They say a true teacher is someone that can touch both the heart and the mind of their student - at the same time! In my experience, this makes you a true teacher.
So, my appreciation to you as being a great teacher. I walked into the room on Friday, feeling such a heaviness at the task we face each day and left with a sense of purpose and renewed enthusiasm for continuing that work. I am under no illusion that it is suddenly all “light” work but I feel empowered by the addition of depth to my knowledge, and confirmation that my instincts were right, I just needed to have the science behind them!
Thank you for teaching so well, for sharing so willingly and for doing it in such a gracious and professional way. You have the absolute balance between head and heart!
With gratitude and admiration
Sam (School principle of Montesorri School) March 29, 2015
Traveling the growth of Sam
I took my 6 year old grandson Samuel to A Total Approach last summer for two weeks after he had a turbulent first year in school and a psychological evaluation that indicated a number of deficits. Sam is an extremely bright child, but was very anxious, reactive and had attention difficulties. His social skills were lacking considerably, and he also had co-ordination and motor control issues. Most of all, Sam seemed to really see the worst in most situations, and was rarely truly happy. His world seemed very heavy.
When I reached out to Maude, we were immediately reassured. She was the first person who offered an explanation for the cause of his issues and a plan of action to help correct them. We had always gotten the impression from the other professionals that we consulted that they didn’t really “get” Sam… Maude did, before she even met him.
During our two-week stay in Philadelphia, Sam participated in IM, Tomatis, DIR Floortime and Sand therapy with OT. We noticed a difference in his attitude as early as the third day. Sam’s sense of humor began to shine, as did his willingness to help and his ability to follow instructions. Every day he looked forward to working with the staff at the center.
I remember quite clearly around day four, Sam had built a complex Lego airplane, which he brought to show me, and it fell on the floor and smashed. Before commencing work at ATA, this would have resulted in a huge meltdown that we would have had to work for hours to bring him down from. Instead, he simply acted like a typical six year old… he was upset that it broke, but he moved forward and worked past it.
When we got home, the difference in Sam was remarkable. He was lighter, and happier, and had the tools and capacity to be kinder and more helpful with his siblings. He was also no longer nearly as reactive. If he fell or hurt himself, he would simply get up and keep going whereas prior to his work at ATA he would have had meltdowns. On one occasion shortly after coming home, he was out with his brother and younger cousin, and they had only packed two cookies (Sam’s favorite). Upon realizing that either his brother or his cousin would not have a cookie, Sam offered up his, saying “I just want my brother to be happy”. After being praised for his generosity, he replied “It’s because grandma took me to this place, and they helped me.” Sam’s true personality was finally showing through.
We continue working with Sam with Maude’s guidance, and he is continuing to improve all the time. We cannot thank Maude and the staff at ATA enough for helping get Sam on the path to becoming the bright and happy child that we knew existed deep inside.
Ingrid P – Canada February 2015
25 July 2017
Discovering DIR (Floortime) was a confirmation of my natural instinct. To experience and nurture my angel naturally allowed him to shine.
I am Jamie, a mum of 2 children aged 7 and 9. It is my younger child, Taylor that has led us on this journey.
Accepting where he is at, with all his individual differences, does not mean that we do not expect him to develop. It means enjoying this very moment, this extra loooonnng phase with him and tweaking oneself, and the environment to suit this little man allowing him to feel content, happy and loved. This also allows us into his world and gives him the safe space to be a part of ours.
It is the small changes that have the greatest impact: being present, listening, the gift of our time, putting aside our own agenda, removing our ego - ingredients of a good relationship.
This has always been a part of who we were and what we believed should be the cornerstone of any teaching. Then we entered the real world of schooling (with our first child) and therapy for Taylor. It is not a good space to be in when you feel you need to settle on a system for your child. It made us uneasy and I never felt at peace.
Don’t get me wrong; we have met some really amazing therapists. They have shown us so much love and dedication. Some days they would find the just right challenge and even had him giggling. But they all wanted to move so fast, reach the next goal, and tick the next box. Working on individual components and not seeing him as a whole. Never seeing the beauty and importance of having a relationship with him.
So we kept searching and searching and discovered DIR/floortime. It resonated with my husband and myself. I signed up and started studying immediately. It was quite intimidating walking into a room filled with all skilled therapists. I am simply a mum. Nothing in my previous work or studies prepared me for this. But necessity is the mother of invention... or reinvention. I believed it was the only way to help secure my child’s future.
Completing case studies was a course requirement and what a phenomenal experience it was. Armed with these Floortime principles, I was able to have such a positive impact in the homes of the families I worked with. It was interesting that with the one family, the big change was for the child, while in the other family it was more the parents.
It was such a magical and humbling experience for me and it sealed the deal.
DIR/Floortime would need to play a central role in all our therapy.
Seeing this magic was really great and frustrating at the same time. I experienced many moments of anger and deep sadness. We now had to convince our therapists to adjust or find new ones. We needed a team and someone at the head to steer us in the right direction. So we crossed international waters and immersed ourselves in a therapy intensive at A Total Approach in Glen Mills, PA that saw Taylor as a whole. They worked as a team and in an integrated way, something we had not experienced up until that point in time. We discovered his baseline and began building from there. What we discovered was that these therapists had similar tools (and some additional) to the ones back home. It was not so much the activity they were doing, but the way they did it that was different.
I had never experienced such intense focus. It was as if the world had stopped and only the therapist and Taylor existed. They were so focused on him; I did not want to breathe or move … as if it might disturb their flow. They were comfortable with waiting while he was still processing information. They never felt the need to fill the silence or rush him.
After our time here, we headed back home and had to make the necessary adjustments for Taylors’ therapy. This was rather daunting. We now had a case manager. The team followed… no process is ever 100 percent smooth. We had our ups and downs but still felt assured in our approach.
As a mum, having studied Floortime, I could understand and speak my therapist's language while DIR provided us with a framework.
Then there was more magic to follow. Our therapists all have their areas of expertise … Occupational therapy etc. They studied Floortime at approximately the same time as I did. So adding the Floortime into the mix was new for all of us. They transformed before our eyes. Not only did therapy with my angel evolve, it changed the way they ran their practices. It changed how they related to their own spouses and children.
As for Taylor, he still has a long road ahead of him. Every day he surprises us with something new and different. My daughter told us this morning that everything with Taylor is aligning so slowly you cannot even see it … but there is always a positive change happening.
I believe that DIR/Floortime has a ripple effect, it is powerful and embracing it has enriched us all.
ATA was recommended to me by a friend who was also a therapist. Though I travelled all the way from Pakistan and had to pay airfare, hotel expenses etc, it was totally worth it. I went with realistic expectations. I was hoping to learn how to deal with my 6 year old autistic son more effectively. Not only did I learn that, I also met some of the most amazing, compassionate therapists I have ever come across. I learned the multiple positive qualities my son possesses that nobody had highlighted to me and I realised that he may not be a math prodigy, but with regular work on my part, he could come a long way. Every question of mine was answered patiently, the consultations were lengthy and informative and the staff at ATA became like family. I would go every year if I could afford it. Moreover, Maude is also available via email and for online consults, which means I can keep referring back with my queries. A huge thanks to everyone at ATA for doing the awesome job they do!
Mom from Pakistan (July 2014)
This family stayed at the Staybridge Suites, which accommodated them at a special rate (as with all ATA clients) and was in close access to fresh food markets and restaurants. Each room has kitchen facilities, which enabled the family to cook according to their own needs. The swimming pool was an added plus that he used frequently. He participated in a three-week program of 5 hours daily programming, after which DVD was sent to the family in Pakistan, which included narration from the clinical director of ATA. The family is encouraged to keep sending video footage from Pakistan for ongoing feedback to continue the work that was started. The DVD clearly depicted the progress that he had made in the short while that he was at ATA.
Maude, Angela, Anne, Janine, Leah and staff...
We are thrilled with the progress our son has made in the two years since we found A Total Approach. We made the trip from Canada 5 times in 2 years because we were looking for a DIR® clinic with a comprehensive developmental approach. Our son loves coming to play with Ms. Janine and looks forward to every visit. He even gets excited about "headphones" with friends. All of your therapists have treated our son with the utmost of respect. With each visit, you've given us such good guidance to bring out our child's highest potential. We can't thank you enough for providing these developmental approach professional services for our family that focus on intrinsic growth rather than behavioural modification!
We miss you already! Yes, really! :-)
I wanted to pass along a quick story because, well, it's what I do.
Our boy has a couple of little guys at church with whom he’s really good friends, one in particular we will call Steven. The past few weeks we haven't been able to make it to 2nd service consistently (the service Steven and his family go to), and the mid-week kids' program has ended for the summer. Due to scheduling issues, we aren't always making it to the Thursday night small group we'd been going to.
Anyway, Steven's mom saw me sometime last week during Vacation Bible School and said that Steven came downstairs one morning and said, "Mom! I had the BEST dream - “Our boy" and his family were at church when we were there, and I got to hang out with him again!” I was so touched - I knew they were good buddies, but that Steven had a dream about how great it was to see him? Amazing!
