Safe and Sound Protocol
Now available at TCS
Research-based auditory intervention
Is your child easily upset by loud noises? Do they seem to always be in a state of high-alert? Do behavioral outbursts frequently get in the way of social interaction? If so, the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) may help.
The SSP is a 5-hour auditory intervention designed by Dr. Stephen Porges, based on Polyvagal Theory. The SSP has been shown to reduce auditory sensitivity and improve social engagement, learning, and regulation for greater participation in daily life.
The SSP is a non-invasive intervention that uses the auditory system as a portal to the vagus complex. This complex contributes to the autonomic nervous system, which controls whether we are in a state of calm or alarm (fight/flight/freeze). The SSP engages the calming response through the vagus complex to help regulate physiological state. Once feeling safe and calm, children are better able to socially engage, and are more receptive to learning.
The SSP accomplishes this by specifically filtering the frequencies in music to retune the nervous system to introduce a sense of safety. While the child listens to the SSP through headphones, the protocol’s targeted frequencies engage Cranial Nerves VII (Facial) and X (Vagus). The Facial Nerve, through activation of the middle ear muscles, helps the auditory system to focus on the frequencies of the human voice and filter out unnecessary frequencies. The Vagus Nerve facilitates self-soothing and a physiological feeling of safety. As a result of these two systems working together, the child is able to better interpret human speech and the emotional meaning of language. Following successful completion of the intervention, children experience a calmed emotional and physiological state. They are then better able to focus in school, therapy, and everyday life. For more details on the science, visit www.whatisthessp.com
The SSP is typically administered as part of your child’s OT sessions by trained providers.
Duration and frequency may be adjusted according to your child’s individual needs, but will never exceed one hour per day.
While listening to the protocol through headphones or over a speaker, your child will be in a calm, private environment participating in quiet activities like coloring, drawing, or playing with kinetic sand according to their interests. The therapist will ensure that the protocol is administered correctly and will closely monitor your child’s responses.
After the Safe and Sound Protocol
The SSP has been found in research to improve:
Social and emotional difficulties
Anxiety and trauma-related challenges
Stressors that impact social engagement
At TCS, we have seen dramatic improvements by the end of the 5-hour intervention. But, the SSP is NOT designed to serve as a stand-alone intervention. In fact, one of the greatest benefits of the SSP is in helping children be more receptive to therapy. When the body is in a calm state, the child is able to learn much more effectively than when their body is in a state of stress. Because of this, we recommend that your child continue therapy after the protocol. Whether with us or with your existing therapist, this will maximize the effectiveness of the SSP and help your child fully achieve their goals.
For more information on whether the SSP may be right for your child, or to get started with the protocol, contact us today to schedule a free consultation!