DECODING, PHONEMIC AWARENESS, LISTENING AMIDST NOISE
Decoding, phonemic awareness, listening in a noisy environment and speaking clearly require efficient processing and storage of information. iLs programs maximize efficiency and accuracy of the auditory channel through carefully calibrated auditory stimulation. Through repeated exercises, the neuronal connections of the auditory channel are trained to analyze and process sound more quickly and accurately. Bone/air conduction headphones deliver unique and efficient stimulation of the auditory and vestibular systems. Exercises in auditory figure ground, filtered words, repeating words and dichotic listening focus on skills related to auditory processing.
IMPROVED EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE
iLs’ VoicePro with Interactive Language Activities provides a means to enhance sensory input (i.e. address subcortical functions) while continuing to address targeted speech-language and voicing goals, enhance auditory and language processing skills, and address the organizational components of speech and language. Social skills can also improve through the use of iLs’ air and bone conduction headset with built-in microphone when it is used as an interactive tool. When employed by speech therapists, the VoicePro is typically used as a dynamic and integral component of speech therapy.
PROCESSING INFORMATION, LEARNING NEW TASKS
The cerebellum is 10% of the weight of the brain, but it has 50% of the brain’s neurons. In computer terms, the cerebellum is the processor, receiving input from sensory systems and various parts of the brain, and integrating these inputs to fine tune motor activity. Neuroscientists agree that the cerebellum is involved in motor functions, cognitive functions such as attention and emotional functions such as regulating fear and pleasure responses. The iLs Playbook’s repetitive activities are designed to stimulate cerebellar function. Inputs from the visual, vestibular and auditory systems, session after session, train the cerebellum to become efficient at processing multi-sensory information.
EMOTIONAL REGULATION, BODY AWARENESS
Directly connected to the cochlea of the inner ear, the vestibular system is primarily responsible for balance and coordination, but also has a strong impact on sensory modulation and emotional regulation. Once the vestibular system is functioning well, children are better able to participate in higher brain functions such as reading, writing and expressive language. iLs provides specific and comprehensive stimulation to the vestibular system through bone conduction delivered via headphones, balance board activities, and body movement exercises.
MOTOR PLANNING, REGULATION, AWARENESS OF PERSONAL SPACE
The sense of one’s own body — where it is, how to control it, how to move it — to the point where we don’t need to think about it, comes from the receptors in our joints and muscles and is referred to as proprioception. This is an often overlooked sensory system that contributes to behavior and the ability to focus on language tasks. When this system is integrated with the other sensory systems, the brain is freed up to focus on higher order activities. Children and adults who improve their proprioceptive abilities are able to approach learning and communication tasks in a more relaxed and regulated manner. iLs’ movement program focuses on building proprioceptive abilities through specific, repetitive exercises.
SENSE OF CALM, “GROUNDED”
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls many organs and muscles that work in an involuntary, reflexive manner. The ANS is important in 2 situations: emergencies that require us to “fight” or to take “flight” (the sympathetic SNS) and non-emergencies that allow us to “rest and digest” (the parasympathetic PNS). The iLs’ auditory program stimulates the parasympathetic system through the vagus nerve which influences our heart rate, sweating, mouth and throat muscles involved in speech, as well as our bowels and digestion. Many children and adults beginning iLs programs are in a state of hyper-arousal, not far from “fight or flight”. The gentle stimulation of the PNS brings about a balance of the ANS which is reflected by increased ability to express oneself calmly.
The brain defies categorization of function into neatly organized compartments but rather utilizes multiple areas simultaneously for any one function – reading being a good example. Brain areas from front to back and from left to right are simultaneously involved in this activity. This requires precise, rapid and clear communication within and between hemispheres. The strength of the connection between hemispheres is enhanced through the duration of the listening and the repetitive exercises from the iLs Playbook.