If you have a child or know an individual with Down Syndrome, you are familiar with their unique characteristics. While they do develop more slowly than neurotypical children, they nevertheless are typically able to reach developmental milestones.
It’s fascinating to know that researchers are beginning to understand that the abilities of kids with Down Syndrome are far greater than previously believed. When they receive the right interventions and therapies, their potential can be unlocked and further developed.
One of the interventions that has shown to be very helpful in the lives of those with Down Syndrome is the Tomatis listening program. This approach provides vital auditory and cognitive stimulation. And that, in turn, helps improve sensory processing abilities.
Sensory Processing and Down Syndrome
Sensory processing skills are often, if not always, one of the main struggles of individuals with Down Syndrome. Sight, sound, touch, and taste are important elements of sensory processing. It also includes sensorimotor control and proprioception awareness.
Poor posture and weak muscle-tonus control are often an element of Down Syndrome. It makes sense that these factors can hinder sensory processing and expression. Importantly, the Tomatis method also works by stimulating the actual physiology of the ear. Some researchers have found that this method helps with speech and jaw/mouth control.
Amazingly, by exposing the inner ear to sound stimulation, the muscles of the inner ear actually strengthen and become more adept. When implemented properly, this carries over to the facial muscles that are used for speech and expression.
As Down Syndrome individuals learn to listen (not just hear), they are taking important steps toward improving their speech skills as well.
General Sensory Processing
Another frequent characteristic of those with Down Syndrome is that they process information more slowly. Because their brain takes longer to put pieces of sensory input together, they may miss key elements of information. Likewise, then, it is harder for them to respond fully to a stimulus after parts of it have “been lost,” so to speak, along the neural processing pathway.
Essentially, these individuals struggle to integrate the external stimuli that they receive. They are often hyporesponsive, or under-responsive, to external stimuli.
Because the auditory processing system is so intricately linked with the other senses, listening programs offer an incredibly effective treatment option. The Tomatis method stimulates the auditory system while also incorporating small vibrations to the skull. The body senses these vibrations before it hears the sound. They help create a holistic improvement in sensory processing and readily address gaps in cognitive development.
General Benefits of the Tomatis Method
The Tomatis Method is a painless, non-invasive therapy that is proven to train and retrain the brain’s abilities. And it offers many benefits for all children across the cognitive span. Exposing children to music, rhythm, tone, and timbre at an early age can boost their sensory and speech skills. Plus, the Tomatis approach also helps individuals increase their concentration, focus, and performance.
These same concepts are applicable to those with Down Syndrome. (You can read much more about these processes in other articles on my site.)
Working with Me
Using the Tomatis method to help improve the abilities of children with Down Syndrome and other disabilities is one of my passions. Over the years, I have seen how powerful this approach is in helping children strengthen their cognitive skills. It also helps boost their developmental progress. For more information about sensory processing please follow the link: https://www.sacarin.com/sensory-processing-disorder-treatment/
Thorough evaluations are always part of the treatment plan. I work closely with other specialists in the community as well, since helping those with Down Syndrome calls for a multi-pronged approach. Seeing how children thrive and grow is the best part of my job!
If you would like to know more about how the Tomatis Method can help your child or family members, please reach out to my office.