A New Understanding of the Ear
The Tomatis Method in Schools
The Tomatis® Method provides easy implementation in a school group environment for as little as a pair of students in a resource class up to 25-50 students in a general classroom. Len Young has worked in several school environments with the Tomatis Method. She conducted one large pilot program in the Charleston County School District in a low-income community. After listening over time, most of the children showed improvement in both academics and behavior, progressing in education levels.
There are Tomatis programs at work in 220 private and public schools around the world, particularly in Europe with distinct Tomatis applications for schools in the United States.
In Public or Charter Schools for:
Resource classes and special education
Third Grade Academy in Title I Schools, children trying to catch-up
General education to improve reading, writing and math
Small groups for accelerated learning
English as a second language or second language learning
In Private Schools for:
General education to improve reading, writing and math
Select students with learning or study challenges
General use in accelerated learning
Second language preparation and learning
In Home Schooling for:
Students with behavior and learning issues
Students on the autism spectrum
Students whose needs are to better integrate in a school environment
General education to improve reading, writing, math and academic performance
Second language learning
Special needs to assist in learning
The Equipment and Training
Len Young has extensive experience with Solisten in the public school arena and can advise you on the best plan for your school.
The Solisten Group is small, portable, and easy to use. It includes the Solisten device, an amplifier, and a connection box with headphones for every five students listening.
Schools can either train their own teachers or run a program through an existing Tomatis Consultant or Practitioner. It is better long-term to train school teachers and purchase the equipment for the school’s use. Read about Tomatis in Schools at www.Tomatis-Education.com.
The Tomatis Method
Dr. Tomatis, a French Ear, Nose and Throat physician, pioneered a multi-disciplinary science called Audio-Psycho-Phonology (APP) over 50 years ago. His work resulted from his curiosity about the vital influence of the human ear on a healthy mind, body and spirit. Tomatis noted that the ear is the first organ to grow in utero and as a result, a fetus begins to hear sound and learn language from its mother’s voice.
Tomatis concluded that overall human health sources from the health of one’s ear. He developed, researched and proved his theory: the voice only produces what the ear hears. His theory was independently confirmed at the Sorbonne in 1957 and became known as the Tomatis Effect.
Tomatis summarized his theories in three laws:
The voice only contains what the ear can hear.
If the hearing is modified, the voice is immediately and unconsciously modified; and
It is possible to durably transform phonation when auditive stimulation is maintained over a certain time (the law of duration or remanence).
Tomatis imagined re-training the ear to re-gain sounds that are either weak or lost in hearing, and he found a way to do it. These losses could result from a difficult pregnancy or birth, early childhood colds and illnesses, accidents, living near loud sounds, emotional trauma, or a myriad of experiences that alter how a person hears sounds. His curiosity led him to experiment with classical music and different ranges of sound. He discovered that listening problems are the root cause of many learning difficulties. Ultimately, Tomatis developed a highly effective technique to remedy learning concerns–the Tomatis Method–and proprietary electronic equipment to provide auditory stimulation training–the Electronic Ear.
How Does the Program Work in Schools?
Set-up – required teacher time for preparation and break-down
Solisten Group is easily stored in one or more plastic boxes. For each day’s listening, the equipment takes less than 10 minutes to set-up for large classes of 25 plus students, and the same time to put it away after listening.
Listening – students may listen during academic time while getting instruction
Ideally, students listen for a minimum of one hour each day. If it is less than one hour per day, the overall goal is 60 hours in two 30-hour sessions; so each day is added to hours listened until 60 hours are reached. There is a three to four week break in listening to allow the ears to integrate changes.
Listening is at a volume that allows students to hear the teacher’s voice; so listening may continue during academic time. The music works on the ears while students are learning or studying.
Once 60 hours are reached, students have completed the minimum listening program for real changes to take place. Changes will continue for up to two years after the program.
If some student needs are greater such as with autistic students, additional listening can be planned after another break for ear integration of changes.
Which Grade is the Best to Listen? Where Do We Focus the Program?
There are several groups of students who struggle in school.
Kindergarten or First Grade
In kindergarten, some children enter without knowing their numbers and letters. They arrive at school already behind the knowledge base of the general student in his/her class. They begin their learning experience already working hard to keep up with their peers. For these students, Solisten improves auditory processing, attention, focus, reading and comprehension, giving these students the opportunity to work at the same level as their peers.
Third to Fifth Grades
There are many students whose intake of sound is confused and it causes them to work hard to stay present in class. Their attention and focus wanders. They require additional energy to function and have to work very hard to achieve, often giving up from the burden of effort it takes to perform. You will see this student as someone with dyslexia, attention deficit, auditory processing issues and a myriad of other situations that get in the way of learning. Many times you may not have words for what challenges a student. For these students, Solisten brings organization and ease of learning. They become motivated to learn and their performance and grades improve. This group shows up in third to fifth grades as the work load and independent study requirements increase.
Many changes occur in students with the onset and development of puberty. Sometimes young people experience confusion and distraction in their thought processes. Tomatis is helpful to re-organize processing and get it back on track. The Tomatis Method is often used for students to improve auditory processing before taking ACT or SAT exams in preparation for college entrance.
Research and Evidence of Tomatis in School Environments
There are two research projects that support success of Tomatis in US school settings. Read about other countries’ school experiences at www.tomatis.com.
Buffalo, New York, Two Special Education Studies
Two small studies were conducted in a first grade and fifth grade special education classroom under the administration of two Tomatis Consultants who are trained in special education. There were four first grade students, 6-7 years old, given 86 hours of listening over a 7-month period. “Students were assessed with the Teacher Rating Form of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition. The Vineland is completed by the teacher and provides an assessment of the individual in the domains of Communication, Daily Living Skills, Socialization, and Motor Skills. The classroom teacher has provided additional testing information, WRAT, which is routinely given at the beginning and end of the school year”:
The Tomatis Listening Program that was implemented at Baker Academy occurred during a seven-month period. The results of the testing confirm a substantial gain in the domains of Communication, Daily Living Skills, and Socialization. On the average, students gained between 13 months and 34 months within these domains during a seven-month time period. This is statistically significant when you take into account that these students were disadvantaged and receiving intervention services prior to the onset of this program. These improvements are directly related to their improvements in auditory processing.
Eight fifth-grade students ages 10-11 were given 69 hours of Tomatis Listening over five months. “Students were assessed with the Teacher Rating Form of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition and the Scan-C test for Auditory Processing Disorders in Children-Revised. The Vineland is completed by the teacher and provides an assessment of the individual in the domains of Communication, Daily Living Skills, Socialization and Motor Skills. The Scan-C is an imitative test, requiring the student to repeat stimulus words or sentences. It is designed to assess one’s primary perception of what is heard and not one’s understanding of what is heard:”
As indicated by the Scan-C Test results, the students have shown improvement in auditory processing abilities. The students are better able to understand speech in the presence of background noise. This in turn assists them in tuning in and attending to language and learning. This is likely a result of intense exercise of the middle ear muscles through the application of Tomatis. In addition, the majority of students have shown improvement in communication, daily living skills and socialization as indicated by the Vineland-II test results. Some students improved one standard deviation, which in some cases resulted in their abilities changing from moderately low to adequate. These improvements are directly related to their improvements in auditory processing.
Charleston, South Carolina, A Solisten Pilot in an After School Program
There is a school pilot program concluding in an after-school program in South Carolina. The intention of the pilot is to see if Solisten and Tomatis can improve academic performance for the general school population. Results will come from comparisons of standardized test scores and grades. Dr. Young has directed the pilot.