7th International Audio-Phycho-Phonology Conference

The 7th International Audio-Phycho-Phonology (APP) Conference took place on the 16th-17th September 2017 in Sint-Truiden, Belgium, organized by Mozart-Brain-Lab.

More than 90 APP profesionales from four continents gathered during these two days – above the photo of all of us.

Four speakers made up the program this year:

1. Dr. Daniel Klopfenstein, “Fetal Auditory Perception via Bone Conduction”

2. M. Jacques Bonhomme, “From Listening to Expression: The Voice in all shapes and forms”

3. Prof. Wolfgang Beelmann, “Child behavioral disorders and family environment in the context of the Listening Training according to Tomatis”

4. Mrs. Mari Cruz Domínguez, “Benefits of long-term Tomatis Listening Training in Speach, Language, Talking & Singing Voice”

From left to right: Astrid & Jozef Vervoort, Mrs. Domínguez, Prof. Beelmann, M. Bonhomme and Dr. Klopfenstein

On Friday afternoon, before the official start of the Conference, we held a Listening Test Session.  Jozef and Astrid Vervoort led the discussion of listening curves from our own practices.  It was a real pleasure seeing Astrid continuing her father´s work with the same spirit and joy.

Jozef presented the latest book published on the Tomatis Method written by himself and Astrid, A Guide to Prof. Alfred Tomatis´ Method by Jozef Vervoort.  Later on both of them talk about the Conference and the book.

This year´s Conference was also a commemoration of the 60-year anniversary of the “Tomatis Effect”. Raoul Husson first introduced the term on June 4, 1957, at the Academy of Sciences of Paris.

It was in June 1957 when Dr. Tomatis was scientifically recognized by the Paris “Académie des Sciences” for his 3 famous laws:

1st Law: “The voice only contains those frequencies that the ear can perceive”

2nd Law: “If the ear is given the possibility of correctly perceiving the lost or compromised frequencies correctly, these are instantly and unconsciously restored in the voice”

3rd Law: “Auditory stimulation, maintained over a sufficient period of time, will provide a lasting improvement of the ability to listen and, consequently, better vocal production”

Mozart-Brain-Lab very kindly offered a beautiful certificate to all Conference attendees to remember this anniversary.

Conference Program:

1. Dr. Daniel Klopfenstein, “Fetal Auditory Perception via Bone Conduction”

Dr. Daniel Klopfenstein is specialist in gynecology-obstetrics, and is well known in the Tomatis world for the research done at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the hospital of Vesoul, as Dr. Tomatis refers in his famous book Nine months in Paradise, Stories of Prenatal Life. 

Dr. Klopfenstein has conducted important research studies on fetal perception and sound environment in-utero on the premises of Tomatis´ theory, that the fetus perceives the higher frequencies of its mother´s voice via bone conduction.

Dr. Klopfenstein held long discussions with Dr. Tomatis and they agreed on a research methodology focusing on bone conduction of sound via the pregnant woman´s pelvis.

We know that the best body positions for sound transmission are standing and sitting.  It should be noted that in primitive cultures and up to the 18th century en Europe, labor and delivery frequently occurred in a sitting, squatting or standing positions (it optimizes speaking to the fetus).

We saw an example of a birthing chair. This position is very efficient for the parturient and facilitates the delivery.

It was known that fetus react to the maternal voice and to sounds in general.  However, will the sound that reaches the fetus be “emotionally coloured” by the presence of certain neurotransmitters that cross the placenta?  What type of sounds make it react?, what intensity is needed?, what frequencies does it listen to? Does the mother’s body position influence sound perception?

The presentation was about the studies he has carried out, the results obtained and the new questions that have arisen that require further studies.

In the first study, 38 recordings were performed on 31 pregnant women in their last trimester of pregnancy, the majority of them were between 36 weeks of gestation and term, and were lying on their backs.

Dr. Christophe Petitjean summarized this work in the thesis presented in Besancon, France, in June 1989.

Conclusions of this initial study:

  • The fetus react to sound stimulation.
  • Transmission of external sound, or of the mother´s voice, is found in the mother´s pelvis.
  • Transmission of external sounds is recorded on the pelvis up to 20,000 Hertz (integrating harmonics) as soon as the maternal mastoid vibrates.  Some harmonics even had an intensity higher than the fundamental sound.
  • High frequencies are transmitted and recorded
  • The mother´s voice used the same path, most probably amplified by the ribcage and enhanced by the continuity of sounds (amplified when singing).

