Dynamic Listening is the primary therapy used by Key to Me Therapy. Dynamic Listening uses Integrated Listeningís advanced digital systems to implement the work of Dr. Alfred Tomatis, who studied the ways in which sound frequencies influence multiple aspects of functioning including learning, language, emotional regulation, physical movement and overall health. Specifically, Dynamic Listening uses sound that is enhanced or altered by professional quality digital technology coupled with sensory-rich activities to impact and improve the nervous system of the body. Integrated Listeningís digital equipment enables individual Tomatis protocols to be created and implemented more precisely than any other delivery system or sound therapy.
At Key to Me therapy, we augment each individualís auditory protocol with sensory integration play activities and social engagement. Child-led sensory and social play combined with targeted Tomatis auditory stimulation provides powerful, effective therapy that is easy for children to do and yields rapid results.
Tomatis Method Auditory Stimulation
The vestibular system (responsible for processing movement) and the cochlear system (responsible for processing sound) are two of the three primary systems for organizing sensory input (the visual system is the third). Both these systems begin in the ear and extend to the base of the brain. These systems act as a relay station for sensory input to the cerebral cortex (areas of the brain in which higher order thinking takes place). Together, the vestibular and cochlear systems form an interdependent system that detects and analyzes sound, controls balance and movement (including eye movement), and integrates touch, hearing, and vision.
The Tomatis Method of auditory stimulation specifically alters sound frequencies to stimulate the cochlea and the vestibules of the inner ear. Hair cells inside the cochlea vibrate according to the frequency of sound received. These vibrations generate nerve signals that are sent to the brain. Stimulating this system with specific sound frequencies strengthens and improves the neurological pathways that decode, process, and organize sound, movement, and other sensory input, which in turn improves attention, communication, learning abilities and motor skills.
Air Conduction and Bone Conduction
Sound is heard in two ways. The most familiar way is by the ear detecting sound waves that travel from external sources to the inner ear via a mechanism called air conduction. An additional means of sound transmission called bone conduction occurs through the bony structures of the ear as the ear detects vibrations and larger sound waves. Think about how differently your voice sounds to you when you hear a recording of it. This difference occurs because the sound of the recording is transmitted by air conduction only while both air and bone conduction transmit the sound of your voice when you are speaking. Dynamic Listening Therapyís specialized headphones stimulate the vestibular/cochlear system using both air and bone conduction, which provides comprehensive, effective stimulation to the entire auditory system.
Receptive Phase of Intervention
The receptive phase of therapy involves individuals wearing headphones and listening to a combination of full spectrum sound and filtered sounds using classical music. Advanced digital equipment gradually filters the sound, removing the lower frequencies in order to stimulate the high frequency receptors in the cochlea. The purpose of the receptive phase is to improve the earís ability to perceive sounds at all frequencies in order to improve auditory and vestibular processing, increase effective coordination of all sensory input, and energize the brain.
Tomatis theory states that those who can hear more of the auditory spectrum have an advantage in learning. Tomatis found that he could help individuals to hear parts of the auditory spectrum that they were having difficulty with by selectively training the ear to attend to those frequencies. To do so, Tomatis developed a method of filtering sound so that only certain sound frequencies could be heard. Clients reported improvements in their learning ability as well as increases in energy as their perception of these frequencies improved.
Expressive Phase of Intervention
The expressive phase of treatment is implemented when an individual has shown appropriate receptive improvements. The expressive phase addresses the feedback loop between the ear and the voice. The client hums, sings, and speaks into a microphone as the sounds are electronically enriched and fed back to the person through headphones. This expressive phase of therapy increases oneís ability to listen to oneself and effectively communicate with others. It also helps train the ear to focus on the human voice and filter out background sounds.
At Key to Me Therapy, we begin by conducting a thorough evaluation in order to determine if Dynamic Listening is an appropriate therapy for an individual. Individualized programs are developed based on the results of this evaluation. The evaluation includes a variety of assessments designed to measure the specific processing issues an individual is having. Whenever possible, a Listening Test is administered. A Listening Test measures both air conduction and bone conduction and provides a clear picture as to an individualís auditory strengths and weaknesses. If a child is unable to participate in a Listening Test, other measures, including sensory profiling and clinician observation, are used. On-going evaluation of progress is used throughout the therapeutic program in order to gauge improvements and to make any needed modifications.
Sensory Integration Activities
The processing and coordination of all sensory input is critical to proper brain functioning. In addition to auditory and vestibular information, input from the eyes, nose, mouth, skin, muscles and joints must be accurately decoded by the brain if an individual is to function optimally. At Key to Me Therapy, each Dynamic Listening program included sensory-rich play activities that stimulate multiple sensory systems and help the brain improve coordination of sensory information.
A “sensory diet”, based on an individualís challenges and needs, is implemented for each client and includes activities ranging from vestibular and proprioceptive (swinging, jumping, obstacle courses, etc.) to tactile and fine motor (Playdoh, art, bean table, games, etc.) A floortime conceptual model is used to determine activities, allowing for child-led play that is then augmented by therapists. Therapists use high energy and high affect to engage clients in productive, safe, sensory-rich play activities while clients wear headphones and undergo their individual auditory stimulation protocols.
Many individuals with special needs struggle socially. At Key to Me, therapy takes place in small groups to provide opportunities for socializing in a supportive setting. Clients are placed with appropriate peers whenever possible, and therapists work to engage each individual in a variety of social games and activities. This type of organic yet guided play environment enabled clients to practice social skills in a safe, fun, supported setting.
At Key to Me Therapy, we have found that a happy, relaxed child makes faster progress than a child who is stressed by a therapeutic environment or demand. That is why we make our therapy not only effective but also fun and easy for an individual to do. We offer an array of constructive, beneficial activities for a variety of ages, a child-oriented approach, and trained therapists that are engaging, patient, caring and energetic. As one of our parents put it, “our son looks forward to going to Key to Me as a typically-developing child looks forward to an extra-curricular activity. He feels successful here.”
Dynamic Listening therapy improves: