There is nothing that worries parents more than if their child has problems – socially, physically or emotionally, and especially academically. That’s only natural. As a parent, you know the importance of a good education and it’s painful to see your child struggling in school…and it’s agonizing not knowing why or what can be done to help.
Generic assessments such as “has difficulty learning” and “eager, but unable to keep up” are accurate, but vague. As a result, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause for an otherwise bright child’s poor performance at school. Based on experience, however, we know that when a child exhibits many of the symptoms below, Dyslexia could be to blame.
The most common signs of Dyslexia in a child include:
While these signs do not conclusively point to Dyslexia, the appearance of one or more suggests your child could be having problems making sense of auditory information.
The problem will manifest itself as:
Students who exhibit a particular pattern of strengths and weaknesses in learning are said to fit into the “dyslexic profile.” Generally speaking, they are unable to convert letter symbols to their correct sound (decode) and convert sounds to their correct written symbol (spell).
Poor visual (i.e., orthographic) coding can also be part of the reason that children have trouble learning in a traditional school setting. Research shows however that as many as ninety-nine to 99.9% of dyslexics, depending on age, have either visual or auditory deficits (Schäffler et al, 2004). Only 3-7% suffer from visual or optomotor deficits alone, without any auditory problems (Fischer, 2010). This means that the vast majority of dyslexics – 93 to 97% – have auditory processing problems.
Dyslexia is not characterized as a medical condition, nor can it be “cured” with any medication or pill. Instead, Dyslexia is a term used to describe a neurological disorder that makes it difficult for individuals to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that does not affect their general intelligence. As such, Dyslexia is a learning disability. Learning disabilities do not refer to deficiencies in intelligence, but rather to difficulties in acquiring basic academic skills such as those needed for reading, writing, listening, speaking and mathematics. Learning disabilities also refer to difficulties with speech and language, such as difficulty producing speech sounds and communicating verbally.
The average doctor does not have the necessary background nor training to diagnose Dyslexia. Only professionals who specialize in this area should be consulted for an accurate diagnosis.
It can be challenging for parents and professionals to identify Dyslexia because it is almost impossible to differentiate this disorder scientifically from other learning disabilities. Fortunately, however, key factors such as a family history of Dyslexia and symptoms of difficulties in spoken language can help parents identify an at-risk child even before he/she begins formal schooling.
Professionals with extensive training can accurately diagnose Dyslexia as early as age five. This is critical as the sooner a diagnosis is made, the more quickly a solution can be identified, and the less likely the child is to suffer the secondary blows to their self-esteem that often accompany Dyslexia.
The UK’s Dyslexia Research Trust reports that Dyslexia has a large inherited component (about 50%) of differences in the areas of the brain that process vision, hearing and language. Ten important genes have so far been identified; many are involved in setting up the brain during development in utero.
Dyslexia in a parent is certainly a risk factor for Dyslexia in the child, so it should be part of the discussion for anyone thinking of having children. Current research suggests that if either a father or a mother is dyslexic their sons have approximately a 75% of being dyslexic; girls will have a 25% chance.
Dyslexia can also be an acquired condition when language processing areas of the brain are impaired due to trauma, strokes, tumours, and long-term stress. Growing evidence shows that stress even before birth negatively affects brain development of the unborn baby.
There are finally a number of health issues related to ears and hearing that are detrimental to an optimal development of speech, language and learning. A history of ear infections, wax, glue ear and/or grommets are very common among children with Dyslexia.
When children have problems with verbal or written language, their difficulties are very likely linked to auditory processing deficits. There is a dysfunction in the way their brain is processing auditory information, which affects their language as it is through listening to speech sounds that we acquire our verbal skills.
The Tomatis® approach identifies some auditory processing problems which may lead to learning difficulties associated with Dyslexia:
Poor sound discrimination. Poor differentiation between sounds of different frequencies e.g. between s and z, p and b, etc leads to difficulties in reading and writing. This is because, according to Dr Tomatis, these tasks require the association of a graphic sign and its corresponding sound in a single time frame. Poor sound discrimination leads to spelling difficulties, reversed letters, missing words and sequencing errors.
