Having read Norman Doidge’s The Brain’s Way of Healing it has opened up my thoughts to the benefits of Listening Therapy. The book itself is not solely about that but details how a Parkinson’s sufferer has used really focused walking exercise and changing approach in how he picks up things to overcome many of the symptoms of this debilitating disease for over 20 years. There are also stories about the benefit of PoNs, device that is placed on the tongue like a lollipop that provides stimulation through to the brain – amazing gains for those with brain injuries, parkinson’s etc as well. While I’d love to get access to PoNs that is still in the clinical trial stages as some truly amazing results with balance, co-ordination and muscle strength.
However, something we can look at and that is available in New Zealand is Tomatis Listening Therapy. Wow… This chapter I read spellbound in terms of the implications not necessarily for Oscar but especially for kids with Dyslexia, ADHD and Autism. Tomatis was a French ENT who started working out the difference between listening and hearing by trying to help Opera singers get over problems they were having which were actually not based on the larynx but rather that they could no longer hear tones they once used to be able and therefore could sing the same.
There is an amazing centre in Toronto which Paul Mandaule, himself initially one of Tomastis’s clients who overcame huge issues to then become a doctor himself and to really target this therapy for others. Before I worked out there are a number of practitioner’s here then I was ready to head there with Oscar because he is so passionate and experienced in this field. You can find out more about it here http://listeningcentre.com/
However, this week I was in Nelson for a Breast Cancer Fundraiser for my sister-in-law who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer and not more than 400 metres from there house is a dutch practitioner of Tomatis that has moved to New Zealand. It was an amazing hour to talk to her about the potential and what it changes.
The base premise is that using low and high frequency interventions of both music, chanting and in a child’s case the mother’s voice as you progress retrains the listening ear. This has implications on speech, learning and is proven worth doing when learning another language as we grow up hearing the tones and frequencies of our own language which makes it harder to harder to lower tones or higher tones used in other languages. This is why it is easier to learn additional languages as children as our ears haven’t already focused on set range of frequencies. All that is interesting in and off itself to me in the context of our translation business.
The process is one where they customise what the child or adult is to listen to and then they listen to this for about 2 hours a day which a headset that is cordless and allows them to do it as they play, eat, etc. The original Tomatis approach only uses the headset but a psychiatrist whose daughter had fetal alcohol syndrome Ron Minson created a new approach called iLS that uses both some gross motor functions as well as the listening. This centre is in Denver and their website is Integrated Listening.
There is also an active centre that operates in Auckland and Tauranga run by Rosemary Murphy called Develop Learning and I have had a detailed discussion with her about the benefits for Oscar.
The hard thing is they benefit from its use 5 times a week and it can be done at home but there are sessions with the higher frequency part of the programme that needs to be done in the centre.
The therapy itself makes a lot of sense to Grant and I based on his knowledge of music and tone and how the brain can change. I know we will be factoring this in for Oscar but it might be for us given we are heading to Denver in November for a few weeks that we get underway there at Integrated Listening and then come back to the the centre in Tauranga/Auckland for the next phase as it does work in phases.