"TIME is the key to everything"
I would like to share with you my 10 years of experience with the Tomatis Method, not as a Professional (which was much shorter), but as a mother.
Eleven years ago, I decided to become a foster mother (a family that temporarily takes a child into their home to prevent him or her from growing up in a specialized institution). It was supposed to be for 2 years at first, but given his backwardness and behavior, I quickly realized that I would be a mommy forever.
Here, in a nutshell, are the difficulties my son had at the age of 8:
Motor retardation, low muscle tone, he started walking only after the age of 3, he could not jump, swim, or ride a bike. He didn't like swings or slides and was very afraid of movement.
With delayed speech, he spoke very little, didn't understand well, was afraid to communicate and always told people he saw: "What'd you eat today? What’s your favorite football team?"
Cognitively, he didn't know his letters and numbers. Lack of attention and learning memory, but a huge emotional and sensory memory.
Emotionally, one has to imagine a child who was separated from his parents at the age of three, as well as from his brother and placed in a juvenile home for two years. He went to live with a cousin for a while and then returned to a juvenile home. And overnight, he was asked to get along with a stranger (I was alone when I took him in). Literally a bombshell.
For months, I couldn't understand what was going on. Until the day I heard about the Tomatis Method. It was at a conference where primitive reflexes, sensory integration and optometry were also discussed. At the end of the conference, I raised my hand and said: "how do we go about all that?" And that's how we started in 2011. I don't want to go into too much detail here.
But all I can tell you as a mother is that TIME has been the key to everything.
In the summer of 2011, I did a program of three Tomatis analog sessions. There are sessions in which he and I listened together, and I have seen how Tomatis has helped him release his pain. He was very aggressive towards me too. These sessions have been a trying experience for him, but I am glad I did them because I saw that he was making both small and huge improvements. I would like to share with you a drawing he made during one of those terrible crises. I was in tears and wondering what was going on.
It was then that he began his first osteopathic sessions.
During the first session, I couldn't do anything with him, because five minutes earlier, we had come face to face with his older brother in the street who I didn’t know, and he spent an hour crying; he was inconsolable. I discovered he had a language that I had to learn to decipher.
The next time, we were able to do the osteopathy session in the place where he was born. And everything started to change.
We had reflex and optometric vision therapy. It was an hour's drive to get there and he often fell asleep on the way. One day, when he woke up, he made this drawing that I'm showing you today.
How could I possibly doubt that these techniques actually stimulate the brain?
In 2012, we did another 3 Tomatis sessions.
In 2015, we switched to the digital version of the Tomatis Method. It was the first time that I tested this new format.
At the end of 2016, I followed the Tomatis level 1 training program (I am about to do level 2 soon). I took the opportunity to practice, and in 2017 we did two new sessions. But that was all for that year, since his adolescence had begun and being both a mother and a therapist became more complicated.
Now that he's 18, I talk to him and make him realize that he still has some progress to make in order to speak more fluently. He has the most difficulty in stressful situations. This has made him totally autonomous and now he controls his sessions, his schedule, his breaks between sessions. And seeing him handle everything all by himself, ALONE, sometimes makes me realize how far we've come. He has become his own therapist.
I have not yet made a list of the progress that he made with the method. But I will just name the areas in which he has made or continues to make progress, in the order of their importance:
Building his identity. These 10 years of practicing the method have allowed him to be reborn, and gradually retrace the entire path of a newborn baby. The first summer with Tomatis, he came into my arms like a baby who wanted to breastfeed. We had to help him build his brain, his identity. I know there are things that I haven't done right. I was told about the park, but the pressure to teach him numbers and letters prevailed over the park. That was a terrible mistake.
During these very trying sessions, we began to develop a deep and healthy bond of affection, which allowed us to build our family. We have forged a wonderful bond. And it also allowed him to integrate into my family and truly become a member of it.His relationship with his biological family is peaceful and I am most proud of the relationship that he enjoys with his brother today.
He has healed each of the emotional wounds of this traumatic childhood, and he continues to do so, like in his last Tomatis session in which he somatized and released his emotions through diarrhea while thinking of his biological mother. The Method confronts us with blocking emotions. It is not an easy process, but it is a necessary one.
He has developed autonomy, communication skills, empathy, and understanding of others which I find impressive.
You're probably wondering how things turned out academically? No one ever figured out what was going on. No one ever understood that the emotional work, the creation of our relationship and the repairing of relationships with his family was his weekly job. That if he were afraid that I would abandon him, his hippocampus would never go at the rhythm that was imposed on him, and that no matter how many hours he spent studying, he had to wait until he was 9 years old to start reading. The brain has its own rhythm. He needed more time, which of course the education system does not provide.
And that’s why I am telling you all this, because Tomatis is still effective after 10 years. My son was impressed with the last two sessions: they helped him a lot to improve his language, to build his sentences and ideas better and faster, he feels more confident when he speaks, and he is looking forward to seeing what the next session will bring him.
Now that I can focus on my work, I know that what I need to work with parents the most is consistency and endurance. This system overwhelms us to make immediate and colossal changes in our children. When there are few limitations it may be possible, but most of the time the brain needs to be calm to get into this process. You have to learn to take advantage of every small change, which will then open the door to bigger changes, and so on. Tomatis is a wonderful journey companion, and we can use this method from time to time to give new impetus to these little beings in the making.
At Christmas, many children came to our house to do the Method. We are already starting to notice changes, and that gives us great joy. In my center, we have a holistic approach, and the children receive other treatments that complement the work of Tomatis, reflexes, sensory stimulation and laterality, osteopathy, kinesiology and in many cases the parents also do therapy.
With that, I leave you here and I don’t want to forget to thank Alfred Tomatis and all the professionals who have continued his work.
I am now excited to go to Level 2 to learn more.