Tomatis Effect Research: Learning Abilities
This page presents summaries of some of the studies undertaken to examine the efficacy of using the Tomatis method for assisting children with learning problems.
In 1983, after analysing the research conducted to date, Howard Stutt concluded that, "one can conclude that the Tomatis [audio-psycho-phonological] approach to the treatment of certain problems of some children with learning disabilities seems to produce benefits beyond what could be expected by maturation or remedial education alone".
Stutt, H.A. (1983). The Tomatis method: A review of current research. Montreal: McGill University.
A pilot study was undertaken in Brisbane in 1995 using the Sound Therapy cassettes to test if using the Joudry Sound Therapy tapes in a classroom could enhance a remedial child's academic performance without disrupting the running of the class.
Seven children were chosen from a group of 20 remedial students in grades 2 to 4 to receive Sound Therapy, while another seven children listened to the same classical music without the higher frequencies added. The children's problems included poor auditory discrimination, distractability, and poor visual perception, with most being either hyperactive or hypoactive with low motivation in reading and writing. Both sets of children listened to their music in class for the same amount of time (32 hours over 16 weeks).
Although the total time that the children listened to the Sound Therapy tapes and the classical music is one third of the recommended time of 100 hours, it was found that the children listening to Sound Therapy showed more rapid advances in their abilities than those who listened to classical music alone, especially in the areas of:
- Auditory discrimination
- Reading ability
- Reading comprehension
Rintel, E. & Rintel, D. (1995). Sound Therapy for the Learning
Disabled Child: The effect of high frequency filtered music on
listening and learning ability.
Full article available online.
Thirty children aged between 4 and 14 who had been diagnosed as "profoundly mentally retarded but with the ability to sit and walk" were assigned at random to one of three groups:
- Group A received auditory training (music stimulation with the audio-psycho-phonology effect) plus a sensory motor stimulation programme;
- Group B received music stimulation (without the audio-psycho-phonology effect) plus the same sensory motor stimulation programme;
- Group C did not receive any treatment.
The results indicated that the subjects in both Groups A and B showed an increase in mental age, with the increase in the group which had listened to the music with audio-psycho-phonology effect significantly greater than that in the second group. No change was experienced in Group C.
De Bruto, C.M.E. (1980). Audio-psycho-phonology and the mentally retarded child: an empirical investigation. Paper presented at the First Congress on Audio-psychophonology. Potchefstroom.
De Bruto, C.M.E. (1983). Oudiopsigofonologiese opleiding en die erg geestesverrraagde kind: ‘n Empiriese ondersoek. Ongepubiiseerde M.-graad-skripsie, Potchefstroom Universiteit vir CHO: Potchefstroom.
In a 1982 study, learning disabled children between the ages of 9 and 14 with significant learning and / or communication problems undertook the Tomatis program, and were subjected to various psychological tests before and after the therapy.
While Gilmor found that the participants showed significant improvement in all the tests, which measured aspects of intellectual functioning, achievement functioning (including reading, arithmetic, and speaking), and general adjustment (such as self-concept, moodiness, anxiety, sensitivity to criticism, social isolation, family relations and somatic complaints), there was no control group.
Interestingly, the older children tested exhibited a greater increase in the verbal sub-tests than the younger children, though both improved significantly in the non-verbal sub-tests.
Rourke and Russel
Rourke and Russel conducted an exploratory study on the effectiveness of the Tomatis method on older children with learning disabilities, where 21 children who had serious difficulties in at least one area were placed in the experimental group and 9 in a control group.
A number of tests and measures were applied at selected intervals throughout a full year. The group receiving Tomatis treatment exhibited a significant increase in their Full Scale IQ as well as greater improvements in a variety of other tests, including Performance IQ, the Personality Inventory for Children Adjustment Scale, the Wide Range Achievement Test reading standard scores and the Grooved Pegboard test.
Gilmor. T.M. (1982). Results of a survey of children’s performance on a variety of psychological tests before and after completing the Tomatis program. Rexdale, Ontario: MDS Health Group Ltd.
Gilmor, T.M. (1999). The Efficacy of the Tomatis method for Children
with Learning and Communication Disorders. International Journal
of Listening. 13(12).
Abstract found at the Education Resources Information Center.
Rourke, B.P. & Russel. D.L. (1982). The Tomatis method
applied to older children: An evaluation. Rexdale, Ontario: MDS
Health Group Ltd.
Paper presented at the Opening Communication Conference, Toronto, November 1982.