It is not known – yet – why the sound reception is equal or higher in harmonics to the emission, and why the reception intensity is higher in certain frequencies – zone II of the listening test – than the emission.

The study shows how the sound is transmitted to the pelvis, however, does it imply that the sound reach the fetus? If the fetus moves, is it under the effect of sound or of a mediator such as adrenaline?

And here comes the second study, published in 1993.  You can read about it in the article “Study In-Utero of the transmission of bone vibrations on the fetus´ head”.

From the first study it was learned that different positions of the mother had to be studied in order to analyze if the sound reception in the fetus varied.

The technique used was testing bone vibration on the fetus´s cranial cap inside the mother´s womb, with the cervix at about 4 cm. of dilation and after breaking waters, and at the same time analyzing the voice of the mother.  Recordings were taken when mothers listened to sounds from loudspeakers, bone vibrators on their heads, headphones with bone vibrators, and of their own voice.  Mothers were tested lying, sitting and standing.

Conclusions of the second study:

The head of the fetus is a sound receptable no matter what the mode of transmission is above 40 decibels.  Below this threshold (normal spoken voice) it occurs when the mother´s petrous bone starts to vibrate, much better in sitting and standing positions, and even better with her own voice.  The greatest is when the mother sings or with persistent sounds.

It´s very important to note that at no time the fetal head was in direct contact with the pelvic bone!

The hypothesis is that the mechanism of sound transmission from the mastoid to the pelvis are the vertebral ligaments, the posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) and the anterior ligament (ALS), that extend from the occiput to the base of the coccyx.

Given these results, if a father wants to talk to his future son, it is best to speak in the mother´s ear to reach the fetus, because if he talks to the belly he would have to reach 80 decibels!

This second study raised more question for a third study that was programmed but couldn´t be realized due to Dr. Klopfenstein´s relocation..

He wanted to complete these studies with a fetal EEG in-utero in order to learn more about the effect of bone vibration of the skull and especially of the effect on the awakening of the brain, and to get recordings of the auditory area to find out to what extend sounds awaken the cortex.

Dr Klopfenstein is grateful for Dr. Tomatis’ intuition in anticipating aspects that some have already been studied and verified and others are still pending.

He put forward a series of questions and temporary conclusions and hoped they could be studied one day.

Magnificent lecture by Dr. Daniel Klopfenstein.

2. M. Jacques Bonhomme, “From Listening to Expression: The Voice in all shapes and forms”

This presentation was very illustrative and fun.

Mr Bonhomme is a musician and choral conductor (Gregorian chant), has studied psychology and Art Therapy and is a music therapist and a certified APP practitioner.

For M. Bonhomme, the voice lives in our whole body, our whole body is voice, we are our voice.

He offered great descriptions of what the voice is, what it represents:

  • It is a mirror image of our way of listening, reflects our past, our aspirations and interests.
  • It is a complex and fascinating psycho-corporeal geography, reveals our emotional state and can be blocked by our memories.
  • It is the result of our body postures, attitudes and personality.

He claimed that we are a vibrating violin, and not any violin, we are a Stradivarius! However, it does not always sound good because of our emotions. Like a violin that sings, humans have 11 keys that “open” our voice – influence how we speak -, a bow, strings and … a soul.

Here is a small clip of his presentation, in the final gesticulation his whole body “sounds”, it was very impressive:

M. Bonhomme showed us examples of how body attitude and personality influence the voice, he “lived and embodied” those voices, it was outstanding.

The presentation was very interesting and entertaining, and we all enjoyed his great sense of humour.

3. Prof. Wolfgang Beelmann, “Child behavioral disorders and family environment in the context of the Listening Training according to Tomatis”

Prof. Beelmann´s presentation was very revealing on importants aspects that would affect the final result of the therapy.

Prof. Beelmann is Professor of Developmental Psychology and Psychological Diagnosis at the University of Bielefeld in Germany; working also with children and their families.

The Tomatis Method first fascinated him because of positive results within his own family. And for the last two years he has conducted a research project, in collaboration with a group of students at Atlantis, on the evolution of children´s behaviour and experiences during Tomatis listening training and the impact these changes may have on the relationship adjustments between the child and his/her family.  He presented the central findings of this empirical pilot study.

