Your Path to a Life You Love: Deepen Your Personal Sensory Awareness
Almost all autistics have a more intense sensory experience of the world than the majority of people. Understanding what that means for you gives you power.
Reducing anxiety and enhancing calm
at a deep biological level.
The SSP is specialized music that has been proven to:
Great for kids and adults, autistic and not.
The Safe and Sound Protocol, at its core, is listening to music that has been computer filtered to enhance certain frequencies and downplay others.
Because the ears are a direct link to our whole body’s nervous system, we can use our auditory pathways to deliver messages of calm and safety directly to the nervous system, and retrain our nervous system to be calmer and happier.
Our ears are a direct link to our Autonomic Nervous System. That’s the most primitive part of our brain; it controls things like heart rate, breathing, and digestion.
It’s also constantly on the lookout for potential threats, and when it detects danger, it mobilizes to protect us by fighting or fleeing, or in extreme cases, by freezing—playing dead.
How wonderful that we have this system built in to protect us automatically when we’re in danger.
And when the danger is over, it’s supposed to power down, and let us go back to being happy, thoughtful, creative, learning, people.
When that doesn’t happen, it creates a whole host of potential problems.
You see, when our nervous system mobilizes to fight, flee, or freeze, it makes a whole lot of changes in our bodies.
It shuts down things you don’t need in the moment of danger, like:
When those systems stay off long-term, they can lead to:
And when our defensive system stays powered up long-term, it starts looking for things to react to. It begins to react to things that aren’t dangerous at all as if they were potentially life-threatening.
The SSP trains our nervous system to come down off of high alert, so that everything in life becomes easier.
Problems aren’t as frustrating. Being with other people is more enjoyable. Sound and touch and all the other senses don’t hurt so much. Focus is improved.
Everything just feels better.
This is great for individuals who experience:
These are the most common areas of improvement that people report after the SSP, and while just about everyone gets some benefit, it’s impossible to predict what each individual will get out of it.
Your goal might be to improve social engagement, but your nervous system reacts instead by lowering sound sensitivity and reducing anxiety. I still call that a win. And with anxiety lower and sound sensitivity reduced, social engagement might come more easily.
We usually think about the brain as being responsible for regulating our emotions, behaviors, and how we interact with others, and it does, but the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) has a lot more to do with these than we usually give it credit for.
Since the ANS directly controls our breathing, heart rate, sleep patterns, digestion, etc., and since all of those things have a direct effect on how we feel every day, making them better makes it easier for us to deal with difficult situations, to have more patience, to try again when something doesn’t work out, to think of another option, etc.
And just as the brain can change based on experience, so can the ANS.
The ANS is also involved in our hearing and vision. When the auditory and visual nerves aren’t precisely working together, it can create a great deal of disorientation and disruption. The SSP also has the potential to help the ANS “rewire” itself so these become more integrated, leading to greater focus, ease in reading, clearer thinking, better information processing, spatial awareness, etc.
It’s easy and non-invasive.
Basically, you listen to strange sounding music over headphones.
The core of the protocol is five hours of music, broken into about 30 minutes a day.
Plan on doing this during a time when you don’t have extra stuff going on in your life. It’s better to wait a little while and do this at a better time, than to push through.
If this is for your child, especially one who needs more attention, it is best for you to be present during the sessions. Your and your child can play quietly together (speaking is discouraged) with blocks or Legos, or doodle, or play with string, or something like that.
Whether this is for you or for your child, think of it as a self-care opportunity. Plan a time when you (or both of you) can have no interruptions, when you don’t have to multitask, or attend to anyone else. This may involve a bit of preplanning, but it will be well worth it.
Before you decide, let’s meet so you can ask any questions you have about the SSP, and see if you feel comfortable with me.
One free session is my gift to you.
Pick your payment option.
If you’re interested in SSP for multiple members of a household, ask me about family pricing.
The music is delivered via a phone app, and all live sessions are via Zoom, so it doesn’t matter where in the world you are.
The only other (potential) costs are:
You will need a pair of OVER-THE-EAR headphones. If you don’t already have one, you can buy any decent pair of NON-noise-canceling headphones that go all the way around the ear. Here are two I recommend:
There is an optional Balance subscription to continue the stress reducing effects for $20/mo.
