Sound stimulation for people with special needs (2010 – )

Autism spectres disorder and pervasive developmental disorder

The programme of sound stimulation for people with special needs aims to give concrete tools to the comprehensive development of children and young people. It involves all areas of life such as: sensory integration, life competencies, autonomy, development of communicational skills and new forms of language, as well as creating strong meaningful bonds with attuned adults. All these to improve the quality of life of the students.

This programme was born in 2010, as an inclusive project, with our multidisciplinary team the main focus was placed on promoting the Rights of People with special needs within Chile, and did so by creating an innovative methodology of artistic education for people with ASD and PDD among others.

Since 2010, the sound stimulation programme settled permanently at Las Dalias school of Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, which belongs to the COANIL foundation (until 2014) and the Magdalena Ávalos Cruz school of San Miguel, metropolitan region, which belongs to the Association of parents and friends of people with autism (up to this date).

Starting in 2015, the programme focuses its practice and decides to work only with students with ASD and PDD. For this reason it leaves Las Dalias school and continues working at the Magdalena Avalos school in San Miguel,metropolitan region, and settled at the Center of specialized treatment for children and young people with autism, of the city of Viña del Mar, region of Valparaíso.

During 2015, it becomes one of the complementary therapies of the paediatric neuropsychiatry unit of the El Carmen hospital in Maipú, in the metropolitan region.

So far, the programme has worked with more than 500 people with ASD and PDD of the most vulnerable areas of our country. It has also intervened their immediate environment working along side parents, tutors, doctors, teachers and companions. Accomplishing in this way important results, that are seen in the research programme that has been done throughout these years of work.


With the Sound Stimulation Programme starts the research in the methodology and its results. In these years of carrying it out, an important amount of information has been collected through interviews to the parents and tutors of the participants of the program, and also their teachers, the health team, workshops monitors and other people involved in their care, whether public or private.

In order to carry out the research, a comparison guideline is used and applied to the participant at the beginning of the year, establishing a base line, and another application at the end of the year, evaluating the effect of the programme in the participant. This allows to measure behaviours and evaluate the changes in the participants in twelve different areas : social, emotional,autonomy, awareness, auditory system, visual, proprioceptive and vestibular, communicational functions, expressive language, speaking and receptive, and also the physical and artistic expression.

An observation worksheet is used to complement this technique and it is filled out by the monitors and the especial education teacher of the project.

About the workshops

The programme uses sound and listening as channels to work in all the areas mentioned before. Monitors are aware of the importance of the affective bond and the quality of the connection with the participants. Techniques that come from the somatic and musical practices are used, confirming that spoken language is not the only possible way of communication. The purpose of it is to create new codes of simple understanding, which allows them to reduce the anxiety and frustration that oral language many times gives them, by the end of it, they are able to express themselves intuitively, listening to each other, validating eachothers differences and diversity.

This way, we work in the development of communicational language starting from its more primitive stage,mirroring the child who relates to his mother through the imitation, of looks, babbling, sounds and gestures. We articulate these and use them consistently. Through this process we create a meaningful relationship, since communication is based on the bond established through trust, affection and complicity.

Once they have incorporated the base codes, the most complex learning starts, turn taking, listening to ones partner, being able to become silent and in a conscious listening attitude. We have observed the use and incorporation of new signs of musical directions, and also new concepts and ideas that the participants propose spontaneously, which are received and incorporated as new codes of language.

The relationship that we try to create is that of play partners, not imposing expectations or our own idea of an outcome, but proposing sounds and a listening moment, as well as playful activities, in a clear but open way, always accepting the rhythm and interests of the participants. This requires observation and flexibility, because sometimes it is necessary to eliminate or postpone programmed activities with the purpose of letting them express themselves and experiment their creativity spontaneously, giving value to the process and not only the result.