Non-right ear dominance. The right ear should be the leading ear as sounds captured by this ear are directly transmitted to the language areas in the left brain. On the other hand, sounds captured by the left ear must go through the right brain first, thus compromising the information due to the longer circuit before it reaches the auditory processing area in the left hemisphere.
Left-ear dominance leads to longer processing time, hesitant or broken speech, monotone voice, difficulties reading out loud, and poor reading comprehension according to Dr Tomatis.
Weak or tense middle-ear muscles. Healthy and flexible muscles connected to the hammer and stirrup lead to optimal (accurate) transmission of sound.
Hyper- or hyposensitivity of sounds is often due to poorly functioning muscles in the middle ear, a common problem for many with Dyslexia according to Dr Tomatis.
A formal diagnosis of Dyslexia cannot be given before approximately seven years of age, but there are tests that can determine if your child is showing signs of language learning problems well before that.
Once auditory processing difficulties are suspected and any medical issues influencing the condition have been addressed, there are many treatment options available that can greatly improve your child’s ability to process speech and language. Due to the fact that the exact cause of auditory processing problems is unknown, there are many different approaches to treatment; however, two widely accepted approaches are auditory therapy (administered by a trained speech therapist) and audio-based programs like TOMATIS®.
In therapy, the child learns techniques and strategies to counteract the disruptions in information processing. Depending on the areas of difficulty, they learn new cognitive skills, perform speech correction exercises, work on ways to improve focus, and more. Again, much like with therapy for Dyslexia, it’s a matter of helping the child deal with the symptoms and improve their ability to operate “normally”.
The TOMATIS® Method is an audio-based program that, unlike therapy, addresses the problem at a direct auditory system level. Using advanced sound technology and 60 years of research, the TOMATIS® Method uses specially designed devices that stimulate the ear-voice-brain connection and progressively trains the brain to analyse sensory messages faster and more accurately.
TOMATIS® is the Gold Standard of auditory training, and it has been for more than 60 years. Here’s why it works so well…
Already before birth, speech and sound enter our ears and stimulate the brain. Babies learn to recognise their native tongue by listening to their mother’s voice via bone conduction in utero.
With the TOMATIS® Method, we “re-train” the sound-to-brain connection in much the same way.
Using special headphones, designed for the purpose, we transmit sound through both the ear canal and through vibrations, a very effective practice called bone conduction. Using both transmission methods as well as time delays between the signals, simulate the natural way we hear in addition to transmitting the sound directly to the inner ear—boosting the natural auditory system processes.
The music played through the head set is scientifically selected, and will change in timbre and intensity unpredictably. These musical contrasts trigger the brain to become more active in response to the sound. As the full program runs over 4-6 months, new connections patterns are established between ear, brain, and body. This ear- brain “workout” increases attention and concentration, speeds up learning, and directly targets auditory processing difficulties. The TOMATIS® Method works because it doesn’t just address the symptoms, it actually improves the way the brain processes auditory stimuli.
Another factor that adds to the success of the TOMATIS® Method is that it’s easy to use for people of any age. Children can play, lay puzzles, paint, or even do homework while listening to the program. Even small children with a history of hypersensitivity to sound find relief in the music. Teenagers and adults often prefer to just relax while listening.
Natural, non-intrusive, and scientifically researched, the TOMATIS® method gets real results.
In fact, we believe in the TOMATIS method so completely, and we’ve seen how much it helps children with Dyslexia, that we offer a 100% money back guarantee. If, after the first block of training and within 30 days, you haven’t seen significant improvements in your child and don’t want to continue, we’ll issue you a full refund.*
When you don’t know the cause of a child’s learning problems, it’s impossible to find a solution. Unfortunately, many parents stop looking for the cause and simply resign themselves to the idea that, “my child just wasn’t born to be good at school.” What they fail to realize is that Dyslexia is a real condition that will not improve through rewards or punishment.
Once you’ve reviewed this information, contact us! We’re happy to answer any remaining questions you may have and schedule an appointment if needed.
We have helped more than two thousand children to perform better in school, behave better, and (most importantly) be less anxious and feel better about themselves! If you suspect auditory processing is causing your child Dyslexia or learning problems, don’t hesitate, act today.
Call 0800 -TOMATIS (0800-866284) to learn more or enter your email in the form and we will send you more information.