Tomatis Method of Sound Stimulation – a Comprehensive Treatment Approach for ADD/ADHD at Dr. Sacarin Listening Center.
School Troubles, A. Tomatis, 1992
Can Attention and Focus be Improved in Children and Adults with ADD/ ADHD?
Do you feel your child is bright, yet he or she often omits paying attention whether in school or at home? Is your child’s ability to maintain focus circumstantial and sporadic while his or her grades and relationships with peers are affected by the lack of concentration?
Generating attention can be challenging for children and adults alike. Tasks that do not match one’s interest seem “boring” or “not attention grabbing” for individuals who present with attention issues. While children fail to succeed in school and exhibit immature behavior patterns such as fidgetiness and hyperactivity, adults lack confidence in keeping jobs or in their ability to maintain primary relationships in spite of being bright.
Understanding the Anatomy of Attention
We all experience the ease of engaging our full attention when permitted to perform activities we like or when stimulated by a task we can swiftly master. However, not everybody can successfully sustain attention over time, especially then when we find no interest in the task or when we feel that circumstances do not suit us although appropriate for our age.
Sustaining attention for a longer period of time, no matter what the activity or the circumstance, is a function of multiple extrinsic and intrinsic factors and proof of mature development.
Extrinsic factors: With the scope of helping your child improve attention you might have already discussed various extrinsic measure with his or her teachers or therapists such as: matching the child’s interest and task-ability level in class or home activities. In addition, providing a small learning environment: small class size or one-on-one might have also been useful advice. These strategies while valuable in providing some immediate improved attendance, they often remain limited in addressing the most important part: that of developmental maturation that could lead to a different quality of generating and sustaining attention.
Intrinsic factors: Awareness, perception, processing speed and memory are only a few of the intrinsic factors that participate in the process of generating and sustaining attention. In other words, the child’s developmental level determines whether she or he can participate in learning or social activities with the necessary attention and focus for age appropriate participation.
Did you know that attention has a conscious and a subconscious component? Research has long suggested that a considerable amount of processing takes place in the brain before we can consciously become aware of a visual, auditory, tactile/kinesthetic or vestibular event that has occurred only hundreds of milliseconds prior to us becoming aware of it. Thus, the subconscious processing that takes place prior to our ability to consciously pay attention to that event is equally if not even more important in understanding what contributes to our ability to develop an age appropriate attention? Debner, J. A., & Jacoby, L. L. elaborated as far back at 1994 on the importance of understanding the subconscious aspect of processing information in their publication: Unconscious perception: Attention, awareness, and control which appeared in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20(2), 304-317.
Why Tomatis Method of Sound Stimulation at Dr. Sacarin Center?
The greater majority of interventions address either one or the other aspect of modulating attention, this often being through behavior modification or insight gaining approaches, yet omitting to use a larger lens of understanding attention from both points of view presented above. Others address development from a sensory integration prospective alone without understanding attention in its entirety – including the various layers of attention that Debner & Jacoby along with other authors pointed out – and whether these aspects of the attention generating processes can be affected through and by what treatment?
Having investigated the “Early Effects of the Tomatis Method on Attention in Children with ADD” in a controlled study design using standardized measures of attention, processing speed, phonemic decoding efficiency, behavior outcomes and brain electrophysiology changes – using quantitative EEG as an evaluation tool of pre- post- effects – I have come to a deeper understanding of the efficacy of the Tomatis Method of Sound Stimulation in individuals who present with ADD/ADHD.
Intrinsic factors such as developmental and attentional aspects of processing can be stimulated and trained as my and other research findings of previous studies suggest when using the sound stimulation approach developed by Dr. Alfred Tomatis. Other interventions might have their merit, however they are not equally suited to train to the same extent the above intrinsic elements I mentioned which are much needed in generating and sustaining attention. Having said this, I would also like to mention that the Tomatis Method is considered an experimental method here in the US. However, there is a growing body of evidence around various applications of the method revealing more understanding around both – how it works and the training effects on various functions in both children and adults.
As a researcher in the field of attention, I believe that a successful treatment begins with a full understanding of the phenomenon of attention. Equally important for successful treatment is a comprehensive evaluation for everyone, be it a child or an adult. Following an evaluation in which we use standardized measures to capture aspects of their perceptual-motor, attentional, cognitive and behavioral functioning we can make treatment recommendations and discuss an individualized treatment plan that could best suit your child’s needs or if an adult, your goals.
During this evaluation we could help you make an educated decision and answer your questions including: whether the Tomatis Method could be an appropriate tool for you or for your child? In addition, we could help you understand whether and how other treatments could be of use, what resources are available in our community and what sequence of treatment approaches would be most favorable to the outcomes you are looking for.
Why not medication?
Some children and adults who contact us are already being treated by a physician and are adjusted on attention medication. Others have not ventured that far and would like to try other options before considering medication. For some children and adults medication could be the best option to address attention issues when circumstances require it, such as having to be able to seat quietly and attend instead of running through the classroom. However, medication will not necessarily address training of various cognitive and attentional parameters that might be needed to mature these functions and further develop focus and attention.
Learn More About ADHD and Treatment
If you feel that I could help answer further questions about our approach which integrates the Tomatis Method as treatment for either an adult or a child with ADD/ADHD please e-mail us at drlsacarin[at]sacarin.com or call us at 206 522-8873 to schedule a free 30 min phone conversation and I would be happy to set up a time to address them. If you would like to learn more about our work with the Tomatis method and various applications and how it can help you or your child, I would like to invite you to attend my free monthly, in-person presentations. Please e-mail us to reserve a seat. Together we can find avenues for improvement and success.