Before commencing audio-vocal education, a child or adult receives an audio-psycho-phonological assessment (BAPP). First of all this involves a case history where the child's history is charted in detail. He or she is then offered a series of tests, the main one being the listening test.
Then the child and parents have a consultation with a consultant at the Centre. It is always desirable to have mother and father present at the same time because both are involved. This assessment takes about two hours. It is necessary in order to be able to evaluate the child's potential and decide to what extent audio-vocal education can be recommended.
It is split into two main parts:
During this phase, the child receives auditory stimulation, in particular with the music of Mozart, with the help of a headset and a vibrating alert. The music will be used as the initial stimulus and will be gradually filtered to reproduce the sonic universe corresponding to the listening process before birth - depending on the programme planned, the voice of the mother is sometimes used. This phase aims to rekindle the child's desire to communicate with his or her family and friends.
During this first phase, the child can play and talk while listening to the recordings. He or she is strongly encouraged to draw, and the drawings are kept to show the consultant, who will hence be able to assess the child's progress. The listening sessions take place in a room specially equipped for this kind of work.
During this first phase, we can observe changes with regard to sleep, appetite and behaviour. The child seems calmer, more relaxed and more open towards others. He or she wants to speak more. Parents notice their children ask more questions and show greater interest in doing things, both at school and at home.
Their behaviour stabilises: unstable children calm down, and children that had been withdrawn express themselves more easily. They also listen more and become more positive in their activities.
Its aim is to enable a child to utilise the desire to listen, having been awakened during the preceding phase. He or she is then asked to repeat some spoken or sung elements into a microphone: nursery rhymes, vocalisation, words or phrases. The sound is regulated with the Electronic Ear, which allows the child to control their voice. Gradually, a balanced system will give them the option of controlling their reactions increasingly through the right ear in order to reinforce their audio-vocal circuits. Throughout this process, listening tests are regularly carried out in order to record progress and to predict when the session can be concluded. The frequency of sessions should be determined according to each child and his or her reactions.
These aim to update the child and the parents. The consultation allows an evaluation of the progress to be made. It is an opportunity for the child to express his or her experiences and reactions.
The consultant will explain to the child what is happening and advise parents so that the family environment becomes increasingly harmonious and hence contributes to the blossoming of the child's personality.
When children have acquired their audio-vocal control mechanisms and so have a command of their oral and written language, they are asked to perform some reading aloud exercises at home, which will enable them to retain what they have acquired and will reinforce the progress made during the course of the Tomatis programme.
As far as possible, we ask the family to have the child monitored every six months so that it will be possible to assess his or her audio-psycho-phonological development.