(not just) Music to Their Ears (part 4)

Sound Therapy is effective and enjoyable to children in OT

Sound Therapy is effective and enjoyable to children in OT

There are many sound therapy systems on the market today. Here is a brief overview of the three most popular ‘Structured’ systems in use by Occupational Therapists.  Whichever product you prefer, it is important to keep in mind it will also be used ‘at home’ for follow-up and maintenance applications. Information about other listening systems is available in the links under Resources list below.

Integrated Listening Systems (iLs)

Integrated Listening Systems is the most popular sound therapy program with all the bells and whistles. Its programs include acoustically modified classical music to provide enhanced or filtered sounds in certain frequencies. Loaded onto an iPod, this music is delivered to a pair of headphones that include bone conduction. With iLs you select from three programs (below). The audio content is pre-selected music that is in a set order (not selected by the therapist)

  • iLs clinic programs
    • 60-80 minutes/session
      • with 15-20 minutes allotted for the integration activities.
      • The balance of each session is spent doing creative and/or relaxing activities such as drawing, puzzles, fine-motor games, or just relaxing in a comfortable chair.
    • 20-40 sessions
    • 3 or more sessions/week
  • iLs school programs
    • 60 minutes/session
    • 40-60 sessions
    • completed over a 3-month period, i.e. within one semester.
  • iLs home programs
    • either 30 or 60 minutes/session
    • typically completed over 3-5 months

A study entitled “Effectiveness of the Integrated Listening System for Children with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder” presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference in San Diego, CA on April 25, 2013 concluded with:

These three studies provide diverse evidence that the Integrated Listening System (iLs) is an effective intervention for children with autism and SPD that may be used in isolation, in combination with a comprehensive OT program or in advance of individualized OT to promote improved functioning in a variety of areas including sensory processing, emotional regulation, social – communication interaction skills, and behavioral regulation . These studies contribute significantly to the science and practice of occupational therapy and suggests that iLs is an effective and efficient intervention to promote functional goals.

The Listening Program (TLP)

The Listening Program  has custom audio content created by a special ensemble of musicians. Each composition is specifically selected for its psycho-acoustic effects, including varied orchestration, tempo, octave, meter and simplification of lines. In addition to this special musical production, there is included in the program  a three-part workout called ‘ABC Modular Design™’  enabling listeners to effectively exercise the auditory processing system, providing “warm-up,” “workout” and “cool-down” phases. Also you have the option to select a delivery system that includes bone conduction.

TLP Level One trains auditory processing skills from a foundational to advanced level and contains the latest TLP program with exquisite classical recordings masterfully arranged and processed with ABT’s most advanced psychoacoustic modifications.

Upon completion of Level One, TLP Specialized Collection contains four categories:


  • Full Spectrum
  • Sensory Integration
  • Speech and Language
  • High Spectrum

Therapeutic Listening (TL)

At Jenny’s Kids, Inc., we use Therapeutic Listening because it is the best product for the price, making it more affordable for parents to purchase for use at home as well as school. With Therapeutic Listening a child listens for 30 minutes 2 times per day, with at least 3 hours between listening sessions . Also the audio content from Therapeutic Listening is selected by the therapist (specific for each child based on her sensory challenges) and changes very 2 weeks. There are 3 different audio content profiles to chose from, depending on the severity of the child’s sensory challenges. (Policy Statement on Disclosure of conflicts of interest)

  • Profile 1
    • for severe sensory defensive and regulatory issues
    • 12 week program
  • Profile 2
    • for mild – moderate sensory defensiveness or regulatory issues
    • 10 week program.
  • Profile 3
    • for mild sensory issues and subtle regulatory issues
    • 8 week program

After children complete the regular program, they listen to fine tuning sessions, which follow a specific format depending the child’s profile.

 Comparison Summary iLs TLP TL
Custom Audio Content? no yes no
Bone Conduction?  yes  yes  no
training provided? yes yes yes
Relative Cost highest middle lowest
Listening duration see list above ?? 30min/2xper day
Audio Content Selection program fixed foundation program fixed 3 profiles/therapist selected


Other Structured Listening Systems

Informal Listening Systems

(Note: These informal listening systems use high quality recording methods or filtering techniques and musical structure, such as rhythm tempo and harmonics to decrease stress and enhance attention.  They are placed here as a courtesy and do not have OT applications for sensory integration.)


Special thanks to The Anonymous OT for review and feedback.


About Emily Lauren

Jenny Clark, OTR/L, BCP (AOTA Board Certification in Pediatrics), is a licensed pediatric occupational therapist with over 22 years experience working as a school-based occupational therapist, independent contractor for early intervention services, private practitioner, speaker, consultant, author, and inventor. Jenny currently owns a pediatric therapy private practice, Jenny’s Kids, Inc. Jenny Clark Jenny is the author of the best-selling book on sensory processing entitled Learn to Move, Move to Learn: Sensorimotor Early Childhood Activity Themes(AAPC 2004), (Starter Kit available) More recently Ms Clark has written a sequel Learn to Move, Moving Up! Sensorimotor Elementary School Activity Themes (AAPC 2009). In addition, she has published two DVD’s Learn to Move: Dinosaurs (AAPC 2005), a companion to her first book, and Sensory Processing Disorder Kit: Simulations and Solutions for Parents, Teachers, and Therapists (AAPC 2006), which won the 2007 media in excellence video award from Autism Society of America. Jenny’s newest publication is a music CD, Sing, Move, Learn (AAPC 2010), which accompanies the songs in her first book. Ms. Clark is a contributing author for the book Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals (Greenwood Publishing Group 2007), as well as a chapter author for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Foundations, Characteristics, and Effective Strategies. (Pearson Publishing 2011 by Boutot & Myles). Jenny is the inventor of the Patent-Pending “Weigh” Cool Bracelet. Jenny has spoken both nationally and internationally on a variety of topics, including sensory integration/processing. She received her bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and graduated with distinction from the University of Kansas.
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