Then on Friday night, at the end of Vacation Bible School, Steven asked our boy if he’d be at church on Sunday. We were planning to go to 2nd service because Peter and the youth kids were leaving right after 2nd service for a week at camp. Our boy told Steven that we’d be at 2nd service, and there were high 5's among all the guys because they were all going to be at 2nd service.
Sunday morning - we pull in at church just as Steven and his family get there. The boys got out of the vans and immediately start talking. They even have their own special greeting and high 5 and/or fist bump. As the boys walked into church together, Steven's mom said that he came downstairs that morning and said, "MOM! I'm SO excited! He P-R-O-M-I-S-E-D he would be at 2nd service today. He's coming back to church! I'm SO excited!" (Mind you, we've been at church, we just haven't crossed paths with Steven too much.) And so the boys sat together for church, they got up on stage with all the kids when it was time to sing the VBS songs, and they played football outside together (without needing constant monitoring from an adult!) while the teens got ready to leave for camp.
Isn't that amazing? I mean, I know our boy is a great kid, but Angela, Nicole, Maude, we’ve come a LONG way, haven’t we? I mean, this isn't just him wanting to be someone's buddy or friend, this is another kid (although a year or two younger) really thinking he is amazing!
We're closing the gap on some of the things he's struggled with for so long.
Thank you. Thank you for every part of your efforts in his life.
I honestly have no idea if other families email you with updates like this, but it's important to me that you know how the things you do are translating into his life outside ATA. And you should all know that he talks about you a couple times a week - things he wants to tell you, things he remembers from sessions. He misses you.
Happy summer! Hope you are all well!
30 June, 2014
My husband and I would like to extend a very special thank you to the ATA OT team for your hard work and dedication to our son's progress this past school year. In just six months he is clearly making marvelous gains that are helping his schoolwork, social skills and daily life skills. His transition away from a traditional classroom to a cyber school was a difficult one for him, yet our entire family noticed that he has blossomed. Your DIR-approach, along with your sweet and compassionate ways and top-notch OT strategies are doing wonders for him. Thank you especially for your excellent work during his intensives. We are already looking forward to the new school year; with the ATA OT team in our corner, he cannot fail! And that means the world to us...and to our son.
25 June, 2014
Our days are clearer since we started coming to ATA. There is a new found feeling of hope and understanding in our family.
My kids love coming here and I believe ATA gives all of the children the tools they need to reach their fullest potential.
They identify the cause/causes of why things are the way they are and then there is a plan. Our plan involved Tomatis.
There is continuous feedback and communication during each session of Tomatis. After the last session there's a video of your child and the therapist during a session of play. While viewing this video there are breaks throughout the video that explain behavior/activities that are occurring during the session. The video is a wonderful way to acknowledge,appreciate and document your child's progress.
ATA shows you the light at the end of the tunnel....then together they take you to that light! It has been such a remarkable, unbelievable journey for our family!
Parent of adopted twins - March 2013
I went on the website today to pull your email address and just got tears in my eyes to see this book you wrote. What an incredible BLESSING and resource to so many families like us to long to understand the hearts of our special children. I truly do not know what we would have done without your support through my daughter's early years. She is so much the person she is today because of your care of her those few years. Often, people at school will comment that she is really good at understanding her body and verbalizing it, like knowing she needs to hang from the monkey bars at recess to "reset" herself and things like that. That is completely the training she received. Though her special needs will always be a challenge for her, the equipping she got at ATA has been completely life changing for her and for us, as her family. Thank you for taking the time out your busy life of providing the care to write about it. It will be important to so many.
Mother of an adopted child - January 2013
"Everything started to come together"
I wanted to share with you how well A. is doing. He completed the Tomatis program at ATA at age 4. At that time he had sensory integration dysfunction, a language delay and problems interacting appropriately with peers as well as severe food preferences. Within the first week of the program, he started to be able to fall into a deep sleep quickly. During the program, his anxiety decreased, he became more flexible and his language expanded. Within the 2 months after completing Tomatis, it was as if someone flipped a switch and everything started to come together. He started to made significant progress with his fine motor skills and core strength and the problems he had in keeping his hands to himself and other sensory seeking behaviors disappeared. He was discharged from the IU later that year as he had made so much progress he no longer qualified for services.
When the IU teacher went to observe him at school, she had to ask the teacher to identify him and later told me "A. could be a role model for the other students." One of his teachers called him the "mayor" of his preschool as he knew everyone and was always so kind to all of the students and staff. It took some more time to resolve his problem eating, but I am happy to report that while still somewhat picky, A. eats a very healthy and balanced diet.
A. is in first grade now and is doing great. If I mention his earlier struggles to people now, they don't believe me. Tomatis was the game changer for my son and our family and we can't thank you enough.
A. H. - January 2011
"A 180 degree turn"
J. and I can't get over the changes since the Intensive Therapy (Tomatis etc.) and the Cellfield. His demeanor and how he handles things have gotten so much more even keeled. My dad even commented that R's behavior and how he handles situations have gotten so much better since the last summer. My niece has in my opinion, undiagnosed ADHD... nonetheless, she is all over and before she and R would feed off each other. When they were up a few weeks ago, R's behavior and his handling of her where so much of a 180 degree turn, it was amazing. Before, when he would go into overload with her I couldn't get him to talk to me and reason and walk away. This time, I sensed he was going into overload. I pulled him aside and told him he needed to walk away that I could tell he was going into overload. There was a little bit of arguing (about one-minutes worth) and then he walked away from the situation AND helped me with some heavy work to get him stabilized again! That wouldn't have happened last year!
Also, an update on the Cellfield.. beforehand R. was never able to really visualize the story as he was reading it. He just read it like rote. A few days ago he was reading a book in the series called "Geronimo Stilton" which is grade level 3-5. He read three chapters of the book and half way through the three chapters he told me " Mom, it is like I am in the book. I can see it happening!" Those were the most wonderful words I have ever heard. Up until now he could never see the events happening as he read them. Now he does. I told him, that is why reading is so much fun! It takes you away to another place where you can really be in the book and live what is happening. He got it!
Thanks so much for your work!
S. G. - August 2010
"His teachers were blown away"
I wanted to let you know that M. had an awesome year at school. He is ending the year with 2 A's and the rest B's, maybe a C. He did fantastic in the state testing, getting a 4 out 5 in reading and a 3 in Math, but a high 3. His teachers were blown away. He got better and better as the year went by.
He started out in academic support but worked his way out and never looked back. He did not really use the accommodations except at test time because he had to by law since he had an IEP. I think the medicine helped, his teachers were great and the work you did with him. He is going to counseling to address some anger and self esteem issues. He has sensory issues with his bowels, which is a big problem, but we're hoping he will recognize the feeling sooner as time goes on. He has matured alot too and grown, he is 5'7".
Thank you for ALL your help over the years!!
C.T. - June, 2010
"He has a terrifically-bright future"
My name is N.S., and my son H.S. received Tomatis therapy with your team back in 2004. We think of you frequently but this afternoon my wife and I spoke of you again. H., now 9, is in third grade and participates in an accelerated academic program in our public school.
Today my wife and I attended a PowerPoint presentation, about jellyfish, that he gave to his classmates, all of whom also tested into this accelerated program. We were so proud of him that we almost both cried during his presentation. When he was initially diagnosed with an autism-spectrum disorder, we were terrified about his future.
Today, he is in gifted programs at school, he is one of the best ballplayers on his baseball team, he plays piano, has lots of friends, and has a terrifically-bright future.
We recognize how lucky we are, but particularly lucky to have had you in his life. Thank you.
N.S. - May, 2010. Mason, Ohio
"She started on the Solisten and the changes are amazing"
Just want to share this news with you. I had a adult CVA patient on the Solisten Program. He is doing so well sice starting the Solisten he is back at work (he is a radiologist), he can drive put up drips etc. His wife is singing the Solisten's praise. It made a huge difference in his participation restrictions. The physical therapist was amazed in his motor control progress. She is now only seeing him once a week after we started with the Solisten.
Then I have a SEVERE tactile defensive little girl (5 years old) that is currently on the Program. She was very resistant to the brushing protocol and the only thing I thought of to use was the Solisten. Her SIPT diagnosis is praxis on verbal command and somatodyspraxic. She almost never has clothes on and does not wash her hair. She has poor planning and battles to talk and socialize with other children, her cognitive ability is superior but is doesn't look like it. She started on the Solisten and the changes are amazing, her mom is astonished and overwelmed. Her speech has improved within the first 4 sessions and her spatial awareness is amazing. Her play has even gone up a level and she is now imagining things that she was not able to do before. She actually looks smart now.
Thank You for bringing this MAGIC to South-Africa I am addicted!
T. - May, 2010
"She had a huge grin and felt so confident"
Maude – Thank you for the recent phone conference about Ashley. We are so encouraged with her progress. A positive story for you... Ashley recently received the highest math score in her class on a very difficult test in geometry. It required good reading, sequencing, problem solving, contextual thinking, and abstract thought in addition to basic computation. Most in the class did not do well. Ashley was thrilled and her class clapped for her, gave her a big hug and were so supportive. She had a huge grin and felt so confident. I was so proud of he
Carolyn Robbins – December 13, 2009
"Still amazes us to see his progression"
I just wanted to send you a note letting you both know that Eric and I think of you often, and to let you know how well Alec is doing.
