For parents, the news that their child has an autism spectrum disorder sounds like a sentence. What do you do? Where do you seek help? How do you communicate? Luckily there is an Autism Support Centre in Rēzekne which has been active for eight years already and can offer advice as well as real help. This year, the new Tomatis method has been introduced, which is already helping a little boy from Kārsava.
Irina Lipska-Leļa lives in a village not far from Kārsava and is raising her son Emīls who has an autism spectrum disorder. The boy is now 7.5 years old, but he still does not speak, and Irina is constantly looking for new opportunities to help him.
– We may have been the first to use this method. I didn’t know about it before. There are three sessions, and we are already in the second one. We completed the first session in May, which had lasted for two weeks, two hours a day. Each child on the autism spectrum has their own special features. After the therapy, Emīls started to understand better what he is told. Before, when I asked him to do something, he would look at me and wouldn’t understand, but now he reacts immediately and perceives information better, – Irina shares her thoughts.
The woman notes that changes are noticeable to a naked eye. The session has also affected the child’s development, his ability to understand and his motor functions, and he has become calmer.
– We are now in the second session, and I hope that my son will start speaking. We are really hoping for it, – says Irina.
About the method
The Tomatis method was designed at the beginning of the 1950s by a French otolaryngologist Alfred Tomatis, and it is based on the conclusion that the human ear performs two functions: the passive one – hearing, and the active one – perceiving useful information and ignoring useless information. Even if a child has normal hearing, it is not guaranteed that their brain is able to process the information it receives. Children with autism, dyslexia, Down syndrome, and alalia often have auditory information processing disorder.
To stimulate the brain, a unique sound processing device has been created which allows achieving a shift from low to high frequencies and vice versa. During the training, the child is listening to music and voices in headphones, and at the same time they can draw, create something from modelling clay, or play.
Tomatis in Rēzekne
The society “Autism Support Centre in Rēzekne” was founded by Edgars Šilins and Sandra Bičkova-Šilina. When Sandra was researching different opportunities to help her son Markus, she found out about the clinic “Prognoz Med” in St. Petersburg. The Society has formed tight cooperation with the clinic, which allowed sending children from Latvia to St. Petersburg for rehabilitation. Whereas the employees of the Autism Support Centre in Rēzekne were able to learn from leading specialists.
This year, the latest device for audio and vocal work based on the Tomatis method was delivered to Rēzekne.
– There is currently no other such method available in Latvia. In Rīga, the method has already been used for ten years, but their device is old and does not produce the desired effect. We have the latest equipment. Our specialist has completed a two weeks’ training course in St. Petersburg where he received both theoretical and practical training, – says E. Šilins.
It is noteworthy that the description of the method states that first results are noticeable in a few weeks or even days after the beginning of the session, whereas deeper changes happen slower. But, most importantly, the results achieved last for a long time and the therapy itself is completely safe for the child.