We first noticed a problem when our child was two years old. We took him to a birthday party and the contrast against similar age children was stark. While the other children we’re interactive, responsive and having fun, my child spent his time at the party staring into space. We had him tested and he was diagnosed with a receptive and expressive speech delay. By the time he was three years old, the disparity was even more pronounced, even with almost a year of speech therapy.

Among his more prominent problems was a receptive delay in speech, which showed delayed processing time and response to verbal prompts. We learned he was in this socially isolated state partially because he was not processing language that was spoken to him. Being our child did not process speech well, this meant he would become even more socially isolated as he got older. We also were very concerned about his future in school and were wondering how he would be able to compete with the other students and take instruction from his teachers with his apparent deficit.

We did a lot of research and came across a variety of therapies, one being Tomatis Listening Therapy to address this aspect of his problems. My husband is a physician and was very skeptical because he thought all our child would be doing is listening to music. He did a lot of research on his own and there were enough studies supporting Tomatis to give it a try.

The physicians we have been working with highly recommended The Listening Center, so we enrolled our child in the program. Rather than judge efficacy by test results, we deem the functional outcome the most relevant metric. We noticed a temporal relationship between the Swain method and a marked decrease in his receptive delays as well as a decrease in echolalia and repetitive answers. Both my husband and I agree out of all the therapies we have tried in recovering our son, The Listening Center’s technique has been among the most effective therapy by far.

My child is currently expressing himself more clearly and is comfortable when he speaks. He seems to have more confidence in his ability to express himself. His verbal expression is more fluent with clearer sounds and more expression in his voice and face. He went from being very echolalic and speaking in three word commands to full conversational sentences with abstract thinking. Incredible! He also has had a marked improvement in recalling things from the past and making connections with events and people. We also noticed he has better control over his emotions and became a more relaxed and calm child. There has been a huge improvement in his listening and he is able to process and understand instructions. He responds a lot quicker and is more engaged with his peers. Best news of all, he is in mainstream school now and excelling with the rest of his peers. He is social, more engaged and really loves school.

Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Shaughnessy

Dear Dr. Swain and Staff

Cameron, our second son, is a sweet boy who had a history of ear infections resulting in hearing problems. Fortunately there was no permanent damage and early intervention of speech therapy seemed to address his expressive language problems. However, once Cameron started school we noticed how he struggled with spoken and silent reading. He was easily tired and became irritable due to the difficulties school activities presented. We noticed that Cameron had trouble organizing his speech. These recent problems concerned us. After investigating several therapy options, we decided to try The Tomatis Method Listening Program.

Cameron is profoundly changed since completing The Tomatis Method Listening Program. Gone is the shy classroom speaker, who was afraid to read aloud. Gone is the unsure and tentative boy, uncertain whether he understands directions. Cameron has blossomed into an articulate, outspoken, engaging boy who confidently leads class discussions, helps others with reading and loves going to school.

As a family we have grown closer and more relaxed as Cameron’s confidence and happiness have increased. We believe The Tomatis Method is paramount in Cameron’s newfound success. Thank you for dedication and caring in providing The Tomatis Method for Cameron. It is a remarkable gift you and your staff have given to us and we are so very grateful.

Jennifer Foster

I am so grateful to Dr. Swain for recommending and offering The Tomatis Method for my six-year-old son. He was identified as having an auditory language processing disorder as a result was having significant difficulty learning to read and spell in school. After completing the first two weeks of The Tomatis Method, his teacher informed me that he had made marked improvements in not only reading and spelling but also with concentration, attention, focusing and task completion. After completing The Tomatis Method, he is now reading at grade level and is much happier and confident.

-Alice Rowan

My son, Greg, was seven years old when he participated in The Tomatis Method. During the first week he became significantly more talkative and able to communicate his thoughts in detail, which he could not do before. His sense of humor improved and he started to challenge me about things that, in the past, he would have simply accepted without question. His coordination improved significantly and his clumsiness disappeared. Simply put, he began acting like a “normal” 1st grade boy. He has just finished the 2nd grade and is in the top reading group and scores 100% on every spelling test.

Thank You Tomatis!!!!!!!!!!!

