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The Pyramid Of Learning

Brain Harmony approaches therapy for our friends from a holistic perspective. The picture to the right describes it best. This pyramid represents the process of learning for each of us. Our senses forming the base of the pyramid are the foundation for learning and brain functioning. When one of our senses does not work correctly or is impaired than the rest of the pyramid may be weak. 

With over 25 years of experience, Brain Harmony has created unique protocols that,when combined with Integrated Listening Systems, produces accelerated results. This combined approach is based on the fact that we can change our brain – we can essentially re-wire it through specific and repeated stimulation, a concept known as neuroplasticity. As in building strength and endurance with physical exercise, we can build neurological pathways and synaptic activity at any age. 


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Attention & Regulation

Paying attention seems like a simple concept, but the ability to focus on something actually requires a complex system of brain networks. A new study from Stanford University School of Medicine finds that the interaction between three brain networks involved in attention is abnormally weak in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Using iLs helps to strengthen the brain and allows the interaction between the brain and the body to become more balanced.  

Edward Hallowell, MD, Harvard Medical School Faculty, Child & Adult Psychiatrist, Author of Delivered from Distraction & other books on ADHD had the following to say when asked about iLs,” “Our centers consistently see excellent results with iLs with regard to attention and learning problems. iLs works at a neurological level so it’s a great complement to the behavioral, cognitive and medical approaches we use … Even the best therapy only works if you actually stick with it, so the fact that iLs is not only effective but is fun and can be done at home makes it extremely appealing.”  

Study 29 children with Auditory Processing Disorder; Advance Magazine, Jan 2010  

  • Pre-intervention: 0 of 29 children had intact auditory / vestibular processing skills 

  • Post-intervention: 22 of 29 tested in normal range in all areas of auditory processing skills 

  • Pre-intervention: 7 of 29 were on ADHD medications 

  • Post-intervention: all 7 had successfully ceased medication 

  • Parents and teachers reported improvements in social skills, language, improved grades in reading and math, with most of the kids showing definite improvement in reading comprehension. 


Auditory Processing Disorder

There is no clear agreed-to-definition of Auditory Processing Disorder, but there seems to be agreement on these points:  

  • There is a breakdown in receiving, remembering, under standing, and using auditory information.  
  • Hearing ability is adequate.  
  • There is a neurological basis to the disorder.  
  • The child’s ability to listen is impaired.  

iLS is based on the fact that we can change our brain – we can essentially re-wire it through specific and repeated stimulation, a concept known as neuroplasticity. As in building strength and endurance with physical exercise, we are able to build neurological pathways and sympatic activity at any age.  

Study 29 children with APD; Advance Magazine, Jan. 2010  

  • Pre-intervention: 0 of 29 children had intact auditory/ vestibular processing skills Post-intervention: 22 of 29 tested in normal range in all areas of auditory processing skills  
  • Pre-intervention: 7 of 29 were on ADHD medications, Post-intervention: all 7 had successfully ceased medication. Parents and teachers reported improvements in social skills, language, improved grades in reading and math, with most of the kids showing definite improvement in reading comprehension. 


Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the US. Children who are diagnosed with autism typically deal with symptoms and aspects of other conditions such as learning disabilities, behavioral problems and sensory processing disorders. There is no cure for autism, but we have found a combined approach of The Safe and Sound Protocol, integrated Listening systems, the Dream Pad when combined with good therapeutic processes  have had a profound effect with children on the autism spectrum. 

iLs Home Program Autism Study

This study was based on the effect of the iLs home program on 18 children diagnosed with autism. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the iLs Focus home program with 18 children, 4-to-8 years of age, with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Results found significant gains in areas of social skills and emotional regulation, number and severity of autistic behaviors, and overall functional adaptive behavior skills. – Spiral Foundation, Boston, MA 

The Spiral Foundation found significant gains across multiple subjective and objective outcome measures in areas of: 

  • Social skills and emotional regulation 
  • Quantity and quality of atypical and problem behaviors including behavior during treatment 
  • Number and severity of autistic behaviors; and overall functional adaptive behavior skills 
  • Visual, fine and gross motor skills including body functions and motor planning 
  • Auditory listening skills 

Overall, results demonstrated that the effects of the iLs program were significant, of generally large magnitude, easily observable, and sustained throughout the post-intervention baseline. The iLs home program was thus supported as an effective intervention for improving multiple areas of functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder. 