12 cases were studied, 6 boys and 6 girls. They used the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), where they evaluated Emotional, Conduct and Peer problemas, and Hyperactivity and Attention deficit.

He pointed out that the classifications of these questionnaires, what it is considered normal, borderline, abnormal and very abnormal; are not an “objetive truth”, they respond to conventions among experts.

We have to be cautious about the clinical diagnoses.  For example, it is important to differentiate between “abnormal behaviour” and “abnormal expectation” by adults, parents or teachers.  How can we expect a 6-year-old to be sitted for hours and to have to raise his/her hand if he/she wants to say something?

He spoke of the bio-psycho-social development model, in which these three aspects interact with each other; thus taking into account the interaction between the biological and psychological aspects of the person and social factors such as the relationship with their parents, family, peers.

It was very interesting the “Fit-model” he presented, for example, how the child’s interaction with his family “fits”.

If APP training succeed there will be changes in the child, and the “fit” with family and social environment will have to change too. In some cases it can be a difficult process.  For example, if the child becomes more independent, he begins to explore more, for some parents it will be fantastic and will support him/her, while for other parents it might be terrifying, “My God, what´s going on, stop it”.

It is important to contemplate the family constellation, to work in a sistemic way.

The presentation was very interesting and thought-provoking, and led to an engaging group discussion.

4. Mrs. Mari Cruz Domínguez, “Benefits of long-term Tomatis Listening Training in Speach, Language, Talking & Singing Voice”

Mrs. Domínguez´s presentation was based on her experience with children and adults arriving with apparently very complicated diagnosis.  She has been complementing the APP with Neuromotor Therapy, Primitive Reflexes and Gestalt Therapy.

She stressed that it is essential to never lose sight of the innate potential of the person, which nobody knows what it is; so she encouraged us to always trust the potential of each person that comes to our centres, have faith in their capacity to develop when the conditions that we provide optimize their possibilities. The confidence of their parents, therapist, teachers and environment, will always optimize the capacity of each person.

In the following video I talk to Mrs. Domínguez about her presentation:

We were able to see on video the very good results obtained in three cases, based on work, motivation, time and confidence in the potential of the person, applying the therapies of different professionals in a complementary way so that the development of the nervous system was global.

We saw the development in language, reading and writing of two girls, one during five years, the other during three years.  In both cases it was unthinkable what they achieved according to the initial diagnosis.

The parents of the two girls authorized the use of their videos in order to show that their neurodevelopment has been possible, to the delight of all those present.

We can listen to the testimony of the two girls´ mothers, Maite and Eva, in the following videos:

The third case was María Teresa, a choir singer, who was advised to go to Mrs. Domínguez´s centre, El Angel, by her singing teacher to help her develop her voice, her harmonics and her vocal brilliance.

She began by working daily with the Moro Primitive Reflex, accompanied by APP, Neuromotor Therapy and emotional accompaniment, to help integrate it calmly.

Mari Cruz confirmed that she has repeatedly verified that primitive reflex integration is much more effective in adults when accompanied by the APP, which helps them to calm down from very deep levels.

Maria Teresa worked daily for a year, while continuing to work with her singing teacher. The results can be clearly seen in her voice.  In the following video you can see the before, during and after of this process.

Mari Cruz´s presentation was quite active and participative, showing us different exercises we can easily reproduce in our centres.  The experience was very enriching for all of us.

This year a small group of colleagues from Spain attended the conference, here we are with Jozef Vervoort at the door of Atlantis.

From left to right: Francois Naubron, from Almería, Jozef Vervoort, Lourdes Querol and Mari Cruz Domínguez, from Madrid, Tairé Paredes, from Denia, and María Antonia Crevillén, from Murcia.

Jozef & Astrid Vervoort – Soul & Heart of the Conference

I had the opportunity to interview Jozef Vervoort about the Conference and future projects, and this is what he says:

Interview with Jozef Vervoort

Also I interviewed Astrid Vervoort, where she talks about the new book on the Tomatis Method that has just been published, and her plans for a new book on Atlantis, one of the largest Tomatis centers in the world.