-Gail Chobotov

Our 12-year-old daughter, Alexa, was born eleven weeks premature. As an infant she suffered a stroke and later underwent two open heart surgeries. She also suffered from chronic ear infections. As a result of these problems she had serious learning problems. When she started The Tomatis Method program, as a sixth grader, she was reading at the third grade level and her auditory processing skills were in the 1st percentile. After The Tomatis Method she was reading at the 7th grade level and her auditory processing skills were in the 60th percentile. We are so grateful for The Tomatis Method-a miracle for our child.

-Harry and Judy Coffey

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of a parent’s journey through life with a special needs child is the learned hopelessness. This type of hopelessness is born from promises of interventions that don’t work or result in very little progress. Out of necessity we have become parents who look at every suggested intervention with great caution. We approached Dr. Swain and The Tomatis Method Listening Program with that same caution. After researching The Tomatis Method on the internet, speaking with professionals in the field of Auditory Language Processing Disorders and meeting with Dr. Swain, we were ready to take a chance. However, nine years of providing for our son kept us skeptical.

Ross is a child with severe deficits in the area of auditory processing as well as other learning challenges. We were looking for any improvement that would help him. Changes started occurring slowly once Ross began The Tomatis Method. During the first block of the program our son reported to us that he could hear his own voice in his head, something he had never done before. We were thrilled and astonished. I cried at this major break through and felt like maybe, just maybe, this was going to actually work. Through the subsequent blocks Ross showed area of improvement, but nothing like what was to come at the end of the third block. Approximately two weeks after the end of his final session we started noticing huge changes. Ross was singing and humming, something he had never done. He could accurately follow longer more complicated sets of directions. People were commenting on the clarity of his speech. He was able to carry on phone conversations and be understood. Over the past several years, Ross had become increasingly inactive, choosing to spend free time in front of video games or playing his Gameboy. We have seen a continual increase in his activity level; he regularly asks to go to the park or play ball with his dad. Food has always been an issue. Ross has never eaten more than a hand full of items. Amazingly, he has begun trying new foods. It is not an exaggeration to say he has tripled his food repertoire (which now includes sushi) in a very short time. His general performance in school has improved noticeably and he has a greater tolerance for his own errors.

My husband and I are still amazed over the effects The Tomatis Method Listening Program has had on our son. This has been the single greatest intervention provided to Ross and we are grateful to Dr. Swain and her staff for providing it. We could not be more pleased!

-Mary Anne McCarthy

Dr. Deb Swain
The Swain Center

Dear Deb:

I just wanted to let you know how grateful we are that The Swain Center exists. After Brian’s rounds of chemotherapy, we did not know what to expect in regards to the damage it would do to his growing brain. You were the only one able to pinpoint his learning problems and then provide the necessary treatment to help Brian overcome his difficulties. Thank God you have brought The Tomatis Method to Sonoma County. We are truly blessed to have this resource so close to us.

Thank you and thank all your staff for this “miracle” solution!

Sara Warne
Brian’s Mom

Our little boy, now four, had suffered from ear infections, which resulted in hearing loss and major speech delay. Once the cold season began he would regress since 8 out of 10 colds turned into ear infections. On October 31, 2000 he experienced a particular severe ear infection that left him with a perforated ear drum. Within 10 days he reverted so dramatically that he stopped speaking English (2 word phrases) and went back to his imaginary language. A second ear surgery was performed and we started seeing Dr. Swain 3 days a week for an intense speech therapy program.

After 8 months he had made remarkable progress, but we had reached a plateau. Dr. Swain suggested we try The Tomatis Method Auditory Stimulation program. There were three sections, where by our son participated five days a week for two-hour sessions. By the end of the first session we had noticed a big improvement in our son’s behavior. Up to that point he would become easily angered whenever one did not comprehend what he was trying to communicate. The Tomatis Method program seemed to help him focus on a task for a longer period of time. Even now the sound of classical music has a very obvious calming effect on him. At the conclusion of the program we felt that out son had made a quantum leap forward and a more focused round of speech therapy could be implemented.

-Joy Z Koch

We chose The Tomatis Method therapy to help our son with his sound sensitivity problems. He could not stand to be in the same room if we were running appliances such as the blender or vacuum. After he completed the therapy, his sensitivity to loud sounds diminished remarkably and his performance in school improved. He is now in a regular education classroom without the assistance of an aide. He is achieving above average grades and his social skills have improved due to his ability to communicate at an age appropriate level.

The Tomatis Method therapy was one treatment that helped our son achieve results quickly and surpass the goals we established prior to treatment.

