Motor Development Delay
People commonly think the ear is a sort of microphone that picks up sounds more or less passively. In fact the ear is vital for both physical and emotional development from the embryonic stage.
The development of the ear starts within the first few weeks of the fetus’ s life and is functional at 4 ½ months of prenatal life (i.e. starts to perceive sounds).
There are two parts in the inner ear which work together and make a unique organ: the vestibular apparatus and the cochlea.
The vestibular apparatus monitors the interaction between the body and the environment, whether static or dynamic. It also provides the necessary stimulation so that the cortex will be bombarded with sufficient informational "bits" to ensure optimal development of the organism. In other words, it acts as a generator supplying the nervous system with the energy it requires. This is why it has a very important role in the foetus’ development, its role starts during the embryonic stage by introducing the structuralisation of the entire nervous system.
Another function of the vestibular apparatus, which is both pre and postnatal , is to control and to give the feeling of a "body image". Every single muscle of the body informs and receives information from the vestibule apparatus. The desire to listen will induce a good listening posture which is resulting in a good verticality.
Once this role is well integrated, the cochlea starts functioning. The cochlea’s function is to perceive and analyse the sounds (thus language). It is especially stimulated by high frequency sounds and will also bombard the cortex with a great amount of energy. The cochlea will be fully functioning only when the vestibular apparatus maintains a good motor control i.e. balance, verticality, co-ordination, energy. In other words, man needs a full motor integration (or control) in order to not only hear, but to start listening.
Children with motor delay physically can hardly listen, or it requires a tremendous effort that cannot be maintained for more than a few seconds or minutes. It is like imagining oneself trying to listen to a conference in a boat rolling around on a raging sea.
Over the last 30 years, many children have greatly benefited from Tomatis Sound Therapy. This treatment consist of stimulation of the ears via the Electronic Listening Device: a set of headphones and an electronic device which filters sound in such a way the ears are re-trained to function properly, without distortion.
Through the sound therapy, these children improve their muscle tone and posture (head posture, sitting and standing up posture) as well as their balance and co-ordination.
In parallel with the motor progress, the ability to listen increases i.e. concentration, attention discrimination of the sounds, etc... This allows the child to start repeating the sounds as he perceives them clearly for the fist time in his life. This results in opening the door to language and communication.