Interview with Astrid Vervoort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book has been published by Young Digital Planet (YDP), a Polish company that in 2005 became involved in the introduction of the Tomatis Method in schools throughout the country.

I had the pleasure to meet the group of therapists from Poland – here in the picture I am with the four of them and with Sonja from the Tomatis center near Stockholm -, and to speak with Magdalena Raciniewska – the second from the right -, president of the Polish Assotiation Mamy Glos, who talked to me about the “Tomatis Polish story”.

Magda told me that the assotiation, founded this year, is called Mamy Glos for its double meaning: “mother voice” and “we have a voice”.  Its goal is to respond to the needs of Tomatis therapists on how to keep the highest quality in using mother´s voice, and to offer professional advice, training and monitoring of quality of work.  The Association realizes its goals by the cooperation with Mozart-Brain-Lab, thanks to Jozef Vervoort´s recommendation.

There are different Tomatis Method training schools in Poland but only Jozef Vervoort´s training uses mother´s voice in the therapy, so Mamy Glos welcomes therapists from other schools to join them in order to help children in early intervention.

I found the development of Tomatis therapy in Poland very interesting at different levels and for that reason I would like to share it.

Magda was working for YDP in the Department of Special Educational Needs (SEN) when in 2005 YDP delivered to 200 institutions all over Poland equipment for the diagnosis and training of auditory attention based on the Prof. Alfred Tomatis method. It was a huge, global project because until today, no other Ministry of National Education or any other medical institution has been involved in the implementation of this method and in equipping so many schools. The medical partner in the project was the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, responsible for the fundamental support and training of therapists.

In 2009, YDP decided to verify whether the equipment was being used efectively and whether the method was being applied correctly. Unfortunately, it turned out that in numerous schools the therapy was not being implemented due to: lack of school hours for therapists, the absence of a trained therapist, the inability to operate the equipment or simply reluctance to use the equipment because of its value, and the lack of the necessary support.

So in 2010, YDP invited primary schools and special education institutions to participate in a project funded by the European Union called “Attention! The Way to Success “. The main condition for participating in the project was having the Tomatis Method equipment.

Magda coordinated the evaluation of the project, framed within the Human Capital Operational Programme, whose objective was to introduce the Innovative Teaching Programme in the first grade of Primary School and then to continue until the third grade.

It was when they contacted Mozart-Brain-Lab, and with the collaboration of Jozef Vervoort they began to train therapists to apply the Tomatis Method correctly.

The project was carried out for three years in selected classes. During this time, the participating institutions received the support needed to increase the efficiency of working with SEN students.  In addition to receiving the Innovative Teaching Program they also received teaching aids, equipment for logo rhythmic classes and the opportunity to train one person in the Tomatis Method.

The experience of those three years showed that this was the right direction and attitude to education at the primary level.  In the case of children with dysfunctions, the application of the Tomatis Method was especially significant, as shown by studies conducted during the project, and by the opinions of teachers, parents and the children themselves.

Prof. Roman Konarski, Ph.D., of the University of Gdansk, published “The Report on the analysis of the connection between the application of the Prof. Alfred Tomatis method and the development of key competencies”

The results of the analysis were based on the results of psychometrical analyses of Key Competencies Test in the first years of basic school.

During four waves of measurements, 1333 children from 62 basic schools (public, with integration classes, special) from all over Poland participated in the examination. 776 children were classified to receive the Tomatis Method.  Each child who participated was classified into the following groups:

1. Students with special education needs (not in the norm) and given the Tomatis method.

2. Students with special education needs (not in the norm) and not given the Tomatis method.

3. Students without special education needs (in the norm) and given the Tomatis method.

4. Students without special education needs (in the norm) and not given the Tomatis method.

The following table shows the positive influence of the application of the Tomatis Method, especially in those children with dysfunctions – this can be seen in the right column.

Currently Magda is the Head of the R&D department at Edventure Research Lab, and is responsible for the project “DreamLab”, where they support special education kindergartens and offer Tomatis Therapy to children with autism every day for free. The project is also supported by Mamy Głos and Mozart-Brain-Lab.

Jozef travels to Poland every year and for 6 weeks offers training and supervision of programs in schools.

And finally, Magda very kindly has produced the following video of the 7th International APP Conference.

Thank you so much to Magdalena Raciniewska, Jozef Vervoort, Astrid Vervoort and Didier Punie.

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