The core of the program is five hours of listening. That’s usually 1/2 hour per day, two to three times per week. It can be modified somewhat for your unique needs.
Afterwards, you’ll have access to the SSP Balance for three months. It is a sort of booster that will help the changes become permanent.
If anything, some people report feeling tired, a little itchiness in the ears, mild irritability, or sleep interruptions.
These normally go away on their own within a few hours to a couple days.
As you progress through the protocol, we’ll be in touch about what you’re experiencing and noticing, and will adjust the protocol to adapt to your experience.
You might be tired afterward, need a nap, or sleep deeply that night. If at all possible, try to give in to this to let your nervous system process and integrate the workout it’s just gotten.
We’ll keep in touch about how things are going. You can always send me a quick email with questions or updates.
Actually, the SSP usually enhances other therapies.
Because the nervous system is better attuned and can process information better, it can help you become more open to other therapies, meditation, bodywork, mindfulness exercises, all sorts of things.
You’re welcome to have some calming and familiar activity to do while you’re listening to the music.
Drawing or doodling are good ones, doing a puzzle, crocheting or knitting, something you don’t have to think about much, and that you personally find relaxing.
Activities to avoid are reading, anything on your phone or computer, talking, or work of any kind. Basically, anything with language input, as that can interfere with the language of the songs, so you won’t get as much benefit.
Think of this as a self-care opportunity. Arrange a time when you can have no interruptions, and you don’t have to multitask or attend to anyone else. This may involve a bit of preplanning, but it will be well worth it.
Yes, the SSP has been helping people for 20 years, and there have been excellent results in clinical trials with autistic children, chronic pain, auditory hypersensitivities, sleep disturbances, ADD, PTSD, and more. Read the studies here: https://integratedlistening.com/research/#SSP
The core of the SSP is vocal music because it specifically works on the frequencies around the normal range of the human voice.
The playlist for adults is a mix of pop, classic rock, folk, country, musicals, jazz—something for everyone.
The playlist for children is a lot of Disney and some other kids songs.
If you’re at all concerned about what songs might come up, I can give you a copy of the playlist. You can even listen to an unfiltered version of the whole thing before we start. This has no therapeutic effect, but it can be reassuring to get familiar with it.
Often people are so thrilled by how they feel, or the progress their child is making with the SSP, that they want to do it again.
This is definitely possible, but it shouldn’t be rushed. The nervous system and brain need at least two to three months to integrate all of the changes, so they become permanent. After a minimum of three months, we can talk about doing it again.
I do offer discounted rates for those doing it with me again.
I’ve spent years working on my sensory issues, finding sensory integration therapies that help, and I’ve actually had some pretty good results with those, but I knew there was a long way to go.
I had seen the SSP mentioned on autism forums for a few of years, and everyone spoke positively about it, but it took a while before I finally tried it myself.
I loved it so much that I went through the training to become a provider so I could offer this to all of my clients (and friends and family).
Since I did the SSP, I’ve felt less reactive. Less on edge all the time. My insides don’t cringe with every single car that drives by my house. I knew that I cringed when the big trucks drove by, but until that feeling released, I hadn’t even noticed how much tension I had been holding for every. single. car. that rolled by.
And I’ve stopped walking into walls. Now I’ll actually go through the doorway, instead of hitting the edge of it, which I did, oh, about one out of every three times.
I’m also noticing body language more, and facial expressions, and I don’t have to rely as much on analysis or guesswork to tell me what other people are feeling, because I’m actually picking up on it.
And I can go to the grocery store now without needing hours or days to recover.
Which, you know, is awesome. Not overreacting to everything frees up so much energy for things that I actually want to do. And, oh, how I have wanted to do so much that I didn’t feel capable of before.
My Mom did the Protocol as well, and she experienced huge reduction in her overall anxiety levels. Plus, her hearing improved slightly (she is hard of hearing), which I’m guessing is not the actual hearing improving but her ears working together better so her brain is interpreting sounds more clearly. She’s also noticed that she doesn’t walk into furniture as much or get as lightheaded when she stands up.
But for her, the biggest difference is that she feels optimistic for the future and has been positive changes in her life, she is trying new things again, and making plans for the future, which she hasn’t for a long time.
No worries, schedule your free, 30 min Clarity Session
and I’ll help you sort it out.