It is so much easier to tell if something is wrong with our kid if the manifestation is physical – a toothache, rashes, fever, and so on. But sensory difficulties are a lot harder to detect, especially if our children do not verbalize their difficulty or the impairment is not too bad so as to totally affect how a kid functions or socializes.
One of the difficulties I faced when one of my boys was still small was an inner ear problem. We brought him to Otomed in San Juan where he underwent hearing tests. Test results showed that he could only hear several decibels higher than the average person. It was not a severe problem but his hearing was definitely slightly impaired.
Did you know that social behavior is affected by hearing difficulties? That shy kid you have who doesn’t want to socialize may not be able to hear well and so does not want to engage strangers out of fear. That kid who is not doing well in school may be very bright but could not follow the discussions in the classroom because he cannot hear the teacher well.
Take a look at the list below and see if your kid exhibits any of these. If he/she shows some of these symptoms, your child may have some hearing problems:
- short attention span
- easily distracted
- oversensitivity to sound
- misinterprets questions
- confuses similar-sounding words
- frequent need for repetition
- inability to follow sequential instructions
- poor sentence structure
- reading/writing/spelling problems
- fidgety behavior
- clumsy, uncoordinated movements
- poor sense of balance or rhythm
- low frustration tolerance
- low self-confidence/shyness
- difficulty making friends
- tendency to withdraw
Some mommy blogger friends and I were recently introduced to the Tomatis method recently. The Tomatis method, developed by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis, an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist. The Tomatis Effect is his discovery that links the ear and the voice. His extensive research revealed that when the ear functions at full capacity, a child actively listens, has better muscle control, and a better grasp of language and abstract thinking. Obviously, when a child cannot hear that well, the opposite effects manifest.
What is the Tomatis Program?
The Tomatis Program begins with a comprehensive listening assessment that uses a special Tomatis machine to measure frequency response, ear dominance and sound selectivity. This is followed by a short interview or counseling session to summarize what has been achieved and explore reactions, thoughts, emotions.
Programs are tailored to the child and consists of 60 hours, broken down into 3 phases of 20 hours each (10 sessions of 2 hours). There is a 4- to 8-week break in between each phase. Some may need 120 hours, depending on progress and case. Before and after every phase, Tomatis assesses the child’s progress and tweaks the remaining program activities dependindg on the results. Parents actively participate. There is an adjoining room where parents also get to wear headsets so they can listen in to what their child is hearing.
The three women behind Tomatis regaled us with several interesting stories about the kids who underwent their program and became transformed, active children afterwards.
While Tomatis is aimed at working with kids with hearing-related problems, they also have programs for children with no hearing problems as well as adults:
Brain Gain – for schoolchildren with no diagnosed disorder but need to improve focus and listening skills
Bellies & Babies – for pregnant women. It produces an alert, relaxed and physically toned baby as well as an easy delivery as it calms the mother.
Nifty After 50 – for senior citizens who need increased energy and vitality, improved attention, concentration and memory
My thanks to the three wonderful and beautiful women behind Tomatis who shared their time with us: Gem Manosa, Joanne Pedrosa and Ria Vecin.
Tomatis Alabang: Family Life and Wellness Institute, De La Salle Santiago Zobel School, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City. Tel (632) 771-3579 local 800, (632) 400-8985
Tomatis Fort: 2/F Kensington Place, 1st Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. Tel (632) 856-7631. Mobile (0917) 814-2207
Tomatis Greenhills: Unit 9, #59 Connecticut St., Greenhills, San Juan. Tel (632) 727-9285 or 475-7064. Mobile (0915) 412-8354