The field of auditory intervention is designed to treat a range of impediments to a child's social, emotional and cognitive development. Many developmental issues experienced in children may be traced back to some kind of auditory processing disorder. Though sometimes conflated with hearing problems, in the case of an auditory processing disorder, a child's ability to hear is not the issue, rather the brain's facility in comprehension, cognitive interpretation or emotional inference. In many cases, auditory intervention therapy can help children overcome an auditory processing disorder, essentially using proven techniques to show children ways they may process auditory input more effectively.
What is Auditory Intervention?
Auditory processing disorder may be a function of autism, Asperger's syndrome, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It may include difficulties in distinguishing like-sounding words, problems interpreting conversation tones, or the inability to focus on one particular audio source (or speaker) to filter out background noises.
Techniques to Help Children Overcome Auditory Intervention
Because there are so many different causes and manifestations of such disorders, there are numerous auditory intervention techniques that may be employed to help children overcome the underlying problems behind their impeded social comprehension or lack of focus.
Music Therapy for Auditory Intervention in Children
In some cases an auditory processing disorder may impact the way a child hears specific sound frequencies. For example, hypersensitivity to specific frequencies within the normal human listening range may induce overstimulation and distress. In such a case, auditory intervention techniques including music therapy may be used to gradually acclimate the child to the problematic frequencies, until he or she becomes comfortable enough that their sensitivity no longer disrupts focus and comprehension.
Interactive Metronome for Auditory Intervention
Another music therapy approach involves using what is called an interactive metronome. This practice aims to calibrate a child's timing down to a millisecond by using exercises revolving around use of a metronome. One exercise involves the child tapping or stepping onto a sensor in response to each metronome click. A computer responds to each tap or step to let the child know instantly whether they touched too soon, too late, or in perfect time. As the child works to establish perfect time, the precise and predictive repetition of the metronome helps his or her brain establish a reliable rhythm, which improves neural timing to the extent that motor response timing improves, as does the ability to process musical and conversational sequences.
Occupational Therapist Can Help With Auditory Intervention
With this and other techniques, auditory intervention utilizes technology to interact with a child both as a therapeutic and diagnostic tool. An occupational therapist qualified in auditory intervention methods is trained to recognize and diagnose possible root causes of an individual child's auditory processing disorder, and by understanding them, plot a course of action to learn to overcome them.