What if I told you that home therapy for SPD exists?
My oldest son was afraid of the television until he was six and a half years old.
When I say that he was afraid of the TV, I don’t mean that he has sensitive to themes, or that he couldn’t watch certain programming. I mean that when the television was on, he could not be in the room. It absolutely terrified him. He had a visceral reaction to the TV. He would cry, cower, shake, and when you held him close you could feel his little heart going pitter-pat at an alarming rate.
Whenever other people found out about this, they would smile and say something like, “Oh aren’t you lucky!”
They had no idea how hard it was to have a TV-phobic kid in today’s culture. Screens are everywhere, from other people’s homes to stores to our pediatrician’s waiting room.
And while TV was his biggest fear, he was afraid of other things too. Every fear was tied to a sound: alarm clocks, automatic toilets and hand dryers, the hum of the heating system, the clicks of the AC unit, mourning doves, crickets, lawnmowers…
… I could go on and on and on.
For years, our son struggled to navigate a world in which sounds were difficult for him. Without any other delays, he did not qualify for services. Eventually, after far too many this-too-shall-pass
My son is over-sensitive to sounds and under-sensitive to vestibular input. He’s a whirlwind of a little boy, always buzzing from place to place at top speed but an unknown sound will stop him dead in his tracks.
When our son’s sensory processing disorder symptoms spike, we head to occupational therapy. This always helps. The problem is, SPD is not recognized as a stand-alone diagnosis and our insurance company always bounces us after x-many sessions.
It’s important to find a fantastic occupational therapist to help you through this insurance company coverage dance. Our OT provides us with a sensory diet to use when we are not attending sessions. Still, I always find myself wishing we could do more. It would be wonderful if we could work on his sensory needs at home, rather than fighting our insurance company.
Recently, I learned about Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) Total Focus Home Program, a home therapy for SPD. Read on to find out more!
Home Therapy for SPD with Integrated Listening Systems (iLs)
*Disclosure: I received access to the Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) Total Focus Home Program at no cost and was compensated for my time. I was not required to write a positive review and, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only review resources that I would use with my own family.
But first- are you wondering if your child is gifted/2e?
What is Integrated Listening Systems (iLs)?
Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) has been utilized at some of the top clinics in the world to assist with a host of challenges, from learning disorders to apraxia to ADHD to SPD to autism… and more. It is now available for home use. Integrated Listening Systems is a multi-sensory approach to brain fitness. Just as you train your body to become stronger and healthier, iLs trains the brain to better process sensory, cognitive, and emotional input. This is called neuroplasticity and can be accomplished at any age. The activities are fun and can be customized for all ages and skill levels, for use in clinics, schools, and home.
For more information about the program, what is included, and initial set-up, you can read our initial post about getting started with iLs.
How did we incorporate home therapy for SPD with iLs into our homeschool routine?
My 8-year-old has been using the Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) Total Focus Home Program for just over eight weeks. We aim for five 1-hour sessions per week, but some weeks we only manage to complete four sessions. Sessions can be broken up into two 30-minute chunks, but we prefer to do the entire session at once.
The iLs program comes with a playbook which contains multiple examples of exercises to perform while listening to the program. The instructions are clear, with photographs, and easy to implement.
I love that the playbook has everything you need, but I also appreciate the flexibility of the program. You don’t have to use the playbook exercises. You can add in some of your own, too. In our case, our occupational therapist designed a sensory diet for my son. I will have him complete the sensory diet activities while wearing the headset.
The goal is to have your children moving, in an organized manner, for most of the session. I aim to have activities for my son for the first 45 minutes and then during the last 15 minutes I have a fine motor, calmer activity planned.
This program is a commitment and so you must have a plan in place for how you will implement it into your routine. In our case, I view iLs as another part of our homeschooling. Just as you must read and complete math, you must do your iLs. My son is a child who needs to move and needs to move A LOT and so I will schedule our iLs session between two seated activities. For example, our morning might look like this:
- Piano practice
I find that my son is eager to do iLs when I frame it this way. He is seeking movement and iLs fills that need.
Initially, I had planned on having all three children use the iLs program. While my younger two do not have sensory processing disorder, I wanted them to practice those functional skills like attention, memory, and processing. That said, I have found it challenging, with summer upon us, to be consistent about my younger two using the program. My main goal is for my oldest to use it, as he has sensory struggles. The younger two have used it a handful of times and enjoyed it, but it has not been on a consistent basis… yet.
Examples of exercises we have used in our home therapy with iLs:
The iLs Total Focus Home Program includes a playbook that comes with tons of exercises, with instructions, for your home therapy. You don’t need anything in addition to the playbook, but we like to spice things up over here so we incorporated other exercises, with the approval of our iLs coach, Carol. Examples include:
- The exercises included in the sensory diet that our occupational therapist designed for us.
- We also used ideas from this book and also created our own activities, from obstacle courses to art to gardening to backyard catch.
- Here are some additional examples:
Crossing the midline:
Bean bag coordination:
Yoga ball bounces:
What this homeschool mom liked about this home therapy for SPD
- The iLs program seeks to improve the functional aspects of learning, including attention, memory, processing, and emotional balance. These are areas that children with SPD need help with.
- From the beginning, I was impressed with the research on the iLs website and positive feedback from clinicians, educators, and parents.
- In addition, our occupational therapist recommended the program and that helped us decide to try it.
- I love that we can do therapy at home. Our insurance bounced us from OT earlier this year and so iLs came into our lives at the perfect time.
- The program is flexible. My son can do his iLs therapy in the morning one day and then in the evening the following day. If we have a super busy day, we can skip it and do an extra session over the weekend. Your schedule is your own and there are no appointments to contend with. This is especially helpful at this time of year, when summer is upon us.
- Our family iLs coach, Carol, is absolutely wonderful. Having a personal coach is fantastic!
- The program is movement-based, perfect for an active kiddo like mine.
- The program is also play-based, making it appealing for children of all ages.
- iLs incorporates the use of quality classical music.
- The program can be used with the entire family.
If you are looking for more options for home therapy for SPD, check out the iLs Dreampad
The Dreampad delivers music through gentle, calming vibration which only the user can hear. The folks over at iLs consider the Dreampad to be a therapeutic tool to assist with stress, sleep and sensory sensitivity . The Dreampad is a supplemental tool that can be used with a therapeutic program.
Another tool for your toolbox.
When you are the parent of a child with SPD, it’s so important to have tools in your toolbox. For us, those tools include occupational therapy sessions, a sensory diet that we use daily, counseling when everything spikes at once, and now iLs. The more ways you can help your child, the better!
Do you have a child struggling with “sensory stuff”?
If so, please know you are not alone. Here are some related posts:
Do you want to learn more about iLs?
- How to Make Read-Alouds Memorable in Your Homeschool - January 17, 2021
- Rock Your Read Alouds with This Simple Trick - January 16, 2021
- Does a game need to be “educational” to teach something? - January 10, 2021