In 2014, Pippa and I ran a 14-week study at Valley Therapeutic with two 3.5 olds.
We were interested in determining how the instantaneous use of the violin voice was helping her reach her clients
as we were repeatedly seeing greater responses from many of her riders, more than before the violin had entered their treatment sessions.
Pippa’s greatest interest lay in the practical: what sounds and tunes or pieces engaged them and learning to recognize the instant of application.
But who truly understands the brain? It is the single least-known organ in the human body, complicated beyond all. The dedicated work over the centuries done by Franz Gall, Paul Broca and Santiago Ramon, amongst others, have provided great swaths of new understanding. But the brain is still mysterious.
To begin the study, Pippa asked the client’s home therapy specialists to determined baselines of the two children prior to beginning the weekly 1/2 hr. sessions. We began recording with very scientific data-gathering methodology: an MP3 player duct-taped onto their jackets. Having something hanging from a helmut or poking out in front of the client was unsafe and distracting, so duct tape became our friend.
After analyzing the collected data, I was disappointed to see that in week 14, there was no data registered to show increased vocalization due to live violin being played. What had I done wrong?
With the help of Leah Bendall, a Enviro Sciences professor at Simon Fraser University and a whiz with charting statistics, we re-focused the study. Instead of the end result showing more in Week 14, she suggested looking at where ‘more’ happened, but over the whole session. What she found was very exciting!
To show what she found, she created what’s called a Scatter Chart from the data input on the Behavior Chart. It shows contrasting behaviors with opposite outcomes. On the top chart, Humming/Utterances, the downward line indicates high utterances markers at the start of the 14-week study. Frequent humming and uttering is a common autistic behavior, or marker. On the bottom chart, Looking/Listening, the upward tracking line shows an increase in listening and looking, behaviors observed by the team and recorded on the audio. Have a look.