Bed Wetting

According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Nocturnal Enuresis is the medical term for bedwetting. Most children wet the bed occasionally or even nightly during the potty-training years. In fact, it is estimated that seven million children in the United States wet their beds on a regular basis. Controlling bladder function during sleep is usually the last stage of potty-training. In others words, it is normal for children to wet the bed while sleeping during that learning process. Bedwetting is typically not even considered to be a problem until after age 7. 

Bedwetting in children is often simply a result of immaturity. The age at which children become able to control their bladders during sleep is variable. Bladder control is a complex process that involves coordinated action of the muscles, nerves, spinal cord and brain.”  Because iLs works to train the brain through the use of repetitive muscle motion and musical stimulation, it is fitting that it would also help a child build the necessary skills needed to become potty-trained. The notion that the brain is able to change in response to stimulation, an ability known as “neuroplasticity,” is now so widely accepted it can be called fact. iLs programs are based on this principle, providing gentle and specific stimulation in order to activate the neural pathways used in the processing of sensory information. Neuronal connections in these pathways are strengthened and new connections are established through repeated sessions of multi-sensory input. iLs programs are customized, i.e. individualized for each person’s therapeutic goals. 


Behavioral Concerns

“By reducing the disruptive behaviors of children with high maintenance temperaments, teachers can create classrooms more conducive to learning – which benefits both students and teachers,” concluded lead study author Meghan McCormick, a doctoral student in NYU Steinhardt’s psychology and social intervention program. 


A controlled study was administered with 20 students, ten of which received iLs as part of their treatment. The iLs group received therapy 30 minutes per day, on an average of four days per week while the control group students continued to receive ABA, OT and Speech therapy on their regular weekly schedule. All members of the iLs group showed significant improvement in most categories, most notably in the areas of Balance, Gross & Fine Motor Control, Sensory and Auditory/Language. Those in the control group made marginal, if any, improvement across all categories. 

The outcome data clearly shows significant changes in auditory processing, motor function and behavior for the students receiving iLs. Teachers and parents noted changes in social interactions and emotional regulation which resulted in greater classroom participation and interaction with peers. In addition, stemming behaviors decreased while reciprocity in day-to-day interactions increased.  One child with echolalia was able to initiate relevant conversations with adults and answer “wh” questions by the 

end of the study. The same student now interacts with the other children during recess and plays on the equipment, neither of which he was able to do prior to the program.  Since starting, iLs, there have been no behavioral outbursts or meltdowns at school at all. The iLs group students also saw reductions in or discontinuation of IEPs. 


Brain Injury, Mild Stroke and Parkinson’s

Traumatic brain injuries come with a list of symptoms that can affect your health, along with your overall well-being.  Thus, our multi-sensory program and specialized headphones were created to address symptoms connected to brain injuries and help improve brain function. 


After 60 one-hour iLs sessions combined with Therapy over a period of three months, a 60-year old with 

a brain injury had the following results: 

SCAN A: Initial Assessment November 2010

  • Filtered Words: 1% 
  • Completing Words: 2% 
  • Completing Sentences: 37% 
  • Completing Sentences: 75% 

Retest: March 2011

  • Filtered Words: 16% 
  • Completing Words: 50% 
  • Completing Sentences: 75% 

She is now able to attend church and eat out at restaurants.  She also reported enormously improved balance and coordination  in addition to improvements in communication. 

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The adage “we read with our ears” holds much truth, but is often ignored in reading programs. Decoding and phonemic awareness require efficient processing and storage of auditory information. iLs trains the auditory channel for efficiency and accuracy through repeated listening and movement sessions. The goal is to activate the relevant neuronal connections and ultimately train the ear and the brain to analyze and process language frequencies simultaneous to movement (replicating daily life where our visual and auditory systems are expected to be simultaneously functional). 

After three months of iLs, Brock went from reading in the 47th percentile to the 91st percentile over a three month period (Woodcock Reading Mastery Test). Additionally, he seems to have much greater emotional regulation and focus than before. These changes are serving him well in his academics as well as in his relationships at school and at home. 

“Brock has made such a huge improvement in reading that many of the challenging issues are not there anymore. I’m not sure what to attribute it to, but I’m sure it’s a combination of iLs, maturity, educational therapy and confidence. When it’s time to do homework he gets his books, sits down and does the work. We no longer have a power struggle, rocking at the table, etc. He’s focused, and gets it done mostly on his own, which is a BIG change since last year.” 


Learning Ability

The acquisition of reading, writing, math and other academic skills is dependent upon a normally-developed nervous system. Communication between the brain’s two hemispheres and integration of sensory input from the eyes, ears and motor systems must be intact for adequate response to intervention (RTI). However, efficient processing does not occur in an immature nervous system. 