-Dr, & Mrs. Robert K. Meckstroth

My son Cole was diagnosed with a speech/language-processing problem at the age of five. One year later, through an in depth battery of tests, he was diagnosed dyslexic with a severe auditory processing problem. During this time, several educators and speech therapists, which had come into contact with our son in school, encouraged us to have him tested for ADD. Psychiatric testing confirmed he had ADD/Inattention and reluctantly I began Cole, at age seven on what became a series of nightmare medications trials to treat his ADD symptoms. One year later, two psychiatric specialists diagnosed Cole bipolar. At 8 years old, in depth psychiatric, educational and behavioral specialist evaluations of my son, revealed that my son was suffering from the following disorders – ADD/Inattention, dyslexia, dyscalculia, auditory language processing disorder, Tourettes syndrome, Asperger syndrome and bipolar disorder.

In addition to medication to manage the symptoms of these disabilities, Cole received reading remediation from one of the best private tutors in our community who specializes in working with children with ADD and learning disabilities. He also attended weekly behavior modification therapy and bi-weekly Tae-kwon do group lessons. He began reading above grade level and became an excellent speller. He continued to make some progress with his martial arts and behavior therapy. Unfortunately, Cole continued to have other academic and social problems that made it difficult for him to be in the classroom. Grasping math concepts continued to be difficult for him. His handwriting was messy, with little or no spacing between the words. Organizing his thoughts and sentences on his own was a challenge. Constant reassurance and ongoing assistance were needed to complete homework assignments. Perceived by his peers as a bully, Cole was always angry and using inappropriate language without justification. He was disruptive in the classroom and unreasonably paranoid regarding his peer’s actions towards him. His interactions with adults were inappropriate and he was difficult to reason with during a dispute with children or adults. There was also a period of time when Cole would cry uncontrollably for hours, thought of himself as a loser and would often wish he were dead. Under the medical supervision of a psychiatrist we tried various combination of prescription drugs to treat his ADD, mood disorders, and depression symptoms.

In spite of the drug interventions, therapy, tutoring, closely supervised group activities, changing schools twice and one year of home schooling thousands of dollars, hours and tears later, I could see that my child was still struggling. I reluctantly put him back in public school at age 10 in the fourth grade, with a half-heartedly prepared IEP, because we both needed a break from each other and I was becoming especially alarmed about his social introversion and attachment to me.

It was during this time that my husband and l learned about The Tomatis Method through casual conversations with two separate acquaintances on two separate occasions. Both parties described the results of this therapy as “a miracle” for their child. In both parties’ cases, their child’s classroom teachers were awestruck by the student’s social and academic progress. Skeptically, I researched The Tomatis Method on the Internet. Having already been down the road of psychiatrists, brain imaging specialists, therapists and Special Education Resources whose ideas, prescriptions and therapies were not offering any overall consistently solid and sustained results for my child, I skeptically researched the Internet for information about The Tomatis Method therapy with a lot of doubt and little faith. In my mind and heart, I jumped to the conclusion that because of the severity of my child’s auditory language processing disorder, attention deficit and mood disorder, he would fall into that tiny percentage that would not benefit from this therapy. I believed The Tomatis Method would be one more thing that gave a little improvement at a lot of cost with no long-term results or benefits.

Boy was I WRONG!!! After completing Dr. Swain’s prescribed hours of listening therapy, I was blessed with a new child. This child is focused and articulate with an unbelievable vocabulary. He is expressive, loving, and kind to others. Cole can now play board games and grasp new concepts with greater ease. He no longer shies away from social interactions because he is eager to please and be a part of the group. His handwriting and sentence structure have improved. Quick to admit his errors and slower to be so impulsive, Cole is much easier to talk and reason with when he has made a mistake. His goal orientation and success driven attitude has enabled him to complete his homework assignments independently, with more attention to detail and a lot less parental assistance. He is eager to take on new challenges and much better at following new directions. He laughs and sings all the time and is such a joy to be around. The improved appetite, fewer bad dreams and less difficulty falling asleep are just icing on the cake. The best part of all, and the greatest blessing of the “miracle” of The Tomatis Method – he is no longer on any medication and he is doing better socially and academically than he has ever been able to inside and outside of school. His older sister’s wish is that he would just stop being so loving towards his family. Mom and Dad are still speechless from the miracle.

-Connie Taylor