“V, can you please turn off the light?” I tell my 9-year-old daughter. She looks at me, appears to hear me, but goes on watching TV. So I tell her again, this time with a louder voice. She realizes she didn’t obey the first time I told her, so she goes on to turn off the light.
(At other times, though, the first part of this sequence loops twice all over before it gets to the “obeying” part.)
Does this happen to you and your child too? They appear to be listening, but it seems that your words just came in one ear and went out through the other. (That sounds oh so familiar, doesn’t it, moms and dads? LOL)
Last week, I learned a possible explanation for the “hearing but not listening” phenomenon that I’ve come to know so well. My child may have a “listening problem”.
I was introduced to the Tomatis Method with a visit to Tomatis Philippines. Though it has been around for the past fifty years, it was my first time to hear all about the Tomatis Method.
What is the Tomatis Method?
The Tomatis Method was introduced in the 1950s by Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a French Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) specialist. He “pioneered the study of auditory processing and language development, laying the groundwork for a new multi disciplinary science called Audio Psycho Phonology (APP)” (quoted from source).
Audio Psycho Phonology – APP – is a tongue-twister. In simple terms, APP is the study of the relationship between physiologic hearing (the process that goes on when sound goes through the ears) and language development. Tomatis discovered that “the voice can only reproduce what the ear hears.” Many learning difficulties are actually rooted in hearing difficulties.
Re-training the ears
The Tomatis Method re-trains the ear. It teaches the ears to listen to the correct frequencies through an electronic ear that was specially designed by Tomatis. Apparently, the muscles of the ears can be “exercised”. The Tomatis Method does that by making the child (or adult) listen to classical music with frequencies in the higher range. This would “open up” the ear, and make the person a better listener.
Who can benefit from Tomatis?
Children with learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia), developmental disorders (autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy), sensory processing disorders and Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) have benefited from the Tomatis Method.
According to the ladies behind Tomatis Philippines – Gem Manosa, Joanne Pedrosa, and Ria Vecin – children who have had good results with Tomatis vary from those with Autism and ADHD to those who simply want to prepare for a sports or school competitions.
Artists like Sting, who’ve had some ear damage, also went through Tomatis treatment.
There are also programs for pregnant women who’d like their babies to reap the benefits of the method while still in the womb.
What are the benefits of Tomatis?
I mentioned above that some kids (who have no learning or developmental issues) went to Tomatis to prepare for competitions. That’s because Tomatis is said to improve capacity for absorbing and processing information, and enhance focus and concentration.
Other benefits that children with learning difficulties and developmental disorders can reap from the Tomatis method are:
- Better attention span
- Improved reading comprehension
- Improved memory
- Decreased frustration level
- Better ability to communicate needs or express self
- Better organization and ability to follow instructions
Because Tomatis is non-invasive and drug-free, it is a safe alternative or complement to existing interventions of children with special needs. The method can actually enhance the effects of occupational or speech therapies. These benefits are more apparent after completing the minimum 30-hour Tomatis Program.
What happens during a Tomatis Session?
During my visit with a few other mommy bloggers to the Tomatis Center at Fort Bonifacio, a young child was undergoing a session. It did not look like he was being “treated” at all. In fact, he and the therapist were just playing and drawing. But the child was wearing headphones, through which he is listening to a personalized track.
The personalized track consists of classical music (usually Mozart’s), Gregorian chants and other sounds with the right frequencies that were put together by the Tomatis consultants (the mom-ladies behind Tomatis Philippines). This is the main part of a personalized Tomatis program.
Before a child is put on a program, he/she goes through an initial assessment that includes a hearing test. The asseessment may take an hour or two.
Do you think the Tomatis Method will be good for your child?
Here is a Listening Checklist to determine if your child has a listening problem –
Tomatis Philippines has centers at Alabang, Fort Bonifacio, and San Juan City. For inquiries and more information, visit www.tomatis.com.ph