Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder is a common neurobehavioural problem which affects 20% of boys and 8% of girls. It is believed to be caused by a deficiency in the transmission system which relays messages between cells in various parts of the brain. The majority of children with ADD/ADHD have auditory reception problems. Although they can hear, they have difficulty making sense of what they hear. They cannot tune out unwanted input and focus on selected sounds. It is this indiscriminate reception of auditory input which leads to the inability to concentrate their attention on a selected topic for any length of time. Poor functioning of the frontal lobe means the child cannot think quickly enough to ‘put the brakes on’ and control the impulse to act. This impulsiveness and hyperactivity also leads to behavioural problems and poor social skills.
How Sound Therapy may help
By stimulating the frontal lobe, Sound Therapy may restore the child’s ability to think quickly and put the brakes on before acting. It may also retrain the listening capacity or the auditory reception process, so that the child can learn to focus on the desired sound and to relay the sound directly to the language centre in the brain. Auditory reception problems are caused, in part, by the shutting down of the ear to certain frequencies of sound. The ear muscles become lazy and unresponsive and must be stimulated in order to regain the capacity to tune into the desired sound. Sound Therapy has been shown to help provide this rehabilitation for the ear and may help to re-organise the auditory transmission in the brain. This process helps to reduce stress and tension in the whole nervous system as the child becomes able to attend to a chosen stimulus instead of being constantly distracted by every sound in the environment.
How to use it
Regular listening to Sound Therapy is essential to receive successful results. The child should listen every day if possible for between 30 and 60 minutes. If it is possible to get the child to listen for longer than this each day, that will be even more beneficial. It may be difficult to persuade a child with ADD to sit still and listen – and although there is nothing wrong with listening on a personal music player while moving around, a child which is hyperactive may put the device at risk! Some parents have found they have more success in getting children with ADD to listen during sleep. If the child is a restless sleeper, the mini phones can be taped in to the ear with surgical tape, or you can use headphones that clip around the back of the ear. Be sure to place the headphone marked R in the right ear.
There is nothing wrong with offering incentives to get the child to listen. The promise of a reward once the child has done say, 100 hours of listening may prove effective in some cases.
What it achieves
Very dramatic results may be achieved with Sound Therapy for children with ADD. The first change you may observe could be a marked decrease in activity (for overactive children) while under active children may become more energized. As listening discrimination is re-trained, memory and concentration improve so that learning can be achieved with a great deal less effort. Sleep and appetite problems are resolved as the whole system becomes calmer and less erratic. The behavioural difficulties, such as impulsiveness and aggression are now brought down to a manageable level. The child may now be able to pay attention in class, understand and follow instructions and be motivated to communicate and learn.
To gain an in depth understanding of how Sound Therapy can help children with ADD/ADHD, you may like to read Rafaele Joudry’s book, Why Aren’t I Learning?