When a rumor appears
At the beginning of his career, Tomatis claimed that the fetus, being in the womb, hears and listens to her voice. Scientific research has confirmed this idea, which at the moment is an indisputable truth.
The ear of the embryo begins to fully function in four and a half months. Henry Truby (1) reports that a six-month-old fetus moves its body to the rhythm of mother’s speech. Based on a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, Tomatis (2) concluded that the mother’s voice not only serves as an emotional nutrient for the baby, but also prepares him for the acquisition of language skills after birth.
For this reason, Tomatis suggests using his mother’s voice to reopen the hearing process. A voice is passed through the filters, resembling the sounds that the fetus heard in the uterus. From the reaction of children and adults, it is clear that using the mother’s voice has a strong effect: children often calm down, as if the voice soothes them; they show more love and affection, especially to their mother. Foster children achieve better contact with their adoptive mother. The mother’s voice is a solid foundation, thanks to which the listening process begins to form and develop, which also affects the subsequent development of language skills. On the whole, this whole process is nothing but an attempt to “reprogram” the various stages of human development through symbolic experience.
Since Tomatis uses the mother’s voice as part of the therapeutic process, some people have incorrectly concluded that he puts the responsibility for the difficulties of the child on the mother. This does not reflect the position of Tomatis at all. The use of the mother’s voice is a therapeutic tool through which a bond is created or restored between the mother and the child who has not fully developed. Hundreds of studies and experiments indicate that this connection is primary – the basis of personal security and the beginning of interaction with the world.
Using the mother’s voice, Tomatis seeks to instill in the child a desire to reconnect with the mother and hear her voice, as for the first time. This “psychological” approach should be accompanied by a specific work, the purpose of which is to rebuild the system of perception. Summarizing all of the above, we can say that the Tomatis method offers a clear system for a more harmonious and perfect development.
Learning to listen is done using sound exposure, which is generated using a special electronic device. To change the listening function, intensive intervention is required from the very beginning. The first 15 days, sound stimulation is used, lasting two hours a day. Subsequent blocks are usually shorter and held at intervals of one or two months. Active work with a microphone is used to help a child or an adult learn to listen to their own voice.
Does it really work?
The Tomatis method has passed many tests. It turned out to be especially effective in eliminating learning difficulties and solving behavioral problems. In his critical review of classes held in Canada, Stutt (3) concludes that the Tomatis method provides tangible benefits to the education system. Children who underwent “auditory therapy” showed a significant increase in I.Q. (mental development coefficient), good reading skills, acceleration of perception processes, and the ability to verbally express their thoughts and feelings (4, 5, 6, 7). Only recently Tim Gilmore completed a meta-analysis of previous studies, confirming Stutt’s conclusions.
The Tomatis Center in Toronto (Canada) studied the results of “auditory therapy” in more than 400 children and adolescents. All of them showed good results during psychological and educational testing. In this trial, 95% of parents testified that the program helped their children. They saw positive changes that can be expressed in the following parameters:
Increased level of sociability – 89%
Increased attention span – 86%
80% reduction in disorders
Reading comprehension – 85%
Speech quality – 74%
Memory – 73%
Spelling – 69%
Maturity – 84%
Over the next six months, 83% of children retained and even developed their achievements. The remaining 14% of children retained only some achievements, and only 3% lost their acquired skills.
For several years, the Tomatis method has been used in some French schools with funds distributed by the Ministry of Education. Children with the most serious learning problems were selected. Despite the fact that the conditions of the program in the educational institution are far from ideal, the results were quite successful, so many parents and teachers insisted on the need for such programs annually.