Category Archives: Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention (REI)

Case Study: 11 Year Old Male with Autism, Verbal Apraxia, and Sensory Processing Disorder

James was diagnosed with ASD (specifically, PDD NOS) with complicating diagnoses of verbal apraxia and sensory processing disorder. His most significant issues were:

  • Anxiety. Generalized anxiety as well as fear of changes in routine and unfamiliar places.
  • Sleep Problems.
  • Self-stimmulatory behaviors such as vocal noise-making, pinching, hand-flapping.
  • Poor social engagement.
  • Apraxia and lack of verbal communication.

James began listening to his custom REI recording in the evening while he engaged in quiet play. He was initially resistant to listening (sometimes he would say “no music!”) when the music was turned on. This resistance lasted less than two weeks while, during this time, he made significants gains.

During the first two weeks,  James began sleeping through the night, something that he had not been able to do for the previous few years. His anxiety also reduced profoundly, most notably he stopped compulsively asking about the the day’s schedule and worrying about his next activities.

During the third week, his mom related, “For the first time James started asking the ABA therapists to keep playing when the session was done. He also, on his own volition, chose to start playing with his trains and Rescue Heroes. Usually he only wants to draw all day.”

After four weeks on the REI Custom Program, his mom and therapists noted that James’s vocabulary was increasing, as was the length of his sentences.

After 6 weeks James was reported to show the first signs of pretend play. His mother wrote, ”The other day he said ‘elephant’ and used his arm as a trunk and stomped around the room! Also did a similar thing with ‘giant.’ Very exciting!”

At eight weeks, James’s mom reported more behavioral gains. He was doing less drawing and the drawings that he did create were of broader subjects. She noted that he was able, with prompts, to sit through his brother’s baseball game, a first. While the family was out sightseeing they got caught in the pouring rain. “James did not like it, but was okay”. To his family’s surprise he did not have the customary meltdown.

After 16 weeks of listening to his REI recordings, his mother requested a revision to his program that focused more on his issues with inflexibility and difficulty with transition. He started listening to the revised CD in mid October.

After 20 weeks, it was noted that James was continuing to make behavioral gains. His brother was having a bar mitzvah and the whole family was worried about how James would tolerate the very stimulating day. He handled the day surprisingly well, his mother reported, sitting through the entire religious ceremony and staying calm among all the guests. Most surprisingly, James allowed himself to be photographed. Until that day James would get very agitated when a camera was pointed at him and always refused to stand for a photograph. On this day, not only would he allow many photos to be taken, but even smiled on command!

Over the next month, his mother reported that James was using more spontaneous language and appeared “more connected” with his feelings. For instance, she related that when his teacher asked him what was wrong, James replied,  “I feel angy”. When asked why he was upset when he had to go to a mainstream class that he did not like (because the sound of the classroom music hurt his ears,) he replied “because there was music.”  On another occasion, he told his mother that he felt “nervous” when his school bus took another route home one day.

Fifteen months after completing the REI Custom Program, in an interview with his mother, James was reported to be doing well, with continued growth in his ability to verbally communicate his needs and to socialize more appropriately. He has maintained all of the gains he made while on the REI Custom program, including decreased anxiety, especially about his schedule, increased spontaneous play, and use of verbal communication to express his feelings.

Learn more about the REI Custom Program here

Check Out My Podcast Interview with Tami Simon of Sounds True

I’ve  been honored to work with Sounds True over the last 10 years – one of my favorite publishers – where I created 8 CDs and 2 audio programs. That honor continues as I talk about drum healing and REI with founder Tami Simon on her podcast, Insights at the Edge.

From Sounds True:

ST-podcastIn this episode of Insights at the Edge, Sounds True founder Tami Simon speaks with Jeff about the concept of brain entrainment through rhythm and how it has deep roots in tribal ceremony. They talk about the therapeutic application of this music for anxiety, ADHD, autism, and mood disorders, and explain the difference between rhythmic entrainment and “neuro beat” recordings. Finally, Jeff offers two excerpts of his music for calming and the exploration of deep meditative states.

Listen to or download the podcast here

Learn more about Sounds True here

Try my music for free here

Learn to play the drum for healing here

Check out the REI Custom Program here

Complex Drumming for Pain Relief? I describe how calming the nervous system reduces pain

Using complex drumming to calm the brain for pain reduction requires more stimulation than simply calming the brain in general. In this video, I show you how this counter-intuitive approach works.

Learn about the REI Custom Program at: https://www.stronginstitute.com/rei-custom-program/

Learn how to play the drum for healing at: http://www.drumhealing.com

Explore more calming music on Brain Shift Radio. Sign up for free at: https://brainshiftradio.com

How Specific Rhythms Influence Behavior: Dissecting a REI Rhythm in 21/16 time

Here is a throwback to my first blog video. I show how I create REI rhythms that directly impact a listener’s behavior. I dissect a rhythm in 21/16 time that I use to stop a hand-flapping behavior in individuals with autism.

