Subject: PLEASE Help me help him communicate! (Tomatis?)
I have recently become care worker for an 18 year old down-syndrome man with severe-profound intellectual disability. Up to 4 years ago he had a few words, 'mum', 'dad', 'play' etc. but he has lost all vocal communication. He has simple sign language and PECS. His mother sent him to speech therapy when he was younger but could not afford the cost and the school he is in has failed to provide the service to the level required. He has autism and also query dyspraxia. I have an excellent rapport with him and am able to encourage him to make vocal noises into a microphone but otherwise he remains silent. I came across Tomatis Therapy and it appeared like a good option for him but after reading your article I am having second thoughts. I would be extremely grateful if you could help me out and suggest alternative therapies I could try with David. Do you feel that there is any possibility that Tomatis therapy could benefit David? Any assistance in this matter would be really appreciated.
Tomatis is a good program but I don't think that should be your starting point. I think you live in the UK? There are many HANDLE® practitioners in the UK. Go to www.handle.org for more info and a directory of UK clinicians. They can do a comprehensive assessment and tell you so much about his brain function. They will give you very concrete and fun activities to do with him to improve the quality of his life. They might suggest Tomatis or another listening therapy as well. You might also want to read The Fabric of Autism by Judith Bluestone.