Alec is doing so well. He is in kindergarten at Concord and has the help of a paraprofessional in class. He really likes school and has adjusted well. Academically he really excels and is getting along well with the other kids. We recently had an event which highlighted how much he has improved.
Three years ago my niece had her bat mitzvah. We wanted to take pictures in the reception room. Even though there were no people in the room, we could not get Alec into the room, which was big and overwhelming. This Saturday night my nephew had his bar mitzvah. Alec wore his first suit (2 years ago he would not even wear a shirt with buttons) and looked so handsome. Not only did we get him in the room, but he danced all night! He danced with Eric and I, his aunts, cousins, grandparents and anyone who wanted to dance.
Alec communicates really well these days. He teases his sister and torments her, just like a typical brother. He also loves her. He has a sense of humor and is funny.
While we always believed, and continue to believe, that Alec has unlimited potential, it still amazes us to see his progression into this fabulous, loving, smart young man. Every day he does something to make us proud. Both of you, as well as others at Total Approach, helped so much with his growth. You also taught us how to be better parents to a child with special needs. We are forever grateful to you. Thank you.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Marla – November, 2009
"Paul was thrilled with the outcome"
First off, Paul and I owe you an apology for not emailing you back to tell you how well he is doing. Paul did not want to email you anything until he received his test results...and then other things got in the way...he still has you on his 'to do' list!!!
As you will recall, Paul had taken the Michigan Teaching Entrance Exam prior to therapy last spring and failed all three sections...multiple choice reading and math sections and freestyle essay response to a random question. One month after the therapy Paul retook the test and passed two sections (math and reading–YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!). He spent over 6 hours taking the exam and, as he described it, his brain was toast so he did not feel very confident about having passed the essay portion...I believe the therapy, along with his ongoing tutoring, really helped him succeed. His tutor was thrilled with the growth and development of his reading, language and writing skills after his reading therapy. Paul walking out of the test with confidence, feeling he did well, is another testament to how much therapy has helped him. Paul re–took the writing portion of the test in October. He and his tutor gambled that the essay question would be a personal reflection so they focused all their tutor sessions crafting a well written, multi purpose response. However, when he re–took the exam the essay question was TOTALLY unrelated...His tutor and I had serious doubts that he succeeded so he registered for a retake in November–but he PASSED the October test!!!! Again, I believe the therapy he received was critical to his success. He had to formulate a response to a question he had never seen before–the essay response is evaluated for response, content, grammar, structure, language usage etc. This has always been a HUGE challenge for Paul–processing and understanding the question then formulating a point of view, supporting each point, staying on topic, using appropriate verbiage, punctuation and proper sentence structure. Needless to say–Paul was thrilled with the outcome and ecstatic that he did not have to retake the exam again.
Paul started at Eastern Michigan University in the Fall. He started slow with 9 credits but is doing exceeding well, getting A's and B's. Now that he has passed the teaching entrance exam he can officially be admitted to the college of education to pursue his degree in elementary special eduction–cognitive impairment. Next semester he will take 12 credits. He still has to work hard and I work with him to edit his papers etc. but he is more independent, his writing is more succinct and coherent and he has a lot more confidence. He is not as totally independent and self sufficient nor as mature as most 22 yr olds but I see continued growth and development.
Connie – November, 2009
"A Wonderful Experience"
My experience with the Tomatis Pregnancy Program was very beneficial. My baby would become quite active everyday when the music was first played. He would then relax and become quite peaceful, as did I. Now that my son is 8 months old, I find that he is very aware of his surroundings. He is extraordinarily pleasant, inquisitive, and very smart. He has hit every major mile stone at least a month early, and is well on his way to start walking!
All in all, this was a wonderful experience.
Natalie Randazzo – August 2009
"I feel like my son is back"
My seven year old son does not have any diagnosis, but awhile back I noticed that his general anxiety level was quite heightened. He would be intensely focused on time – commenting when we were mere minutes off from something we had said, for instance if he was told we would be home in half an hour he would point out that the ride only took 28 minutes not 30. He would get tearful every evening around bed-time, which got increasingly worse to a point where he would essentially cry himself to sleep most nights of the week – regardless of the emotional, physical or mental support we tried to offer. He would also wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning and not be able to fall back asleep. I felt that I was failing him as a parent.
Maude LeRoux and Angela Johnson suggested I put him through the 3 loops of Tomatis, I figured that I would give it a shot – I have seen so many kids make great progress in this program and thought I would try it. The first loop was pretty good, his anxiety seemed lessened and the time concern was diminished. I remember the first morning he slept until 6:30am again – I was so happy that he'd slept through the night. He also became less teary at night around bed-time, and I felt so relieved – I could see my son coming back.
The second loop was a bit tougher for me to go through, he became more emotional and teary in general. Maude and Angela (and everyone else) supported us through this challenging time with promises that there was a light at the end. And sure enough, he has now completed his 3rd loop of Tomatis and I see the light. He is no longer hyper-emotional, his anxiety has decreased tremendously – he no longer fidgets as much as he used to and is able to complete his homework neatly the first time without having to redo it, he does not worry about every minute of time, and he goes to bed calmly – no longer crying himself to sleep which had torn me so apart for so long. I feel like my son is back. Even my husband who was a bit skeptical at first has noted the difference that Tomatis made.
These are two similar stories from before Tomatis and then after. When he plays with the neighborhood kids we always tell him to be home at 6:30pm for dinner. Before – he would always, always, be home before or at 6:30pm exactly. One day he came in at 6:32pm and apologized profusely but told me that his shoelace came untied and it took him two minutes to tie it, and I could see the anxiety in him that he was those 2 minutes late. After – one day I noticed it was 6:40pm and he wasn't home yet. I went outside and saw him playing with the kids. He was more into having fun and playing with his friends, anxiety about precise minutes was gone. When I told him what time it was he said "really? Sorry mom."
But that anxiety wasn't there anymore – he was like a regular kid again.
Melissa – May 2009
"3 grade levels for reading comprehension in just 2 weeks!"
Our son Matthew is 13 years old and is in regular 7th grade curriculum with support for reading comprehension skills. He has a history of sensory processing, attention, language, and executive functioning difficulties that negatively impacted his reading comprehension, written expression, and general ability to complete academic work efficiently and independently. He has had an IEP since grade school and in the past received intensive private therapy in addition to the therapy and academic support from the educational system. His private therapy included occupational therapy, Tomatis Training, Interactive Metronome, Captain's Log, and social skills training. Matthew made significant improvement across all areas of development with these intervention programs. His reading comprehension and written expression skills continued to be an area of struggle for him though, particularly as the task demands increased over the school years.
Matthew recently participated in a two week Cellfield program, designed to address his reading comprehension needs. He underwent testing prior to starting and then retested after completion of the program. Matthew gained 3 grade levels for reading comprehension in just 2 weeks! He has reported that "reading seems easier now". We have observed increased independence in reading and writing activities. He completed a research paper completely independently for the first time ever! He appears to be able to complete academic activities with better efficiency and ease. His school has informed us that he will most likely not qualify to continue with an IEP because he is doing so well. They have been gradually withdrawing support from him to see how much he can do on his own. So far he is doing fabulous and has the self confidence that he did not have before to do so! We are very pleased with the results of this program.
Gene and Angela – April 2009
Letter to Maude
We have decided with great difficulty to have Taite start services closer to our home which will also be less costly for us. We have been so happy with the progress Taite has made at Total Approach and we thank you for all you have done for her.
I will never forget when I first called you in July 2005, it was just prior to Taite's second birthday. At that time we had received some floortime coaching from someone who was not a good match for our family. During our initial telephone conversation, you said "we want to bring out all the love your little one has to offer." Do you say that to everyone? You should. Those words were so encouraging to me, it is just what I needed to hear. And they have resonated since.
We were fortunate to find you and got so much out of your approach towards floortime coaching. We would meet monthly in your office to watch our tapes and you'd tell us how we underestimate ourselves and give us good advice on improving our skills. Now, we feel like experts.
And then coming in and meeting Angela and all the joy she expressed towards working with Taite. She and MaryBeth would joke and "fight" over who would get to work with Taite. Of course, Angela scooped her right up! Angela's enthusiasm for her work and interest in Taite and our family showed. MaryBeth would show her "jealously" in the hallway, but later she too got her chance to work with Taite.
Tears come to my eyes as I write these words and think of leaving. Please understand that the decision does not come easily.
Beth and Brad Daniels – April 2009
I am writing to tell you that Mia is doing very well after completing the Accelerated Learning Program this past June. The first thing we noticed was that we could not get a book out of her hands all summer long. As a child diagnosed with dyslexia, Mia liked to be read to but never felt confident reading on her own. About two weeks after ALP she not only started reading on her own, but became immersed in books that were above her grade level. Although it is still early in the school year, her language arts teacher reports that she is doing quite well with her reading and writing assignments.
We have noticed a real difference in her abilities, and equally important, in her confidence. Mia has always loved books, but reading was always accompanied by so much frustration that she had mixed feelings about reading and writing. Now, it is like a switch has been turned on and the obstacles that were in the way no longer seem so insurmountable. Her natural love for books and reading seems to outweigh any remaining difficulties she has with decoding. I now find myself with the opposite problem of asking her to "put her book down" when it is time to go to bed! Please pass on
our appreciation to your exemplary staff.
Elaine Brenneman – October 2008
"Maude, I'm telling you – there is no way Alex would've been able to do this before Tomatis! His language has skyrocketed since we started coming to you. Plus he has the focus and he is so much more social with us and everyone now that his senses are not so overwhelmed. This is part of the reason it brings tears to my eyes – because I know that he understood every line, he meant what he said, and he was happy to create something special for me. I am so blessed!!"
"As most of you know, I recently left my job at Gilda's Club, a position about which I felt very passionate. It was a sad situation, but I do believe everything happens for a reason. Today my little guy (with the help of his daddy) recorded some words of encouragement for me and I wanted to share them with you."
Thank you, Mommy.
You are strong.
You are wonderful.
You are great.
We're all with you, Mommy.
I'll always love you.
Hannah loves you.
You can do anything.
You are loved.
You are capable.
You will always be okay.
You have a guardian angel.
You can do it.
You can do it.
You can do anything.
I love you, Mommy.
You can do it.
E-mail letter from Cathy with regards to Alex to A Total Approach – reprinted with permission. July 2008
Our son Kevin was diagnosed with PDD at age two. It was quite devastating after receiving this news and thinking about the challenging road ahead for our son and our family.
We can attest that there is a haven of hope and compassion out there for children like our son. This amazing place is A Total Approach providing parents with a goldmine of knowledge under the guidance of Maude Le Roux. This center is filled with the most dedicated and talented team of therapists and clinical assistants. Our son loves coming to A Total Approach to play with his wonderful therapists, Nicole and Karen, each week. He conveys this by continuously expressing "truck" (our van), "beach" (the bridge we cross over) and "balls, jump, slide, train" (his favorite activities to play at ATA). He would never be able to communicate this simple sequence without going through the miraculous intensive Tomatis program. Before Tomatis, we dreaded those times when invited to visit relatives, a friend's home or even attempting to venture a short trips to the store. We were always filled with anxiety waiting on the moment when Kevin could no longer cope with his unpredictable environment by having a huge meltdown. After just a few days of Tomatis, we began to observe unbelievable positive changes of Kevin initiating engagement with us, coping with frustration a little easier and following through on verbal direction without the usual visual and physical cues.
Update on Kevin's progress, now four years old and after completing four loops of Tomatis. Our son enjoys going over to play with his cousins; he initiates wanting to go with his grandfather to the supermarket and help pick out the fruits and vegetables. He also grins from ear to ear anticipating his grandmother to sing their special song. The most recent precious event is sitting back and watching both our son and two year old daughter chase each other joyfully around the house and then warmly engage in an embrace.
We are so grateful to Maude, Charl, Angela, Nicole, Karen, Janice, Eileen and all staff members for their devotion to Kevin, the positive spirit every time we walk through the door at A Total Approach and for giving us this priceless gift to our son and family.
Michael & Janine Gargano – March 2008
Our daughter Sophia, now 4, has recieved therapy through ATA since the age of 2, and has made consistent developmental progress that has surpassed our expectations. One of the key elements in her success has been the support and guidance we have recieved from Janine and Maude via The Play Project. The guidance is so specific to our child's needs and has been wonderfully convenient as it was provided within our own home environment. With clear goals and compassionate support we have experienced through The Play Project, we continue to watch our child blossom to her greatest potential. This is a therapy service I would recommend to any parent.
JoAnne Cooper – March 2008
When I first came to you, I didn't know what direction to go with my daughter Sarah. I knew she needed ...something, that things couldn't go on as they were. None of the experts could explain her unique set of issues, or find a way to help us. And then I found A Total Approach, and she got the kind of help that she'd needed all along. Here's an update on her progress.
It's been a few months now since Sarah's last round of Tomatis therapy, and she's still doing beautifully. As you know, I was the ultimate skeptic when I first learned about Tomatis therapy, but there was so little out there to help her (with her sensory processing disorder), that I decided to give it a try. Sarah had everything to gain, and nothing to lose, so I took a leap of faith.
During the first week of Tomatis therapy, I noticed that Sarah was much more sensitive to sensory stimulus. She was irritable and not easy to manage. This might seem like a negative outcome to some parents, but I knew that you were hitting the right target, or there wouldn't have been any change at all. I hung in there, and looked forward to her first month off. By the second round of therapy, Sarah was definitely more "together". It's hard to explain, but she was just more...Sarah.
Over the summer she had her ups and downs. There were little glimpses of her problems resolving. She was more reasonable more of the time, but she remained irritable and sensitive. It's hard to discern what was the result of therapy, and what was the result of just being a twelve year old girl. She seemed to insulate herself from the world a little more than usual, spending most of her time independently. She didn't seem particularly happy or sad, so I gave her time to just...be.
School started again just after the third round of therapy, and by then the difference in Sarah was amazing. My favorite comment from a teacher was, " I used to see Sarah walking down the hall with fifteen books, and she'd be dropping ten of them. Now she's just carrying five." Friends and family have commented that her posture seems improved, that she walks with more confidence. And, many teachers have commented on her improved handwriting skills. As a parent, it's always a pleasure to hear so many positive comments about my child, but the real reward is the difference that Sarah feels. She seems so much more comfortable just being herself.
From the time we started last spring, until we finished this fall, Sarah's growth and development have been amazing. The degree of change that Sarah has experienced in this short time is much more than anyone could attribute to maturation alone. When I first came to you I had very low expectations about what Tomatis therapy could do for my daughter. I thank you now for the insight and guidance that you gave us then. I was the ultimate skeptic, and now I'm the ultimate convert. Keep up the good work, and we'll keep in touch,
Julie Gimmi, December 3, 2007
Jacob has been going to A Total Approach for about two years and has come so far. Jacob has Epilepsy as a result from an abnormally formed brain. With this, his development has been very delayed. Knowing early on there would possibly be a delay in language of some sort we did not know what to expect or do. It is true that his speech is the biggest delay along with some fine motor, processing and other delays. We began with one session a week for extra OT time – started the sensory diet to help with the sensory challenges and worked on the strength and fine motor skills. Summer of 2007 it was agreed that Jacob has come so far with his strength that he was ready to join in a group session with two other children to increase his social ability. About the same time we were gearing up for the IEP, I began to feel the strain of "1" more year until main stream schooling and how Jacob's speech was not anywhere close to being ready . We asked what else we could do for Jacob at ATA. I met with Maude and discussed the Tomatis program. As Jacob began to really start verbalizing so much more during the summer this seemed to be the next step to enhance his ability and drive to communicate with his newly found voice. We started in September and are currently in the third loop. Since the start we have seen such a change, he is more attentive, physical, starting to imaginary play (more with each loop) and his words... I cannot keep up with the list as this is just advancing so much. A Total Approach has been the extra enhancement with Jacob and brings together all the efforts from home and preschool that ties us in to have "A Total Approach"!
Aimee Egolf, December 4, 2007
I first called A Total Approach late on a Friday afternoon seeking information for an evaluation for my son, then 3 years old. I had a return call from Angela within the hour! Talking with her I knew right away that I had found the right place to seek answers and solutions for my son. She was so incredibly knowledgeable! We proceeded with the evaluation, Tomatis, occupational and physical therapy. That journey began 2 years ago. Each step along the way we see dramatic and steady changes and this team has been with us every step of the way. Their knowledge and skills are beyond anything I have seen anywhere else in our path toward healing for our child and we feel so fortunate to have found them. Thank you Angela, Maude, Janice, and Maribeth; you have brought our family from despair to harmony.
All children are a gift from God. Yet as parents one never imagines that the Lord will choose you to parent a special needs child. Unprepared and filled with a number of emotions one begins to try and plot and plan the road ahead.
As a South African, we have had great difficulty searching for an explanation for the difficulties our daughter, Samantha, is faced with. Hence finding the appropriate treatment for these difficulties has proved to be just as difficult a task.
We have been so blessed. Our God then led us to a magnificent institution of love, kindness and care, devoted to helping children with special needs. A Total Approach (ATA) is an institution which makes use of an integrated therapeutic approach, which they believe benefits the children in a holistic manner, which I have since learned has excellent results.
From the first time we met with Maude Le Roux, the owner of ATA, we felt a sense of peace. For the first time, somebody was able to adequately describe Samantha's behaviour and/or reaction to her environment, and that from a simple 10 minute video recording. We were then given a comprehensive description of why Samantha behaves the way she does, something which we had been searching for, for so long, together with an intensive treatment program which we then followed with ATA.
Since we had been disappointed so many times in the past 3 years, with regard to proposed treatments/ institutions, which we had pursued in South Africa, we decided to attend ATA in the USA, Philadelphia for an intensive program with no expectation whatsoever. We had been led, and believed that we needed to pursue this, if not for Samantha, then for ourselves as a source of healing and peace. Once having met with Maude the first time, we were both so excited. The thought of somebody who actually understood Samantha, preparing therapy/treatment for her, was really exciting and we could not wait to see the outcome.