Learn about the REI Custom Program at: https://www.stronginstitute.com/rei-custom-program/

Learn how to play the drum for healing at: http://www.drumhealing.com

Explore more variable tempo tracks on Brain Shift Radio. Sign up for free at: https://brainshiftradio.com

Exploring How Slight Variations in Drumming Tempos Produce Very Different Calming Experiences

In this video, I talk about the approach I take to create neurological calm in the REI Custom Program versus the approach I use in Brain Shift Radio. I demonstrate how slight variations in tempo can produce significant differences in how a listener experiences calm. I play at 7.4 beats-per-second for a deep, centered calm and 8.6 beats-per second for a focused calm.

Learn how to play the drum for healing at: http://www.drumhealing.com

Find calm with Brain Shift Radio. Sign up for free at: https://brainshiftradio.com

Jeff Strong on How I Create REI Rhythms from Ceremonial Polyrhythms

In this video, I show you how a create a composite rhythm from a ceremonial rhythm composed of 4 drum parts. I also describe why it is important to vary a rhythm, no matter how complex it is, to influence the brain and behavior within the alpha state of consciousness.

learn more about REI at: https://www.stronginstitute.com/
Learn to play the drum for healing at: http://www.drumhealing.com/
Listen to my music for free at: https://brainshiftradio.com/

How I Use REI Drumming for Sensory Processing

In this video I show how I approach the three types of sensory processing issues – hyper-sensitivity, hypo-sensitivity, and sensory discrimination.

I play examples of various drumming rhythms to influence these sensory responses and describes how hyper and hypo sensitivity fits into an REI Custom Program.

Learn more about the REI Custom Program

Explore my music for free at brainshiftradio.com

How to Boost Your Brain with Fast, Complex Drumming Rhythms

Activating the brain for memory and cognitive enhancement can be done two ways:

1. Play pleasingly variable patterns with an unpredictable, yet musical quality at 8 beats per second. This has an immediate activating effect and, coupled with progressively more complex patterns over a series of recordings, can provide long-term cognitive enhancements. This is the approach we use for the REI Custom Programs.

2. Play various tempos all within the alpha range of 8-12 beats per second (bps). Musically, 8-12 bps is 120-180 beats per minute when playing 16th notes and one beat of the metronome is a 1/4 note. This means that you are playing 4 drumming beats for each click of the metronome. This approach is the key to the Brain Boost category on brainshiftradio.com.

I end this video with a cognitive enhancement drumming session. Let it play quietly in the background and see how mentally clear you feel afterward.

Check out a free 14-day trial on https://www.brainshiftradio.com to explore more music to boost your brain.

Learn to play the drums for healing at http://www.drumhealing.com

Explore the REI Custom Program at: https://www.stronginstitute.com/rei-custom-program/

Jeff Strong on How I Sustain My Passion in My Practice

I’ve been playing for people with neurological disorders for 25 years and everyday I still wake up passionate about the work I do. It wasn’t always this way. As I was building my business, I received a lot of advice to delegate and be a manager. I tried this and quickly found myself losing interest. So, I resumed doing the one task that I loved: customer support.

If you’ve ever called or emailed us, chances are you talked to (or heard from) me. I answer the phone because I love talking to clients, prospective clients, and providers. This is what gets me up in the morning; yet this is what the business “experts” told me I shouldn’t be doing. The secret is that this task gives me joy, and my clients can sense my passion for the work and their well-being.

My advice: Focus on the aspects of your work you love, even if they are the “lowly” tasks that most people hire out.

Get on the waitlist for my coaching program here

How I use Fast, Complex Drumming to Reduce Sound Sensitivity

This video shows how I use fast, complex drumming rhythms to reduce sound sensitivities.

Sound sensitivity falls into two categories:

1. General overwhelm. Too much auditory input and competing sounds, such as those at a restaurant or school cafeteria, often result in shutting down or lashing out due to the inability to filter for important sounds.

2. Aversion to specific sounds. Certain sounds, such as that of a vacuum cleaner or blender, often elicit negative responses due to their specific frequency, intensity or volume.

Both require a progressive set of rhythms, tones, and levels of intensity and volume to help the nervous system learn to process and tolerate them.

You can read more about the studies I talk about in this video here:

Child with super-human hearing and aversion to vacuum cleaner sound: https://www.stronginstitute.com/article-resources/dd-book-excerpts/sound-sensitive.html

School Study: https://www.stronginstitute.com/article-resources/dd-book-excerpts/otter-lake-study.html