Teves: All ears for the Tomatis method

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By Janette Huang-Teves

Mom-About-Town

Friday, October 28, 2011


ALTHOUGH she is a dentist by training and profession, Dr. Gina Diaz-Cembrano felt that being a preschool teacher will enable her to touch the lives of her young students and their families. In the process, she also hoped to understand her own kids better and become a more effective mother.

So, when her contract as a health center dentist expired in 2001, she gladly accepted the invitation of her friend who owned a well-known Davao preschool to work as a kindergarten teacher.

“After graduation, I tried teaching college students. However, teaching children is entirely new, unfamiliar but fun. The first year was like groping in the dark, but I really took it as a challenge,” recounts Gina, who is married to fellow dentist Dr. Eric Cembrano. She and Eric are blessed with three wonderful children, Dia, Matthew and Jose III.

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Slowly, Gina started to discover that she possessed other gifts and talents that she wasn’t previously aware of. “I then felt that I still have more to give in this field. Teaching was like swimming carefree,” she enthuses.

What made the experience more challenging was that Gina was at the same time enrolled in a 2-year Community Health Masteral Program under a scholarship grant.

Eventually, Gina became so passionate with her field that she decided to finish 3 more units in teaching so as to qualify for the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET). She passed the LET with flying colors in 2010.

Dealing with learning disabilities

“While I was teaching preschool, I noticed that children with conditions and learning disabilities are increasing in number every year. I found it alarming and was quite disturbed by it. I was thinking how I will assist the kids and their respective families,” Gina says.

It was also during this time that Gina’s son was diagnosed to have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

“When my son was diagnosed to have ADHD, a particular medicine was prescribed to him to improve his focus and attention. However, when he refused to take the meds, I chose his position and promised to study as much as I can about the disorder,” Gina recalls.

At first, Gina tried to seek the help of a therapist but when she and her son were made to wait for a vacant slot just for an appointment, the frustrated mom was extremely disappointed and had enough.

“I ultimately decided that I will be the one personally to help my son. I even thought of putting a therapy center in the future to serve other families going through the same predicament,” Gina shares.

Gina’s U.S.-based friend suggested that she consider the Tomatis method. In another occasion, a relative from Manila also mentioned that her child who had learning disabilities was enrolled in the Tomatis method and has shown remarkable improvements.

Curious, Gina started searching the internet and found the Tomatis Philippines website. She e-mailed the owners and was referred to the person who trained them, a French psychologist and registered and certified Tomatis consultant Francoise Nicoloff.

“And, the rest is history,” Gina smiles warmly.

Last week, Gina opened the I Listen Enhancement Center for Maximum Learning, a center that provides the Tomatis effect, the first of its kind in Davao City.

Good learners are good listeners

The Tomatis method is guided by the principle that “good learners are good listeners". It was discovered by French doctor Alfred A. Tomatis, an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) specialist.

Dr. Tomatis pioneered the study of auditory processing and language development, laying the groundwork for a new multi disciplinary science called Audio Psycho Phonology (APP). His work explains why the way we listen has a profound impact on almost all aspects of our being.

Gina explains that the Tomatis method is “an auditory stimulation program that is based on the interrelationship between the ear and the voice, between listening and communication. It was designed to re-awaken the ear’s natural ability to listen and ultimately stimulate the brain’s desire to communicate.” It is non-invasive, drug-free and involves no tutoring or teaching.

“The Tomatis method re-trains the listening system by using electronically modified music and language to re-educate, stimulate and improve the way in which we process auditory information,” Gina describes.

The training is provided through a highly developed technical sound system known as the Electronic Ear. Using pre-determined frequencies, it stretches and relaxes the ear muscles by fluctuating sounds between canals, where low frequencies and high frequencies are amplified. This process over time strengthens the ear muscles and improves the ability to listen.

This auditory stimulation program is applied in more than 400 private centers, schools and institutions that each year welcomes and helps more than 50,000 children, teenagers and adults in all continents.

All ears for the Tomatis method

Gina points out that “globally, among the most observed common problems or challenges in our societies are the inability to handle emotions that are affected by our listening and communication skills, memory and attention; and how the brain processes the information.”

In Davao City, she observes that we are confronted with the same problem, which affects directly or indirectly our relationships with our families, performance at school and workplaces.

Gina proudly reveals that the “Tomatis method has been successful in addressing the needs of children diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, autism, dyslexia, speech delays/speech problems, motor skill and other sensory integration problems.”

“Tomatis works well in conjunction with occupational therapy, sensory integration, speech therapy and all natural therapies. They are all complementary,” she adds.

In addition, even school children with no diagnosed disorder but need improved focus, attention and listening skill can likewise benefit from an available standard program dubbed as ‘Brain Gain with No Pain’.

The Tomatis method also claims to have helped adults fight depression, learn foreign languages faster, develop better communication skills, and improve both creativity and on-the-job performance.

In fact, many musicians, singers and actors found the program helpful in fine-tuning their artistic skills. These clients include the opera singer Maria Callas, French actor Gerard Depardieu, and musician Sting.

The 60-hour program is split into two phases: Phase 1 (2 hours/day for 15 days) followed by rest for one month and a half; Phase 2 (2 hours/session) with Pre and Post Assessment and Daily Monitoring for Improvement/Observations.

“The results obtained with the Tomatis method are long-lasting, even permanent, and consequently, it is often not necessary to extend the sessions beyond the initial course though sometimes, for certain problematic cases, extending the program will be advised,” Gina concludes.

Thanks to the love and dedication of this dentist turned teacher, our children’s ears can not only hear but most importantly, experience “well-tuned listening,” bringing significant and improved changes in their lives.

The I Listen Enhancement Center for Maximum Learning is located at 3rd Floor FTC Tower, Mt. Apo St., Davao City with telephone number 3015082.

As an introductory offer, the I Listen Enhancement Center for Maximum Learning will be giving special discounts depending on the number of enrollees per family.

For more information, log on to www.tomatis.com.

E-mail the author at mom.about.town.dvo@gmail.com. Visit www.momabouttowndavao.blogspot.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 29, 2011.

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