Modified Classical Music on iPods Helps Toilet Train Liverpool Children

The Liverpool Echo published an article today about the results of a pilot study which examined the effects of  modified classical music and a specific protocol to help children with autism and other cognitive and developmental challenges to be toilet trained.  This is a world first project, conducted by June Rogers head of NHS Liverpool Community Health’s Integrated Paediatric Continence Service.

Children listened to 30 minutes of music a day through a special audio system which provided the music through both auditory pathways, air and bone conduction. The outcomes are positive and have been presented at European conferences. We now await approval for a large scale clinical trial to confirm these results in a larger sample size.

Continence problems severely impact quality of life, self esteem, and have large costs associated with supporting these children as they enter school. Our protocol holds promise to help children with toilet training problems, reduce costs of services to them, and help them live a happier more fulfilling life.

Note that the program name in the article is incorrect. What is referenced as the Listening Project is supposed to be The Listening Program® developed by Advanced Brain Technologies in Ogden, Utah.

Read the full article

UPDATE: Thank you to the staff at the Liverpool Echo for making the correction to the program name!

Music Program Helps Children with Down Syndrome

Hearing and speech are common challenges for children with Down Syndrome or Trisomy 21.  Susceptible to chronic ear fluid and infections, auditory development is a crucial area of  focus when taking a comprehensive approach to helping these children reach their innate potential.

If hearing is impacted, so is  listening, auditory processing,  receptive and expressive language, and cognitive function. One broken link in the chain creates a domino effect in terms of  development of learning, behavior and communication.

Music listening therapy is a viable intervention for children with Down Syndrome. We have seen wide and varied success with The Listening Program® over the years, with the greatest success when the music is provided with a specialized audio system we developed called the ABT Bone Conduction Audio System™  that connects to an iPod or portable CD player and delivers the music simultaneously through air conduction and subtle vibrations through bone conduction. This integrated approach delivers a more reliable auditory signal to the brain helping to train it to discriminate sound and support other functions of the autonomic and central nervous systems.

A study was conducted by Gwyneth Jeyes and Caroline Newton in the UK in which a group of kids with Down Syndrome completed just half of the recommended minimum 50 hour protocol of The Listening Program® which is spread over the course of several months, with daily listening sessions of 15 or 30 minutes. These kids ages 5 to 12 yrs listened for just 25 hours and without the added bone conduction training. Even at this level of intervention all but one of the nine children showed improvements in listening, speech and language skills based on parent surveys. Other improvements were also seen in several of the children.

These results were presented in a Poster Session at the 1oth World Down Syndrome Congress in Dublin back in August. While the study is small, the outcomes are consistent with reports from Speech and Language Pathologists and other practitioners using The Listening Program® with their clients with this chromosomal anomaly.  I am hopeful that we will see interest in see a larger, controlled study.

Read or download the poster.

Mozart Soothes Premature Babies

My wife and I just returned from an appointment with our OB to check on the progress of our son Brendan who is due to arrive in January.  As an expectant father and producer of therapeutic music programs I am a huge believer in the positive benefits of exposing our son to music in utero and beyond.

So,  I just opened my email and sitting in my Inbox is a study forwarded to me by my friend and collaborator Don Campbell that demonstrates that Mozart soothes premature babies.  Now, this is no revelation for those of us in the field, but it it gratifying to see researchers continue to study the effects of music on newborns, at a time when our auditory system is most vulnerable to the onslaught of noise we are faced with as we exit the birth canal and leave the warmth and comfort of the fluid filled womb.

The Israeli study demonstrated that healthy, premature infants who listened to Mozart  had a 10-13 % reduction in resting energy expenditure compared to those with no music exposure.  The study did not evaluate other music and has not been replicated but the findings are interesting and support further scientific exploration. This study will be published in the January print issue of the journal Pediatrics. Read the story in the online edition of U.S. News & World Report.

So, when Brendan arrives will there be music to greet him? The answer is an unequivocal YES!! What will he be listening to? Well, to be honest the award-winning Music for Babies collection that I co-produced with my dear friend Richard Lawrence a few years ago. Newborn or otherwise, I can assure you Sleepy Baby and Peaceful Baby will ease the stress of your day.

Introduction to SoundSwell™


Wanted to introduce you to a new blog that I am very excited to be doing with Don Campbell author of The Mozart Effect®. 


SoundSwell™ is a blog about the rising musical tide around us: the negative effects of noise and the positive effects of organized rhythmic sounds and melodies that improve and sometimes heal us. This is a part of our HATSS™ project that is surveying the hundreds of studies that have been made in the past few years for the purpose of helping teachers, students, parents and healthcare workers improve their lives with music.