40 Weeks

July 6, 2012

No, I’m not pregnant.

Gavin started listening therapy and that’s how long it will last.  AND he has to do it twice a day, every day…..for 40 weeks.  I did the math (because I’m a nerd) and that adds up to 560 listening sessions……..that I’m responsible for remembering to make him do (and logging results weekly).  Yikers.

To be honest, I don’t even completely understand it, but I’m all about trying things for him.  There’s been tons of research done (by other people, not me) that shows great brain interaction and spatial organization when coupled with music specifically designed for this program.  (If you’re really interested in the ins and outs, you can read more about it here. Check out that list of things to expect.  Wow!)  It truly fascinates me how our brain works and the things we can do to “train” it.

So, he has to wear these gigantic (ie:expensive) headphones along with a CD player strapped to his back (which, by the way, was hard to find.  Nobody buys Walkmans anymore.  I even had the guy at  Best Buy trying to talk me out of buying one until I told him what it was for.)

The volume has to be set on a specific number (it has to be more like background music and he must be able to hear me talking at a normal volume).  The disc has to be set to shuffle, he can only listen between 20-30 minutes at a time with at least 3 hours between sessions and at least 3 hours before bed time.  So, yeah.  We’ve struggled these past 2 weeks to make sure we fit it all into the guidelines.

But I think it’s working.  We just started week 3.  The first week was amazing.  I noticed almost instant results.  He was more conversational, more loving, and more even keeled if that makes sense.

But something happened in week 2 that made me want to stop the program altogether.   He became way more moody and emotional, bursting into tears over simple things.  He was lashing out at brothers and me.  It was so weird.  We were still using the same disc of music…..nothing had changed……except Gavin.

I sat down with both his OT and speech therapists on Tuesday and filled them in.  His speech therapist (whom I LOVE) was actually very encouraged by this turn of events.  “This is great!” she said.  “He’s processing through his emotions and feelings and beginning to communicate them!  It’s working!!”  She strongly encouraged us to try a third week to see what would happen.  She said he had to get over the hump; we would have good times and bad times over the course of the next 38 weeks.

I explained that the first week Gav was excited to do therapy each day but by the second week, he was telling me it wasn’t working and it was a huge struggle to keep him listening the full 2o minutes.  His therapists then pulled Gav into the conversation asking him why he was saying it wasn’t working (every time he told me that I would check his player and there was never any problem with it).  And then a light bulb went off.  My son who loves order and knowing what comes next COULD NOT STAND the fact that the disc was set to shuffle.  The first week, it was all new and he was familiarizing himself with the music.  By the second week, he would anticipate what song would play next and when it didn’t play the one he expected, he would get frustrated.

He then spent a good portion of his therapy time with his OT talking about listening therapy and how it’s ok that it’s on shuffle, etc. etc.  We’ve since had three more days at home with it, and things have gone much smoother.  I know there will be other “humps” to get over, but hopefully we’ll continue to see very positive results.

3 Responses to “40 Weeks”

  1. kathleen Ottley said

    Wow, Emily! this was so fascinating to read. I’m so proud of you for all that you are doing for Gavin. Do you remember Matt and Tammy Syverson? They have a daughter with Down’s Syndrome and they have been taking her to ‘hyppotherapy’ (sp?) and are amazed at the progress she’s made in her speech. They said there are a lot of kids with Autism there too (and eating disorders!)

  2. Katie said

    Go Gavie, Go!!!

  3. Bridie Sellers said

    I have several preemie mom friends that have kids either on the spectrum or have other global delays. A few of them also really swear by hippotherapy. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the listening therapy – mostly the reaction you saw in week 2 with the behavior, and maybe they just quit then and didn’t see it through. Awesome that you are continuing to try new things!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: