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Thomas' Story

Written by Patricia Cunningham (Thomas' mom)

Thomas was six when he starting his listening training and now he is almost nine. Our journey began when Thomas started school. Before that we thought he was simply precocious and full of energy. He was our first child and we didn’t realize until he started Junior Kindergarten that he approached many things differently.  He couldn’t stand in line and there was no way he could line up even to go into class. He wasn’t able to sit in circle time, struggled with fine motor issues and he refused to hold a pen. He had a really difficult time with transitions and when things didn’t go his way. He was very rigid. 

We were called into school where staff expressed their concerns. Thomas had such a hard time in Junior Kindergarten that he was reduced to half days because the school couldn’t accommodate him. He was having epic meltdowns and emotional regulation was very difficult. 

We were at a loss. Through research and seeing doctors we learned that Thomas has autism and ADHD. We were also faced with the possibility of additional learning disabilities making themselves known as Thomas moved into later grades. We started Occupational Therapy and as we explored options we discovered Dr. Doidge’s book, “The Brain’s Way of Healing”. Reading the chapter on sound therapy we hoped the listening training would at least help Thomas organize. He was so disorganized – like an erratic Energizer bunny. He had no direction – even in play. Everything was 2 seconds here and 2 seconds there and no concept of time.  

We came to the Listening Centre and within a few sessions Thomas began to relate to time differently. On the way into the Centre on one of his first days of listening he said, “Do you remember – it was raining yesterday?” Never before had he been able to refer to time correctly.  He also became more chatty. Conversation had more of a back and forth quality to it. It was more of a proper dialogue.

During break between intensives he learned how to swim. Before that he had been in private lessons for a couple years but he just couldn’t get the coordination, breathing and strokes. Bilateral movement was hard for him to organize. However, we went on vacation and all of a sudden he just started swimming.

After Thomas’ second intensive of listening Morana suggested we try to teach him to ride a bike. We did and marvelled at how quickly he learned. Within 30 minutes his training wheels had come off. This accomplishment made him feel amazing and as parents it was wonderful for us to see. 

Starting back to school in the next school year Thomas was able to sit down and focus. His handwriting improved and the changes didn’t stop. The listening kept helping him catch up and move forward. With each ‘boost’ we have always found there to be a corresponding ‘boost’ in Thomas’ organization.

That’s why we keep going – with each group of sessions he becomes more organized, more self aware, calm, and flexible.  Additionally, his ability to reason has improved significantly and he is much more able to regulate himself. His maturity level is coming and the gap is closing. Thomas is able to explain his feelings and emotions and plan things in his head before he does them. His executive functioning is so much better and to top it all off – Thomas LOVES listening. It is one of his favourite places to be. Going for listening sessions is a real treat for him. Even he feels the calming benefits and loves the way he feels during and after sessions. When he even thinks about listening you can see his love and enjoyment of listening written all over his face.  

Through my consultations with Morana I have also learned so much about Thomas - what drives him - what makes him tick - and helpful recommendations about supplementary interventions to help him grow even more.

I never thought when we started this journey – at a time when doing things like buckling up a seat belt, buttoning clothes and doing homework were impossible – that we would arrive at the place we are in now. Thomas now sits for 30 minutes or more doing homework without any enticements.  I used to be very worried about the future but now Thomas is showing me he’s more than capable. I wholeheartedly believe his listening training helped so much with all these gains and I am very thankful for it.