By providing appropriate auditory, visual and vestibular stimulation, iLs helps the nervous system develop there by improving the ability to learn. 

Edward Hallowell, MD, Harvard Medical School Faculty, Child & Adult Psychiatrist, Author of Delivered from Distraction & other books on ADHD had the following to say when asked about iLs,” “ Our centers consistently see excellent results with iLs with regard to attention and learning problems . iLs works at a neurological level so it’s a great complement to the behavioral, cognitive and medical approaches we use at Hallowell Centers… Even the best therapy only works if you actually stick with it, so the fact that iLs is not only effective but is fun and can be done at home makes it extremely appealing.” 


Data on 44 students was collected to measure the effect of iLs on students with learning difficulties attending Sylvan Learning Center. The students completed Sylvan math and reading tests prior to and after their iLs programs. The iLs Measure of Foundational Abilities (MFA), an online assessment was also completed pre and post. 

The students ranged from 3rd to 12th grade and represented a variety of learning difficulties, including reading, auditory processing and attention deficits. Results showed that on average, students’ math and reading scores improved by approximately 1.2 years after the 40-hour iLs program. 

Average improvements in the MFA categories were as follows:  

  • Social/Emotional (54%),  
  • Auditory/Language (48%), 
  • Organization, Attention & Cognitive (53%),  
  • Motor Skills (37%) and  
  • Sensory (34%). 


Prader Willi Syndrome

PWS is a complex genetic disorder affecting appetite, growth, metabolism, cognitive function and behavior.  Although each person with PWS presents differently, below are some of the more common challenges faced:   

  • Difficulty in auditory and visual sensory processing 

  • Inability to recognize feelings of hunger and satiety resulting in a continuous urge to eat    

  • Poor behavioral and state regulation (emotional outbursts, screams, hyper-silly behaviors) 

  • Difficulty transitioning 

  • Poor eye contact, poor visual tracking and hand-eye coordination 

  • Delayed gross motor and bilateral motor planning skills 

  • Auditory processing difficulties, memory, phonics, comprehension and literacy skills 

  • Dyslexia tendencies 

  • Limited attention span, especially in classroom or group settings 

  • Poor engagement in the classroom and with other children 

  • Incontinence, bed-wetting. 

iLs is based upon the fact that we can change our brain – we can essentially re-wire it through specific and repeated stimulation, a concept known as neuroplasticity. Significant research or studies have been conducted showing significant improvements in visual, auditory and sensory processing disorders, reduction in the symptoms of autism, improved cognitive functioning, reduction of dyslexia tendencies, reduction of bed wetting as well as improved attention and regulation of self. 

As a family, we were rocked by our daughter's Prader Willi diagnosis at 5-weeks-old.  In April of 2017, we found iLs and on May 1st our daughter Ashley started her listening therapy. To say we were thrilled with the results would be an understatement. Our daughter who has gross motor delays began climbing up her swing set slide without falling. She started to pull herself up out of the pool instead of using the stairs. She also has incontinence at night. I am happy to say that she has woken up dry 16 out of the last 18 days. 

Five weeks into the program, she said that she was cold. She has never commented on her temperature and as with many children with PWS, she has difficulty regulating her temperature. On a particularly hot day when she was doing therapeutic horseback ridding, she told her instructor she was too hot. 

In addition, her processing time has shortened. At her most recent parent/teacher conference, her math teacher was nearly bursting to tell us that she had solved a math problem in 8 seconds. We have noticed this at home as well. Our requests to her are done almost immediately as opposed to the 20 - 40 second lag time we used to see. 

“I have been thrilled with the results of iLS in children with Prader-Willi syndrome.  This system can help with processing speed, speech and language development, and even sleep. “  - Jennifer Miller, MD, Pediatric Endocrinology: University of Florida 


Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. iLs research has demonstrated that there is a strong correlation between the degree of body/motor organization and higher level emotional and cognitive organization. Improving body coordination, balance, muscle tone and motor skills is the most direct route to improving cognitive and emotional skills, as well. 

Founder of Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation and Director of Sensory Therapies and Research (STAR) Center, Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR/L, had the following to say about iLs: “At STAR Center our therapists use iLs for a few key reasons: 

  1. It can be customized to each individual’s needs; 
  2. iLs seems to ‘jump start’ many children’s developmental changes; 
  3. We use it with most of our children in clinic, and we often send clients home with an iLs Focus for continuation of therapy once their intensive short-term program is complete.” 

