Talk by Lillemor Clark - Barnet Dyslexia Association in 2005(Previously printed in the Corona Group Newsletter)
Both my children and I have had Tomatis and I felt I wanted to contribute something about myself. Tomatis changed my life and I just want the world to know about it.
So many people would benefit. I keep reading and hearing comments from parents:
“He does not seem to hear what I am saying”. An audiologist may well have declared that the child has normal hearing, because Tomatis is not part of his training. An assessment with a Tomatis therapist is likely to show an uneven hearing profile, i.e. the child hears some frequencies too well, and others not well enough. Tomatis could make a lot of difference to children with ADHD, for example, some of whom are bombarded with sound.
There are only two therapists in this country, and one in Scotland. They have all trained in the Lewes Listening Centre. This was set up by Alex Smith, Tomatis himself and Patrick de la Roque. Patrick has left to set up a centre in his native country. I will include him in case anyone would like to combine a holiday in France.
The Listening Centre, Lewes 01273474877
The Listening (Voice, Music &Language) Centre, London
0207 359 5268
Glasgow Listening Centre
Patrick de la Roque
Centre de L’Ecoute du Language, Toulouse 033561 554549
It is important to realise that there are offshoots of Tomatis like Auditory Integration, sound therapy and CDs you can buy, however they are not the same. Unlike for these, there is a lengthy training for Tomatis therapists, and the equipment which is patented, is only available to Tomatis trained therapists.
Only Tomatis Therapy goes up to 9000 Kilohertz, which is what the baby in the womb hears through muscle, water and via the spinal column when the mother speaks. Hearing mother speak, according to Tomatis, is what makes the baby want to be born and communicate with the mother, which is initially with the left ear. Baby should then want to communicate with father and the rest of the world, and become right ear dominant. This does not always happen. Trauma can interfere with this process, and you remain left ear dominant as I was. It took Tomatis and 58 years later to make me right ear dominant.
Another difference is bone hearing, which is an essential part of Tomatis, without bone hearing the effect will not be as effective and will not last.
My children and I are dyslexic. My son was also depressed, so I decided to find out about Tomatis by doing it for his sake. He then did it, and my daughter could see the changes in both of us, and then she did it too.
Tomatis changed my life. It gave me a sense of self. One day during the treatment I suddenly started to myself “I am Swedish, I am Swedish” all day. I told Ella, the therapist, and she said “the same thing happened to me when I did it. I now know who I am and I am happy with who I am”
I started having clear thoughts, instead of operating through a fog of confusion and delays, which is what the left ear dominant person has to put up with. My memory improved. My posture improved. My handwriting improved. I became more assertive and confident. I started to know what day it is. I even started to know my left from right.
At the Listening (Voice, Music& Language) Centre in Highbury, London, you can choose to do a language or singing. Languages are all spoken at different frequencies. With the appropriate frequency for a language in you ears, you can acquire the pronunciation of a native, provided you already have some knowledge of the language.
I decided to have fun and just do singing. During the course of therapy, I had the surprise of my life. I was told I had a singing voice. I had no idea. I was completely elated. This happened to me just as I was about to retire. It was like the most amazing present had landed in front of my feet. I am now in two singing classes and a choir.
My hearing is not very good, but it improved fractionally with Tomatis. I do not ask people to repeat as often as I used to do.
Many famous singers and performers like Maria Callas and Gigli have consulted Dr. Tomatis. Singers are not always likely to tell the world, which is a pity, so Tomatis is still like a big secret – although in France there are many centres as well as in the U.S Canada and Mexico, Australia, and Europe. The therapists do no promotion. They are too busy with their clients. I do what I can because I feel so strongly that there are so many people who would benefit. Tomatis should be available in hospitals and schools, but when audiologists have never heard of it…speech therapists have never heard of it…teachers do not show a lot of interest in the underlying problems of dyslexia etc., it will take time. Mary Troup has made a start. Her Listening Centre is funded by the health board.
In the Barnet Dyslexia association, we have had two speakers on Tomatis, and several have contributed articles in our newsletter, of which I am the editor. Several of our association have done the therapy, and I will just quote two of them;
“Tomatis achieves in a few weeks what it takes in years of psychotherapy” “Tomatis makes you know what you want to do and what you do not want to do.”
Tomatis is a treatment for a number of conditions. It deals with vertigo, and some people find their tinnitus relieved. It is reported that autistic children become more affectionate with their parent. Then there is dyspraxia and depression. It is also reported that Tomatis could help with epilepsy, brain damage, stoke, Down syndrome and Parkinson’s. Stammering and speech problems can also be treated. Tomatis is not a cure. In the case of dyslexia, it does not teach how to read and write. It improves your auditory perception, your balance and coordination AND how you feel about yourself. With improved self esteem, you can deal better with what ever the education system throws at you.
The relevant books are:
The Conscious Ear by Alfred A Tomatis
The Ear and the Voice by Alfred A Tomatis
“Porquois Mozart” and many others by Tomatis not translated into English
When Listening Comes Alive by Paul Madaule
“Depardieu” by Paul Chutkow
The biography of Gerard Depardieu has quite a big section on Tomatis.
I will quote Depardieu,
“ Alfred Tomatis opened me up to language. Before Tomatis, I could not complete any of my sentences. It was he who helped give continuity to my thoughts, and it was he who gave me the power to synthesize and understand what I was thinking”
Listening for Wellness by Pierre Sollier
Tomatis is also mentioned in Super Learning
Upside- Down Brilliance – Visual – Spatial Learner by Linda Kreger Silverman
This is not about Tomatis, although Linda Silverman has a listening centre in the organisation.
It deals with why brilliant people can appear stupid. It has wonderful chapters on intuition and introversion, as well as dealing with the difference between right brain dominant people and left brain dominant: something the education system needs to take on board to be able to deal with people with alternative ways of learning.
I once asked Ella if when she assessed people, she came across anyone who would not benefit from Tomatis. She said that would be a rare person. Want to give yourself an amazing present? Do Tomatis. Then tell the world.