Lifewatch: Listening training

DETROIT -- You hear what's going on around you, but are you really listening?

There is a new teaching tool that helps kids pay more attention to what's going on around them, and it can be especially helpful for kids with autism.

Some say, if you can change the way you listen, you'll change your life.

11-year-old Ian wants to be a skate boarding champ, and 14-year-old Jessica wants to be an actress.

But the question is, will listening training help them succeed?

9-year-old Ray is getting his first taste of listening training at the New Medical Foundation in Farmington Hills.

Enlisten is a computer based program that is supposed to train the ear to distinguish between language, music, and noise.

Ray's mom is hoping this will help him connect with people.

"I'm hoping because he will be a better listener he will be more aware of his environment.  He'll make better eye contact he'll be able to work quicker," said Ray's mom.

Diane Cotman is the director of the New Medical Foundation.

She feels passionately about the listening technology after doing it herself.  But seeing an autistic child break out of her shell really convinced her.

"In only 2 months she was able to hug her parents, and in the life of an autistic family that's life transforming," said Cotman.

The testing involves listening to a series of beeps, which helps determine your listening strengths and weaknesses.

After testing, the training involves weeks or months of listening to different sounds. There have been books written on listening training, but this is still very new.

Reported by Kristy Ondo