We are amazed, at what we have seen. The program was for 15 days, each day Samantha attended two hours Tomatis Listening Therapy, thereafter she attended additional sessions of therapy for approximately two hours a day (Occupational, DIR, Physical and Speech therapy). Samantha had received much of this ongoing therapy in South Africa, which ultimately utilized the same basic teaching, the only and significant difference with regard to therapy at ATA, being the Sensory Integrated approach taken at all levels of therapy. It also soon became evident, that therapy of any kind proves to be much more effective given the stimulation provided through the Tomatis Listening Therapy. Within the first two days of therapy, we saw some remarkable changes in Samantha's behavior. She began doing little things which she had never done before. As we moved forward with the program we continued to see change. We saw changes in her eating and drinking patterns, eg. She always would only drink tea, she began drinking different flavored juices. We saw changes in her gross motor play, she was so unsure of herself, feared all moving objects, like swings, trampolines etc,. She began to climb onto them, jump, swing etc. She began socially interacting with strangers, which she never did before, she always held very tightly onto mom or dad around strangers. She began exploring her environment with a passion. The changes were ongoing and phenomenal. We are sad to have gotten to the end of Samantha's first loop of Tomatis, but hope to continue this at a later stage. So much of who my daughter is and can be has already been uncovered, that we cannot stop now.
We thank each and every employee at ATA for the love, patience, kindness and dedication shown when working with our child. Samantha loves going for her therapy sessions at ATA and in fact cries each morning when the cars leave for the day, as she is ready to go and play with her friends at ATA.
Our experience at ATA is something we would like to share, with as many parents with special needs children, as we possibly can because we now believe that there is hope.
Much Love and Gratitude,
Leon, Esmé and Samantha Marx, August 2007. South Africa
A Fortuitous Journey
Our journey to A Total Approach was rather fortuitous. Our daughter exhibited some atypical symptoms from infancy on, including high energy, unnecessary roughness and aggression towards others and herself, decreased attention, and decreased tolerance to certain elements such as pain and temperature. However, because of her otherwise typical, and in many cases higher than typical, functioning in areas such as language, communication, social interaction, and overall motor development, we were often told (by our pediatrician and psychologist) that she was just an 'active' child and that we would need to wait for school to begin before any formal diagnosis could be made.
As both an educator and parent, this information did not resonate well with me. I watched as my daughter developed compensatory mechanisms (laughing to divert attention when she couldn't build blocks, for example) that were at times negative and inappropriate. I watched as her childhood friends began to do things that were difficult for her, and thus watch her retreat to the familiar and/or avoid new activities. I cringed when I heard my toddler declare "I can't", not because of defiance, but rather because she truly could not. This is when I realized these early years were crucial for her self esteem, confidence, and sense of self. I immediately began searching for answers and grew increasingly frustrated at the lack of response from the medical community for my 'typical' child.
When she finally entered preschool at age 3, her teacher mentioned the term Sensory Integration (SI) and thought that we should look into occupational treatment. Though I had not heard of the term distinctly, I found immediate relief in knowing I could finally search for support, and through a series of phone calls and referrals, found myself in the lobby of A Total Approach.
My journey is not a unique one, unfortunately. Many do not know of sensory integration, and most have not heard of occupational therapy for preschoolers. The medical community is slow to pick up on the benefits of early sensory integration treatments, resulting in low reimbursements from insurance companies and many families who cannot afford to help their children.
Thus begins my new journey–not only to continue to provide ongoing support and guidance for my daughter, but also to raise awareness about the importance of early intervention for sensory integration. I am now completing my PHD dissertation on the effects of Tomatis on children with SID, in hopes of disseminating this much needed information to physicians, social workers, and others so that many others can be treated.
In my heart, early treatment is nothing short of a miracle. My daughter, now 4, and after 3 loops of Tomatis and a year of weekly OT sessions, is a happy, confident, self aware little girl. She is stronger physically, has more focus, is calmer, and most importantly, is more self aware and knows that she can try anything. This new confidence allows her to interact with her peers more appropriately, and climb to new heights, both figuratively and literally. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that early intervention mitigated her risk of subsequent problems, including depression, anxiety, and other learning or behavioral disorders.
My husband and I now take great pleasure in watching her grow, and are better parents as we are now aware of the disorder and her specific needs. ATA is truly a multidisciplinary, exemplary model system of care. Thanks to everyone at ATA and may we all, as parents, educators, and researchers, continue to raise awareness of the importance of helping our youngsters become the best they can be.
Elizabeth – August 2007
"after 4 days of Tomatis therapy, our son started playing...for the first time"
It’s difficult to briefly describe our son’s experience with Tomatis. After a short stay in an orphanage, our son came home with sensory damage and attachment disorder. Our son had a couple years of OT and PT and experienced no progress. He could not sit up for more than a few minutes at a time, stimmed on fences at recess, and could not play with other children or toys in any meaningful way. His only interests were pushing buttons and staring at fans. At 5 years old, after 4 days of Tomatis therapy, our son started playing with blocks for the first time. It was amazing! By the time he completed his 3rd round of Tomatis, his body control, trunk strength, hand strength, and stamina increased dramatically. His vision, always a problem, also improved and we attribute this to Tomatis. We are confident that Tomatis helped our son’s sensory processing. This was essential for his later success in therapy for attachment, which is mandatory for success in the world. I cannot thank Maude and the team enough for her direction and support.
C. M. February 2012
Matthew, a 10 day Intensive Program
Our son Matthew recently completed a unique and intensive 10 day, 3 hours per day, therapy program at A Total Approach suggested and designed by Maude LeRoux that included one hour of Tomatis training, one hour of Interactive Metronome, and one hour of Captain's Log. Maude described this program as facilitating improvements at all levels of his brain starting at the brainstem (Tomatis), that is the foundation for everything that we do, then the midbrain (Interactive Metronome), and finally the cortical level (Captain's Log) where children are expected to function on a daily basis. Matthew is now 11 years old and has a history of attention, sensory processing, and language difficulties. He has recently been diagnosed with an auditory based learning disability. This intensive program at ATA has been incredibly beneficial for Matthew. Improvements noted within his educational system and home environment have been longer sustained attention, increased independence with his homework, increased problem solving skills, more willing to work through a challenging academic problem, reading more independently, increased reading comprehension, increased language expression, increased social skills, improved eye-hand coordination for playing sports, increased organizational skills, and generally a calmer child. Thank you Maude LeRoux and your staff for designing and implementing an individualized therapy program for our son.
Words can not express the joy that we feel to see our son be a happier and more confident young man with a bright future!
Gene and Angela – October 2006
"Our daughter has been struggling with reading since she started her academic learning curve. Though a very hard worker, reading has always been a laborious chore for her. She is currently in 6th grade. During four weeks in August, our daughter completed 20 hours of "Captain's Log" at A Total Approach. Throughout this time, she began voluntarily reading books and found it easier to complete readings and journals required for entry into sixth grade that she had struggled with earlier in the summer. With the right support our daughter can enjoy reading and we are excited about the progress she made this summer, which we attribute to her sessions with "Captain's Log". The best is that she has maintained her progress and willingness to read and has been extremely successful during the current school year."
Upon a recent phone interview Mrs. Kariouk commented that: "If she keeps up this progress, she will be making the honor roll list for the first time!"
John and Kathryn Kariouk – October 2006
John, a 4-week intensive case study
John is a 5 year, old boy who has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Initial parental concerns included sensory processing (regulation and integration), fine motor, social, motor planning, back and forth interaction, emotional signaling, impulsivity, reality based conversations, behavioral, and focus / attention difficulties. John¡¯s parents wanted to better understand his needs, implement techniques at home, and assistance to have him develop to his fullest potential. John was brought to A Total Approach for an intensive sensory based therapy program that included Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech/Language Therapy, Tomatis training, one-on-one floortime sessions, and DIR (Developmental, Individual differences, Relationship model) parent training sessions. John received therapy 5 days per week for 4 ¨C 5 hours per day for 4 weeks.
Initial baselines were obtained through standardized testing and clinical observations across developmental domains (fine motor, gross motor, play, social, sensory processing, and language skills). Results revealed that John was experiencing sensory processing needs, including his ability modulate his senses (vestibular, tactile, visual, oral, and auditory processing) and integrate or discriminate his senses (vestibular, tactile, oral, visual, and auditory) that negatively impacted and influenced his daily functional performance for attending, developing motor skills, play skills, emotional development, and socializing. In addition, John presented with a receptive and expressive language disorder that was characterized by morphosyntactic, pragmatic language and language processing deficits, all which impaired his communication and affected social interaction with his peers in home, community and academic settings.
