Welcome to the safe and sound protocol or SSP for short. Here’s a few things you might want to know about this therapy. It is taken from the ‘Polyvagal Theory’ which to put it simply looks at our physiological state (how our body feels) and how it relates to our behaviours. SSP looks at calming the vagal nerve that plays a vital role on our physiological state which in turn helps the body feel calm and safe.
SSP is a passive therapy which involves listening to filtered music that trains the middle ear muscles to be able to better process human speech. It is not a one fix or a stand-alone therapy- it should be used in conjunction with other therapies. SSP opens the door that allows your child to focus and excel with their other therapy.
Here is a simple list of some changes that might occur as a result of the SSP therapy. *please note your child may not display every change mentioned does not mean that the therapy is not working:
– Eye contact: If this is a concern for your child you may notice that your child may start making more eye contact with you, family, friends and teachers. This is a sign that your child feels safe and is open and receptive to social behaviour.
– Listen: Your child may start understanding speech better, they may stop complaining about loud noises or stop covering their ears when loud noises occur. You may even notice that you won’t have to repeat yourself when you ask a question or ask them to do something.
– Regulate: Your child may have better emotional control and expression. Meltdowns and outbursts are typically a sign of dysregulation, or uncontrollable feelings. After the intervention, your child will be more responsive to social cues and will be learning how to control temper by watching you.
– Play: your child may have better play behaviours with other children. As play reciprocal interactions, and communication between players is eased by eye contact and listening to each other.
– Love: Your child may be more expressive of love to other people, including more smiles and hugs. If this occurs *Do your best to reciprocate those behaviours when they occur! * Be aware, of your child’s personal space; unwanted hugs can make them feel defensive instead of relaxed.
– Good signs: As safety is restored, your child may find their voice with greater conviction! If your child seems to be more “strong-willed”, see it as a good sign of safety and confidence and continue to provide positive feedback.
If you don’t see all these changes it does not mean the therapy is not working, it may mean that we will need to do it again later down the track. You may not even see any of these changes SSP may do something different for your child completely. You know your child best.