The Tomatis Method begins with an Initial Assessment to identify listening strengths and weaknesses. The assessment, which includes completion of a battery of tests, a detailed history, observation, and consultation, typically requires one to three hours to complete. A trained professional works with the family of a child to define appropriate goals and objectives and to determine the most appropriate length and type of listening training program for an individual’s specific needs. If an individual is unable or unwilling to complete the test battery, a decision about the appropriateness of using the Tomatis listening training is made by the Consultant following observation of the individual, a review of his or her personal history, and a consultation with the parents or guardians.
Individuals typically listen from one to three hours daily to music and voice processed through the electronic ear in order to achieve specific goals. The listening training program may have both passive and active phases provided over several periods. One goal of the passive phase of listening is to change the listening patterns to be more effective. Activities during this phase encourage experimentation with new activities and creativity. While listening, individuals are encouraged to participate in creative activities such as drawing or painting, putting puzzles together, playing games, and conversing, or to simply relax. Many of the activities help to integrate reflex and tactile sensory systems.
During the active phase, the individual speaks into a microphone as his or her voice is played back to his/her own ear through the Electronic Ear (EE). The individual may sing, hum, repeat words, phrases and chants, and read aloud with music. The conditioning of one’s ear to one’s voice heard with a good quality through the EE is included in many programs of sufficient duration and when appropriate for the goals of an individual’s program. Active work can progress from basic sounds and speech for some children with developmental and learning disabilities to the highly effective, self-monitored oral activities of professional speakers, singers, actors, musicians, salespeople, teachers, and others who routinely depend on their voice to earn a living. At all times, the sound presented to the listener’s ear is in a normal and safe range of intensity. Individual volume controls are provided for each listener.
Individual and group Tomatis Method programs are developed for individuals, schools, companies, and other organizations to meet their particular application, schedule, and resource needs. Variations in Tomatis Method programs can exist that accomplish similar goals.
A minimal program typically occurs within two or three periods covering at least 60 to 90 hours. Three to six week breaks for integration of changes typically separate the first two to three periods.
The Tomatis Method basically trains or conditions the ear until the individual is capable of retaining the benefits without continuous ongoing training. The EE does not become a replacement for one’s own good listening; instead, it becomes the mechanism for the education, or re-education, of one’s ears to develop effective listening for the length of program completed.
The Consultant provides consultations throughout the program, teaching effective listening and voice activities and other appropriate activities and processes in order to achieve the goals of the individual and to implement them in daily life. Meetings with families provide effective strategies for individual support within the group and consistent structure for children so they can develop their abilities.