By the end of the intensive therapy program John functionally exhibited increased initiation and sustained eye contact, increased visual attention to table top activities, improved postural control including balance and motor coordination skills, decreased hyperactivity level, increased tolerance for messy play, allowing others into his space, increased oral motor planning, increased ability to express his thoughts and ideas, diminished frequency of scripting, more appropriate conversations with regards to events occurring in the moment, problem solving skills in play, initiating ideas on his own, expanding ideas in play, following novel verbal directions more readily, increased attention span (from 1 -2 minutes to up to 15 ¨C 20 minutes), emerging ability to verbalize his emotions, smoother transitions, decreased anxiety level, increase frustration tolerance, and diminished behavioral outbursts. A full comprehensive report was provided after completion of the intensive therapy program that included a very detailed narrative, summary, conclusion, and recommendations for a private clinic based program, home programs, strategies, and suggested educational services.
October 2006 – *For privacy reasons John's real name has been disguised.
I want to tell you about my son Ryan. Ryan is now 5 years old and will be attending Bethel Springs Elementary School in the fall. His pre-school teachers gave him excellent marks on his report card and were extremely confident that he was ready for Kindergarten. Ryan was tested by the school district themselves and scored extremely high in reading and at grade level in math. He is very excited to be going to the same school as his brother and in fact may have the same teacher. Ryan also enjoys taking karate and swimming classes with his brother as well. Ryan is very social and enjoys playing with his friends. He also has a wonderful imagination and enjoys pretending. As I describe my son to you now you may find it shocking to know that my son is autistic.
In fact Ryan's future was grim three years ago. The therapist who first saw Ryan told us that he would never catch up to his peers. Cognitively he would always be behind. Their only treatment was Speech and OT therapy that would begin as soon as possible but took three agonizing months to begin. Soon after the diagnoses Ryan began to bang his head and tantrum 10 to 15 times a day. Ryan's tantrums could last hours and would continue through the night. Speech and OT helped but progress was slow and time consuming. Speech therapy brought about some language but it was robot like and unnatural. When I read more about autism I found the symptoms overwhelming. How was I going to teach my son to speak spontaneously, socialize with other children, or use his imagination. How do you learn these things when you have absolutely no desire to?
Our lives changed one day when my sister heard about Tomatis therapy on the Today Show. It was a story about a little girl just like Ryan that is now recovered because of Tomatis Therapy. I quickly had Ryan evaluated with A Total Approach and treatment began quickly. The therapists were extremely experienced and I felt completely comfortable with them. The first time I spoke to Maude everything began to make sense. I felt confident that this was the place for my son. The first three days of Tomatis were uneventful but on the fourth day Ryan spoke his first spontaneous sentence. He said "I see a truck." I couldn't believe it. From then on Ryan progressed. He began to socialize with other children and started to pretend play. We would anticipate each new loop because the results were so dramatic and quick. Speech and OT were still helpful but more so now. Now that he could process language better these therapies were much more effective.
We now see a bright future for our son. I see him in college, getting married, having children. We are a far cry from where we were three years ago. Now as Ryan finishes his last loop of Tomatis my family celebrates. My son is on the road to recovery. We have hope instead of hopelessness. We are encouraged instead of defeated and now we have our son back.
Sharon Shaw – July 2006
Our son, Dean was diagnosed with PDD (an Autistic Spectrum Disorder) at eighteen months of age. Initially, we were devastated. We didn't know anything about the disorder or what interventions we could use to help our son. The thing that was so disturbing to us was how Dean seemed to not know how to play. He would do the same things over and over again, like spinning or lining things up. He also did not play with other children and he didn't have any interest in doing so. Fortunately for us, we found out about A Total Approach very early on.
We started with Occupational Therapy initially. It was there that we learned about DIR®/Floortime™ therapy. We started having individual sessions with Dean and training sessions for us(Dean's parents and our team members) This intervention has been a crucial component to Dean's program.
The staff at ATA have been phenomenal in their attentiveness to Dean and to our family and staff in coaching us how to work with Dean at home. Over the last year, we completed three loops of Tomatis and also started Speech therapy there as well. Dean is making great strides! He has come such a long way with his play skills and interaction with peers. We truly cannot say enough about ATA.
Kim and Dan York ¨C July 2006
A Total Approach has been part of our family's journey to help Max for over four years. Max, now six years old, has autism, apraxia, hypotonia, nocturnal epilepsy, and severe motor planning deficits. A Total Approach has always enthusiastically encouraged and supported us, although Max was, at times, slow to progress, and many other professionals weren't sure how to help. The therapists at A Total Approach are the best we have seen, and they have dedicated themselves to constantly updating Max's program to meet his changing needs. They also will share new ideas based on the latest research to assist him in achieving his goals. These ideas, based on the Individual Difference Relationship Based Approach to therapy as well as intensive Occupational, Physical, and Speech therapies, include Therapeutic Listening, Tomatis, pressure vests, brushing programs, and a whistle blowing protocol to help with sound production. They have coached us as parents, consulted with his teachers, and attended countless team meetings, all with Max's needs being their focus. There aren't words to describe how important Maude Le Roux, Angela Johnson, Mary Beth Crawford, Ayesha Ganges, Janice Buckwalter, Teresa Scully and the entire A Total Approach team have been to our family. They truly have gone above and beyond for us and remain a crucial part of Max's treatment plan.
Ken, Corinda, Drew, Max and Emily Crowther (July 2006)
Our son, Steven, was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction in March 2005. The doctors at CHOP directed us to A Total Approach. Angela completed the initial evaluation to determine what Steven's needs were, and I left that day feeling for the first time that I had some direction on how to help our son. It was as if someone was finally listening to our concerns and validating everything we suspected about Steven. Angela recommended that Steven go to Occupational Therapy (OT) to address his motor planning problems, modulation, sensory issues, and postural insecurity; to use the skin-brushing program; and to do Therapeutic Listening. Steven began seeing Natalie once a week in May 2005. Throughout this past year Natalie has incorporated many different therapies (in addition to the listening and brushing) including: joint compressions, oral therapy, horn therapy, straw therapy, a sensory diet, behavioral plans, exercises to improve his core muscles, and a proprioception home program. Due to the combination of strategies used at his OT sessions, Steven has improved in all areas of need. Steven is able to tolerate his clothing and other textures better, and most importantly for us, his tantrums and "meltdowns" are less frequent. In February 2006 the doctors at CHOP added Asperger's Syndrome to Steven's diagnosis. We are in the beginning phases of using the DIR®/Floortime™ method to address Steven's social and emotional needs. We look forward to seeing him improve in these areas as well.
In addition to helping our son immensely, A Total Approach has been a constant source of support for us as parents. We have learned so much about the reasons behind Steven's behaviors and reactions to different situations. Natalie and Maude have provided us with valuable information and recommendations on how to best help Steven at home. Working with A Total Approach has been a rewarding experience, and with their help, we look forward to enabling Steven to continue to make progress and be successful in all that he does.
Amy and Bob (June 2006)
ATA has given us a "roadmap" to early therapeutic intervention which has been invaluable to our son's developmental progress. Once we obtained a diagnosis, knowing what to do with it, and how to help our son was by far our most difficult challenge. ATA has helped us to answer the question...."Where do we go from here?"
We began by obtaining a detailed sensory profile which has enabled us to effectively target our son's greatest areas of need, with an eye toward identifying and maximizing his strengths. ATA has implemented a comprehensive and cohesive approach, which carefully integrates all aspects of our son's needs across speech, occupational and physical therapies. The specialized skill and compassion of each staff member is self-evident, along with the fact that they each work tirelessly to gather and share data across all therapy environments.
In the year since our son's diagnosis, he has made developmental strides (in language, socialization and behavior), some have characterized as dramatic. ATA's role in his progress simply cannot be overstated. From our vantage point as parents, ATA has become "the quarterback" of our son's developmental team.
From the initial sensory evaluation, through Tomatis therapy, and now intensive weekly therapies, ATA continues to provide our son with the tools which are helping him to amaze us all. We are truly blessed to have ATA on our team!!!!!!!
Our son, Philip, age 18, completed 3 loops of Tomatis during the summer of 2005. Philip was significantly brain injured at 10 months of age secondary to severe complications of rotavirus. Philip is non-ambulatory and nonverbal. Due to his total dependency in all self-care needs, he was placed in an Intermediate Care Facility at age 14 but continues to return home frequently throughout the year.
Philip had an occasional word and was able to maintain his body weight for transfers until he was 14. Philip then underwent surgery for the placement of Herrington rods and after kidney stone complications, has not stood up since that time. Tomatis was considered for Philip to reactivate his motivation to communicate, reduce self-stimulation behaviors particularly rocking, and to improve muscle tone.
Philip's first loop proved eventful. A noticeable difference in muscle tone was observed. Philip's arms and legs became stronger. He was able to weight bear on his legs for a maximum of 30 seconds. Also rocking decreased at his ICF and school. On his second loop, Philip very unexpectedly began to initiate a stand. He would rock himself to the edge of his wheelchair, plant his feet just so, lean forward, and try to extend his hips and knees. This was a new skill. On his third loop, Philip shocked us. He stood up! Although his balance is still very poor, he delighted himself with this new skill and would continue to practice it until fatigued.
The new skills have awed all involved in Philip's care. It is not known how far Philip will improve in gross-motor skills through Tomatis. Refresher loops will most certainly be in his future. We hope to see Philip able to move more via a gait trainer or walker and for words to return so that his needs can be readily met.