When Harrison began iLs, he was a five-year-old boy with sensory processing difficulties, poor fine motor, coordination and muscle strength. One year after using iLs, his mom reported the following, “Harrison will look you in the eye when he talks to you. His diet has greatly expanded and he told me a couple months ago to no longer send the same thing to school every day for lunch. He is able to focus and concentrate more. We spend less time arguing over textures of clothing. He is getting his face wet and says he is ready to take swim lessons. He no longer feels like his brain is not working. Most importantly his confidence has greatly improved.” 


Speech & Language

Many Speech-Language Pathologists recommend an iLs home program for clients who are able to utilize activities from the iLs Playbook on their own, simultaneous to the clinic program. Playbook activities help reduce stress, improve self-regulation, attention, sensory processing, etc., which makes any client more receptive to speech therapy. 

JT is a patient that has greatly benefitted from the addition of iLs to his routine. “Our son has completed an iLs program and has been attending the after-school/summer sessions. We have seen a lot of changes and progress in our son as a result of these combined programs. His nonverbal skills have improved and his verbal fluency continues to increase by leaps and bounds. He is learning to trust others which is shown by his willingness to take cues from others when he is uncertain about things. He enjoys accomplishing tasks with a partner and he also watches what other people/kids do and thereby incorporates more detail and challenges into the tasks he is doing,” commented JT’s mom. 

Erin is another child who has benefitted greatly from the addition of iLs. When Erin began therapy at the age of six,she had low self-confidence and appeared to be disinterested with a flat affect. She was quiet, shy and often clung to her mother. She spoke more at home than in public, but her parents had a difficult time understanding what Erin was trying to communicate. 

After six months of iLs, Erin is more confident socially and is more verbally outgoing with adequate voice volume.  She now likes to tell stories of events and she asks “why” and other “wh-” questions. She has been able to make new friends at school and appears happy now instead of having a fl at affect. Erin’s therapist even commented, “While previously Erin was extremely quiet during most therapy sessions and rarely initiated conversation, over the past three months she has become quite talkative, initiates conversations, comments and elaborates frequently throughout each session. This is a great improvement fromthe shy girl who walked into my office six months ago.” 


Stress & Sleep

Sleeping enough is important for memory. During sleep, the brain transfers the day’s new information from short-term memory to long-term memory. Research has demonstrated that sufficient sleep is critical to this process. A new study from Uppsala University adds a caveat: insufficient sleep does not hamper memory formation, as long as there is no cognitive stress . That is, the researchers found that people who slept for only a short time, followed by a cognitively stressful situation had reduced recall. The findings indicate the importance of sleeping enough before facing stressful situations like school or work. 

In addition, a study that tracked the sleep patterns of children from birth to age four has found that shorter sleep times are correlated with more anger, aggression, impulsivity, tantrums, and other annoying behaviors. The research team – lead by Dr. Rebecca J. Scharf of University of Virginia, Charlottesville – published their findings in The Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. 

Stress and sleep is a problem for both children and adults.  The following quote is from a New York Attorney who sums up what iLs can do for anyone. “I can’t even begin to tell you all of the benefits I’ve been seeing! Falling asleep on time is probably the first benefit I noticed. I used to ask my wife, who has no problems with sleep, how she could fall asleep so quickly, since I would almost always stay up for no reason; now, I seem to be the one falling asleep first (she now asks me, in jest, how I am doing it). My thought process is much, much clearer; I seem to be much more “aware” of my thoughts, and my internal state in general.  I’m not sure if I’m imagining, but I actually feel smarter.  The most important aspect of my progress is something I’ve noticed very recently – I can now pay attention to someone else talking during a conversation for long periods of time without zoning in and out. I can’t even begin to  tell you how important this is for me.” 

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Optimal Performance

iLs is used by students, athletes and professionals of all ages to achieve better attention, mental acuity and motor coordination. 


A total of 20 public school children participated in a 3-month Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) pilot study during 2008-2009 school year. The results include pre- and post-study standardized test scores, as well as teacher comments. This was not a controlled study. Students who were receiving academic intervention or therapy were not taken out of those programs during the iLs pilot period. 

The 20 children were selected by the teachers and administrative staff of the 4 participating schools. They were a combination of special education and general education students, some having IEPs and/or a formal diagnoses, others had neither. 

Ilyne Engel, Rocky Mountain Elementary Physical Therapist and iLs Program Monitor summed up the results of study by saying, “The thing that was really exciting was that all the kids saw huge gains. Especially in the visual perception tests, almost everyone’s improvement was off the charts. The confidence change was also across the board. The kids seemed to begin to see themselves as learners whereas before the program many of them saw themselves as losers. Every single child in the iLs program has come and asked to do it again. Every single parent called or came in and has asked to do it again. It’s been amazing.”