to research the various areas of sensory processing and the impact it has on functional outcomes and emotional regulation.
Throughout the exploration process, it finally connected. The answer was and still is music-based interventions, and so the world of the ‘listening’ journey begins. I had the opportunity to complete a 3-week training in 2005 at the Tomatis Center in Maryland, which laid the foundation for what was to become a big part of my practice. I used the Tomatis Method for a few years but was still looking for something more affordable and practical in use, which led me to Advanced Brain Technologies and The Listening Program® (TLP). I excitedly attended my first conference to learn more about TLP. Oh, those were the days, sitting and learning from the best of the best and hearing about ongoing worldwide research proving its efficacy.
I became certified in The Listening Program in 2008, and the rest is history. I have been using TLP consistently with my clients to this day. I am continuously impressed by ABT’s commitment to providing extensive research, evidence-based practice, multiple case studies, unwavering support to providers and clients, easy-to-use equipment, but most importantly, the significant gains and progress that our clients make. With the variety of programs available to include TLP Spectrum, Achieve, Level One, inTime, as well as Sound Health and Music for Babies, there is a program that suits the needs of every client we serve, including ourselves.
Owning a private pediatric practice in North Florida where we treat infants, children, teens, and young adults, from birth to age 21+, I use TLP readily in my practice.
I am a huge fan of the Sound Health albums in which I use to set the environment depending on the child’s needs and goals. Playing the music over a speaker makes it the perfect complement to the therapy environment.
Music for Thinking and Learning have been the top two choices for fine motor, cognitive and creative-based tasks. Music to Destress or Relax are great for the children who have challenges with sensory regulation; you can see the effect on the individual, both parent and child alike (and therapist for that matter) when they enter the space, and immediately you see calmness take over.
Cheerful Baby or Playful Baby, from the Music for Babies collection, are played when working with our little ones who struggle with functional play skills. The Peaceful Baby music is perfect for calming a stressed child. I often use the Destress or Relax albums for my teens seen in therapy as well as with the adults in my yoga classes during ‘Shavasana’ (relaxation). I personally love to use Music for Motivation, Inspiration, or Productivity when multi-tasking at home; you know all the things you have to or want to get done over the weekend, such as cleaning, organizing, documentation, special projects, and more. Put on Music for Productivity, and before you know it, you’re on to the next adventure.
Within my caseload, my clients have used TLP Spectrum, TLP Achieve, and TLP Level One. So, you want to know about progress?! Here is a quote from a mom whose daughter just started with TLP Spectrum. This little girl is 5-years old who presents with fine motor/gross motor challenges, decreased strength, lower muscle tone, and speech/language delays.
“She had another huge moment today! She ran into a friend on the playground and was able to then tell me his name when we left. That has never happened before. It’s super unreal! I’m like in shock still!”
Another client, a 7-year-old girl with Autism, has been using TLP Spectrum for about two months. She has extreme noise sensitivities, and any slight sound can throw her into chaos. She must wear her noise-canceling headphones in any external environment other than her home or place her hands over her ears, which inhibits the use of her hands for functional tasks. These extreme noise sensitivities hinder her ready state for learning. She often melts down when adults or others are talking without including her directly.
Recently, during our OT session, I realized that I was able to have a conversation with the child’s caregiver while she freely explored the room. Another therapist then entered with her client, a young male with Autism, and we were all talking together. Through the chaos, this usually would create a huge meltdown, which, fortunately for us, never happened. The caregiver and I were so excited to witness this accomplishment! The parents are reporting a decrease in noise sensitivity at home as well. Additionally, she is now using utensils for self-feeding, a paintbrush for painting, and sitting at the table for several minutes at a time with more purposeful intent, all goals we had been working on and are now achieving.
I must share one more example; a female adult with multiple concussions over a 5-year period led to severe psychiatric and mental health issues. Her psychiatrist told her and her husband to find a pediatric OT who specializes in sensory processing challenges. She and I connected. Her sensitivities were so off the charts that she was basically non-functional. I provided a variety of sensory strategies, but the most important strategy was TLP Spectrum. After several listening sessions, she became more engaged and motivated, less fatigued, less sensitive to noise. Her vestibular system started to ‘balance’ out, and her visual system became more connected. Eventually, over time she could go out to restaurants, start driving again and participate in meaningful conversations and activities.
Successes like this keep me incredibly passionate about learning and sharing more about auditory processing and how using The Listening Program and supportive music impacts the lives of so many in immeasurable ways. With consistent use and proper support and training, the changes we see, sometimes subtle, sometimes huge and quick, always amaze me and the family/client.
TLP truly lays the foundation and readies the body for what our children need for sensory regulation, calming, decreasing the stress response. It helps to optimize motor planning and perceptual foundations and enhancing overall auditory processing abilities, all of which are critical for full participation and achievements in higher-level learning!
Respectfully submitted by Nancy Marin, OTR/L, C-NDT, IYT
TLP Certified Provider
Nancy Marin, OTR/L, C-NDT, IYT
Nancy has been practicing as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist since 1986. A native of South Florida and graduating from FIU in 1983, Nancy worked for two years in geriatrics with stroke rehabilitation followed by 36 years of pediatric experience to include a school system, center-based programs, Early Intervention, and a private out-patient clinic.
After relocating to North Florida in 2001, Nancy opened her own business, Occuplay, Inc. Nancy continues to collaborate and work alongside a team of Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, and Behavioral Therapists.
Nancy has certifications in Pediatric NDT, Baby Treatment, Tomatis, The Listening Program, Reiki, and Integrative Yoga Therapy. She has been teaching for Ciao Seminars since 2002 and is currently teaching two courses; ‘Adaptive Yoga for Children with Neurological Differences, Go with the Flow’ and ‘Learn to Play the NDT Way.’ Nancy continues her passion for working with children and young adults with neurological and sensory processing differences.
Nancy is highly excited to begin this next chapter in her journey as an Adjunct Faculty Member with the incredible team at Advanced Brain Technologies.
Tags Advanced Brain Technologies, Autism, occupational therapy, The Listening Program
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