Janice and Jeff Buckwalter
When I first met Maude she was speaking at an autism support group meeting. This particular discussion was on DIR®/Floortime™. Her enthusiasm and love for children was apparent through her talk. At the end of the meeting I could not refrain from telling Maude how you can tell that she truly loves and believes in her work.
That was three years ago. From that moment on Maude and her highly skilled staff has been a part of our families life. Our two sons (6 and 4 years old boys) have grown with the A Total Approach Family.
They have been evaluated through comprehensive sensory evaluations. With the results from these evaluations we have been able to design a sensory diet and meet all of their sensory needs. They have attended hours of occupational therapy to help them with issues such as low tone, fine motor skills and postural stability. All terms which were foreign to us prior to becoming part of this world.
Through DIR®/Floortime™ my husband I have been able to engage our children in play like we have never before. They too have grown emotionally with this technique. Our oldest son has reached the higher levels of the milestones while our younger son continues to work hard with "his Nancy" to attain the higher levels. Although I was skeptical we tried listening therapy. I have to say it WORKS! And I am as skeptical as they come. It's amazing how our sensory system affects our whole being.
This summer our older son participated in Tomatis. We have seen an increase in our son's conversation, a decrease in rigidity and a willingness to be more flexible. At the end of the third loop (after not riding a bicycle all summer due to a broken wrist) our son jumped on his two-wheel bike. He had not practiced riding the two-wheeler since the beginning of the summer. He took off without anybody's help and has been riding ever since.
We hold each and every therapist at A Total Approach with deep respect. And we feel they will take care of our children as if they were their own. We fully trust them. To sum it up you know you are in a wonderful place when your children can't wait to get there and do not want to leave once they are done!
As a parent and a physician looking to maximize my twins (with Autism and PDD) potential, A Total Approach has provided the foundation of interventions on which we are able to build our children's future. Maude Le Roux understands the complexity of the challenges faced by our children on the autism spectrum. By providing an "integrated" approach while understanding the uniqueness of each child/family's needs, Maude and her staff of caring and energetic professionals are helping us maximize our children's progress. With a diverse array of services including DIR®/Floortime™ (Greenspan DIR Model), Sensory Integration, Physical Therapy, Tomatis (Auditory training) and nutritional support guidance, A Total Approach is not just a name but a comprehensive philosophy all in one location.
As parents we were initially disheartened and frustrated with the medical and educational system that gave us a "diagnosis" and a "social worker" but little direction, Maude has been a godsend, giving our family support, strategies, solutions and most importantly, "Hope" for a brighter future for my children. Our twins have made great progress in the past 16 months and A Total Approach / Maude Le Roux has helped us turn our panic into passion...and our "hopes" into expectations.
Dr. Pat and Marie Elliott
A Total Approach Comments
The twins have learnt much and so have we. The important message to everyone "out there" is that the combination of therapies make the difference. Even more importantly, a note to all parents of especially twins, to ensure that each child receives his / her own individualized program. It is an overwhelming occurrence in any family's life and the tendency to compare is strong. One child may have stronger needs than the other, yet both should receive equal attention as to how to individualize their program. Our sincere thank you to our parents for teaching us so much!
Our family is so grateful for the opportunity to work with the staff at A Total Approach. Their integrative approach to autism continues to expand, allowing me to consult with experts regarding many different and important pieces of my child's program and even to receive training in order to implement the therapies at home. There is a wealth of knowledge here that continues to grow, offering my children the best opportunities for success and affording me the peace of knowing that while they are working with any one of the highly qualified therapists, there is no better place that they could be at that moment.
The Haggerty Family
A Total Approach Comments
Their older son has completed 4 loops of Tomatis training and participates in an extensive SI/DIR program on a weekly basis. The younger daughter participates in Therapeutic Listening, as well as SI/DIR sessions on a weekly basis. Both children also receive consultation at their pre-school placement to assist with translating newly learnt skill into a functional setting.
Our son Andrew is diagnosed with mild autism. He also has sensory and motor planning issues. My husband and I decided to try therapeutic listening with Andrew in May, 2004. Andrew was almost 4 years old at the time. Within two weeks we noticed an increase in his verbal communication. Prior to the therapeutic listening, Andrew had trouble using his words to communicate his needs so he would either yell and scream or withdraw. Andrew's vocabulary and articulation was good, but he only used words to label things. He could not put words into phrases and had trouble "finding" the words he wanted to use to express himself. He also had difficulty attending to tasks, following simple directions and was very distracted by even the faintest sounds and noises.
Andrew has been doing therapeutic listening for 6 months now and friends and relatives who do not see him often remark on what progress he has made with his language. He is also able to attend to tasks for much longer periods of time, he is using phrases to express his needs and is much more focused then he used to be. He has become interested in playing with toys in a functional way and he is beginning to be more social with other children. We truly believe that the therapeutic listening, along with the sensory integration and his classroom placement have made a huge difference for him. In February 2004 our developmental pediatrician expressed concern to us because she did not feel that Andrew was making progress at a fast enough rate and today he is like a completely different child. We visited her in September 2004 and her outlook for Andrew is very positive. We tell everyone about our positive experience with therapeutic listening. We know that every child will react differently, but it is definitely worth a try!
A Total Approach Comments
Andrew came to our practice in April 2004 with significant difficulty with sensory integration, sensory modulation, praxis, postural control, bilateral integration, fine motor skills, expressive and receptive language skills, etc. He attends therapy for 1 hour per week. He was highly sensitive to sound and demonstrated a 10 second processing delay. He did not have any interest in playing with toys, had limited social skills, and often wandered the room aimlessly. His praxis skills were significantly impacted including ideation, motor planning, motor sequencing, and feedback loop. Andrew often withdrew when challenged and would just look at you when speaking to him, as he did not understand most of what was said to him.
Andrew started his therapeutic listening program a few weeks after he started at A Total Approach and continued for six straight months. Improvements in his receptive and expressive language skills were noted in the first two weeks and continued to improve throughout the six months he was on the program. His processing time has diminished greatly and Andrew can open and close circles more readily using 4 and 5 word sentences. Although his play skills are somewhat limited his interest in playing with a variety of toys have significantly improved, as well as, his ability to attempt to play with the toys more appropriately. Other improvements are noted in social, attention, sensory regulation, sensory integration, praxis, engagement, and overall interaction. It is important to note that Andrew's family were very faithful in following the therapeutic listening program and incorporating a sensory diet as prescribed by the Occupational Therapist. Andrew responded very well to the Therapeutic Listening program and continues to make overall developmental gains.
We enrolled our son Patrick in the Tomatis program in July of 2004. Patrick was almost 4 years old and has a diagnosis of PDD-NOS. We decided to enroll Patrick because even though he has received intensive interventions since he was 18 months old we were concerned with Patrick's auditory processing abilities. In addition, we were also concerned about his lack of ability to ask or answer questions. We also felt that his lack of understanding was also holding back his opportunities for peer interactions.
Now that Patrick has completed the first 3 loops of Tomatis we have seen an amazing improvement. His teachers and therapists and friends and family also noted this, though many of them did not know that Patrick had completed three loops of Tomatis. However, they noticed the gains that Patrick had made! We feel that Patrick made very positive gains in the following areas:
- Spontaneous speech
- Better understanding (including concepts)
- Beginning to ask more questions and he now has the ability to answer questions more comprehensively
- Improved complex thinking and problem solving
- Improved peer interaction (excellent interaction with his twin brother since Tomatis)
- More sustained play and attention
- More typical behavior
We are extremely happy with the results of Tomatis for our son Patrick. Patrick also participates in a comprehensive home DIR program, which we feel also worked very well in conjunction with Tomatis.
Zoe White is my daughter. She is a beautiful little girl. She loves to sing and dance and her laughter is contagious. Zoe is also diagnosed with PDD NOS. She is very high-functioning, even atypical for a PDD NOS diagnosis. Her language is significantly delayed. She communicates using 2 word phrases. We are just now learning how much she actually knows. Zoe also has intense sensory processing deficits. Zoe is ultra sensitive to noise. The sound of a lawn mower sends her scrambling up my leg with terror in her eyes. She is under sensitive to touch. She is aggressive. She hugs too hard; plays too rough; feels very little pain.
Zoe has been in early intervention since she was 18 months old. She receives most of the services available to children with her diagnosis. Still we were not seeing the progress we had hoped for. I brought Zoe to a screening at A Total Approach. I was extremely impressed at how efficiently they identified Zoe's areas of need. They told me about the different services they provide and which would be appropriate for Zoe.
Angela felt that Tomatis would give us the most effective results based on Zoe's profile. I researched Tomatis, talked to other parents and discussed the process, at length, with the therapists of A Total Approach. We decided to go for it. The listening therapy is integrated with DIR, OT and Sensory Integration. I think she feels like she is there to play.
The first loop was rigorous. It awakened all of her senses and for a short time she was like an exposed nerve. After the second loop we noticed her aggressive behaviors were decreasing. She began to ask for things she knew would calm her. She started identifying students, teachers, and therapists at her preschool. She is identifying colors with greater consistency. While watching Sesame Street, an episode on bathing, she looked at me and said, "Tubby, ice cream, mommy's bed, and night night." I was speechless. She had verbally sequenced our evening ritual.
