I received a call last night from the daughter of a friend of mine about her son, aged 2 1/2. She asked about teeth grinding because she noticed that her son grinds his teeth at night time while going to sleep. She hasn’t noticed it at other times during the day or while he is in a deep sleep.
This little boy does not have a diagnosis. He is an active little boy and highly verbal. While he has done some sound-based therapy at 18 months of age as a support for positive overall development my friend’s son is set to begin a follow-up sound-based therapy protocol later in the spring.
One of the things that helps determine sound therapy programming for a child this young, in addition to follow-up testing, is the report from the parents about their child’s overall sensory integration. Key areas I examine include the following:
Tell me about your child’s sense of smell:
o Does he search out particular smells to receive pleasure?
o Does he react negatively to certain smells like perfume? Or household cleaners?
o Does he seem hesitant to enter certain rooms where there may be a particular odor that he does not like?
Describe how your child responds to touch:
o Does he not like to give or get hugs? If he does, are they strong or weak hugs?
o Does he avoid getting his hands dirty with Playdoh or finger paints?
o Does he like to seek out things to hold in his hand?
o Is he searching for stimulation in his mouth, which may be demonstrated by teeth grinding or biting?
How does your child react to sound?
o Is he covering his ears to certain sounds?
o Does he shy away or cry when there is too much sound?
o Does he not always understand what is said to him
o Does he seem to ignore what is going on around him?
o Does your child look at you when you talk to him?
o Is your child able to do developmentally appropriate puzzles for his age?
Describe your child’s sense of taste:
o Does your child prefer to eat only foods of certain textures like smooth or crunchy?
o Does your child avoid foods with too much or too little spice?
Additionally, knowing about his body movement skills is also important. For example, this little boy likes to move and needs activity to balance his overall functioning and mood. He can sit and read books or be read to. He likes to do puzzles and will color. He most enjoys playing with cars and trucks and moves them around with logic for the purpose of the activity he is playing at that moment. But he does these best and for longer periods of time, when he is given periods of ‘physical movement’—either running around, swinging, swimming, etc.
When he is retested and once I additionally know how his sensory needs are functioning and what his movement needs are, follow-up sound-based therapy programming can begin.
Sound-based therapies provide sound stimulation to both the auditory and vestibular portions of the ear and by doing so, the sound waves presented address sensory integration by stimulating the nerves passing through the ear that support his overall sensory processing skills.