Helen Francis
International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, Vol. 18, Iss. 11, 02 Nov 2011, pp 611 - 621

Background: 'The Listening Program' (TLP), a commercially available music-based auditory stimulation technique, claims to positively affect behaviour and learning in people with autism and dyslexia through targeting auditory processing difficulties. The author investigated changes in mood (calm vs anxious), attention to task, and person engagement in young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (including auditory processing deficit) who participated in TLP. These behaviours were also examined following exposure to regular classical music.
Methods: In a multiple single case study twelve participants aged 9-19 years completed TLP plus a shorter placebo regular classical music cycle. Assessment procedures included video recording, observational checklists, the school's 'Profound Education' Curriculum, and a post-study questionnaire for carers.
Results: Greater indications of positive change were seen in attention to task and person engagement after TLP than with regular music. These positive changes were more apparent in participants with sensory processing difficulties, particularly those with Rett Syndrome. Participants with predominantly motor impairment (cerebral palsy) did not show measurable change. Some improvement in mood was observed following both regular classical music and TLP for those with sensory processing difficulty.
Conclusions: The challenge posed by carrying out studies with this client group is addressed and decision making for subsequent clinical practice is examined.

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