Zoe also comes to A Total Approach for individual DIR. The DIR component has helped Zoe and our family so much so, that my mother and I will be attending the conference in the spring.
We are currently in the middle of the third loop. I have been pleased with the results so far. After this loop we will continue to come to ATA for DIR. In summation, we have seen greater progress in the past 3 months of Tomatis/DIR, and individual DIR sessions, than all of the other services she has received and continues to receive.
Maude Le Roux at A Total Approach has been a part of our lives since almost four years ago. Maude and her dedicated employees have provided both of our girls with therapeutic help in their particular areas of need, ranging from fine motor delays, visual motor and perceptual delays, sensory processing regulation difficulties, motor planning, and rigid play schemes. This has been accomplished in both individual one-on-one sessions and as part of a social skills play group. The clinic provides a playful atmosphere with therapeutic swings, balls, rope and ladder climbing, huge pillows and tubes, along with an expansive array of toys to entice our girls to work on their O.T. and sensory needs along with floortime play. In addition, our daughters have both gone through Tomatis therapy sessions at the clinic. We have seen extraordinary gains in all areas of need. Both girls are able to attend regular public school and are fully included in the curriculum with no one-on-one aides! Their writing is better, they are more confident with fine motor and gross motor activities, and their play schemes have expanded. But most impressive to us is their positive growth in the sensory processing and regulation area. They both used to scream at a passing siren, now they can tolerate parades and theme parks! Our hats go off to Maude and her outstanding staff at A Total Approach!
Our son, Daniel, who is now three years old, has been going to A Total Approach since he was 19 months of age. The therapists who work with Daniel are dedicated to helping him learn and grow. They look at the "whole" child, evaluating and addressing Daniel's areas of need, but also emphasizing and utilizing his strengths and incorporating them into his program. At A Total Approach, Daniel is given the individual attention he needs to further his development, and in the eyes of his therapists, he is a young child with great potential. As parents of a child with a disability, we have received an enormous amount of support from the staff at A Total Approach, and that in turn, helps us support our son.
Diane and Michael McDade
We started working with Maude Le Roux in early 2003, when our two children, boy (6) girl (8) were diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. We were looking for a therapist/program that would focus on their immediate needs for sensory integration (diet) and strategies for "staying on task." One of the things that we learned very quickly was that Maude is extremely interested in remediation of their root problems.
Our daughter was two years behind in acquiring adequate skill in reading. Maude developed an intense and rigorous home program (45 minutes/day 5 days/wk) during which she (our daughter) was able to "catch-up" almost 1 full year in her reading skills within a 6-month time frame. We also completed a 15-day regimen of Interactive Metronome during this time frame. We continue to see Maude on a monthly basis with home programming and have started another program that will focus on her phonemic awareness as well as sequencing strategies.
Our son struggled with socialization skills as well as staying "on task." He has been in a "small group of peers" with "Miss Nancy" for over 1 year. His socialization skills have increased significantly. Miss Nancy works with the group on role playing real world situations that the boys need to negotiate on a regular basis, in their daily lives. In addition to working with him in a group setting we also have a home program that involves a therapeutic listening program that assist him in improving his modulation. In the two years of working with Nancy/Maude he has settled down tremendously. The severity and quantity of his emotional outbreaks have been dramatically reduced.
Jason is almost exactly 3 1/2 months old (Birthdate 6/19/01), and he was diagnosed with autism by Dr. Anne Meduri at A. I. DuPont Hospital for children in January 2004. His current program includes: 5 day/wk. typical preschool from 9:15am-1:15pm with TSS support during all 20 hrs. in school, BSC 2hrs./wk. at school, 2 hrs/wk. OT 1 hr./wk PT (every other week includes 1/2 hr. water therapy in pool), 1hr./wk of Itinerant Teacher at school, 1 hr./wk of Speech Therapy. As Jason's mother I attend A Total Approach one time every week armed with a DIR video on Jason and our play together. I would like to focus on the results we had found using the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol, suggested to us by Maude Le Roux.
We started brushing on 11/7/04 and brushed usually 5 or 6 times a day. We are very scheduled people and knew that without a written schedule we would not be able to fully follow the protocol. We typed up a schedule to fill-in each time we completed a session. Our average times for brushing followed by joint compressions were: 8:30am (before school), 10:30am (by TSS at school), 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm (after bath). We were able to get his pants off for brushing by making it part of the changing (pull-ups) routine. We never brushed less than four (4) times a day. It was usually 5 or 6 times a day. We were able to do it around our schedule. It took us about 5-7 minutes and after a few times, he LOVED it. We are still doing it 4x/day.
The changes we noticed, while on the protocol were obvious and no doubt attributed to the brushing protocol—since there were no other changes in his program during this time period. They include: (1) Greater variety and acceptance of different foods (as he only had a diet of about 5 foods and only water out of one cup); (2) Willingness to put on a costume or headpiece (firehat, Indian headband and beaded necklace, hood of coat) and wear for an extended period of time; (3) He pooped 9 out of the first 10 days (he has a very bad constipation problem); (4) Less foot sensitivity (feet don't curl up anymore when we brush them). These are not the changes that we expected, but they are real and exciting. We expected less "stimming" and/or better transitions, but we gladly accept these strides forward. Along with the advances, he is experiencing some "growing pains," which is probably to be expected. He is going through a pretty intense "Mommy-Separation-Anxiety" phase for the first time. His "stimming" also seems to have increased at home. This could also be due to the fact that it has decreased at school, indicating that he is perhaps more aware now of pacing himself and "letting go" when and where it was more appropriate.
All in all, we are very pleased with the outcome so far. It can't hurt to try!!! I am so glad that we finally committed to it.
Stacey and Brian Fliegelman
The reason Maude picked the name A Total Approach is because that is what the practice represents. All aspects of the child's development are addressed in one place under the caring supervision of a trained professional, generally several professionals. A Total Approach means that the whole child is tended and nurtured and monitored, not just his therapy issues, but his emotional, developmental and life issues.
It may not be really obvious, but A Total Approach is completely unique. This one stop shop for the total special needs child doesn't exist anywhere else that I know of. Most therapists do only one aspect of therapy. They refer you to other professionals if they suspect there is some other issue, but often they are unfamiliar with other therapy issues and techniques. If you do take on a new therapy, it's up to you to learn all about it and educate all the other people working with your child. It's up to you to be the case manager, ready or not.
At ATA, I'm no longer alone. I no longer have to figure everything out for myself. I have open, willing collaborators who are always available to help me keep my son's treatment program at an optimum place. I'm not qualified to be a professional case manager. I don't always know what to do next. In the past, I have guessed the best I can. I often have worried: Am I overloading my child? Am I not doing enough? Am I not doing the right things? Am I missing something? Am I being too much of a case manager and not enough of a parent?
At ATA, I get the professional guidance I need and I don't have to guess about special needs issues that are over my head or whether he's being hit with too much. I don't have to run around to multiple professionals by myself and get lots of different advice and evaluations and guess at what he needs, signing my child up for whatever programs I think make sense or try to make sure that all his therapies are not pulling him in too many directions. Now I don't worry that I'm neglecting his needs or that I'm being an alarmist either. I don't worry that I'm overloading him. At ATA, I get a sense of all his needs and I feel secure that we'll stage all his therapies into the timeline that's right for him without overwhelming him and yet still keeping him on track. I also know that my son is being constantly evaluated and monitored so that I don't miss anything important. I feel secure that the most cutting edge therapies are there when my son needs them. And if needed, they will be incorporated into a comprehensive strategy that's right for him.
I used to try to pull all his programs and therapies together myself and communicate everything in my own amateur terms to my son's school and to other professionals. I'm stronger now and better informed. ATA is always there to clarify his ever changing issues clearly and professionally and to advocate for us with other professionals if we need it. They also explain it to me and keep me on track and focused.
I'm very pleased and constantly encouraged by the way I am always included in the process. I am updated at every therapy visit so that I can alert someone of new discoveries or issues or achievements. It also helps me so that I know what issues to focus on at home and how to pick mainstream activities that will advance his therapy goals.
What do I get personally, once a week? I get the information I need. I watch my son have fun and stay motivated and encouraged by his steady progress. I stay encouraged myself. I advocate for my son better with teachers and family and friends. I'm able to clarify for myself and others what kind of accommodations will make sense for the short term. I'm able to stay patient and coach him better at home. I'm able to keep the people around my son encouraged and focused. I also get reminded weekly that fun and a positive attitude is a great way to go!
Over and over I hear from teachers and other professionals that they are astounded at the amount of progress my son has made. I've heard this phrase very often: "I've never had a child (in my class, in my practice) who has made so much progress in such a short time." My son has learned to advocate better for himself, is encouraged and motivated and sets his own goals.
That's because his Approach is Total; it's professional, cutting-edge, coordinated and positive. He can feel the caring and the encouragement and he is thriving on it!
Exceptional Needs Foundation
Board of Directors