While I’ve had many years, cities and countries of subway experience, the kids had never ridden subways before. Challenge number one of the day was to get from our home away from home to the Listening Center in one piece. The crowds, stairs, escalators, windy tunnels, narrow platforms and incredibly insufficient signage had us feeling a little “amazing race” with jet lag sprinkled on top.
But, we made it there in one piece.
As the kids began their listening sessions, I wandered the chic little boho neighborhood around Bloor and Bathurst. I made the regrettable but incontrollable decision to check out Honest Ed’s gigantic discount warehouse taking up nearly the entire block around the corner. That store has surely contributed to more ADD than any other real estate in the known world.
I searched frantically for the exit doors and had to beg to be let out. There is no mercy in there. Once back on the graffiti filled streets, I found a cool burrito shop with front seats to people watch.
Once I felt recovered from Honest Ed’s blinking assault, I headed back to the Listening Center to have my voice recorded.
Their technology uses the mother’s voice to stimulate early brain development in some way so they record about 30 minutes of the mother reading children’s stories. My only instructions were to read slowly and with as much natural intonation and emotion as I could.
The therapist asked me if I wanted to sing any lullabies. I used to sing all the time; You Are My Sunshine, Rock A Bye Baby, Hush Little Baby…I stopped when my middle girls said the lyrics made them sad. Coco still gets teary eyed if she hears You Are My Sunshine. Eventually, I found a cool lullaby CD and we’ve used that instead for nearly a decade.
The Listening Center is big into Mozart. I’m still reading the book “When Listening Comes Alive” to understand why Mozart but it has to do with how many brain centers are activated by the music. Mozart had an effect unlike other styles or artists. It’s deeply fascinating how integral the ears are to so many functions of the body and even more so that we can now use technology to wake up areas of the brain that are not signaling properly. I was very intrigued to read that Paul Madaule was “mixed dominant” in his audio/visual processing. My son is also mixed dominant. Brain Balance said there was very little that could be done to “fix” that. Perhaps this listening therapy will be the answer after all.
Mixed dominance is like a house with crossed wiring. The light switch in the kitchen turns on the bathroom and the garage door opens the bathroom window. Everything works but not as efficiently as it should or could and the result is extra time and confusion. Paul described this experience as a “train rambling through the meadow.” The brain is off track. He says that teaching the brain to listen in the proper sequence, by returning to the very beginning of sound development in the brain, the noise and commotion in the brain and body will eventually settle down. The narrow dirt roads become well paved highways and information is received and processed effortlessly. It’s also very interesting how many processes are controlled by the ear; balance, reading, writing, spatial awareness, sense of self. All of these things are affected (potentially) when the ear channel is jammed for whatever reason. It has nothing to do with whether or not you hear. It’s about how you process what you hear.
The kids all seemed quite chill after two hours of listening to their Mozart ambient mash up CDs. E has been passive listening to her CDs while working on 700+ piece puzzles. C has been tormented in the “little kid” room playing games when she’d rather be in the “adult room” with big sis. She may request that going forward. From what I understand, the therapists are very aware of what each client “needs” and tries to guide them. Given how often she resists self advocating and avoids interacting with strangers, sitting with this inner conflict while listening to her Mozart mash up may be exactly what the doctor ordered. Little Z says he’s not listening every time we walk in but within minutes he’s racing up the stairs, laughing and dictating all sorts of games to play like a wild man with his DJ dub stop headsets bobbing on his ears…It will be most interesting to see how this all influences each of them…
We are now subway Ninjas…
While it’s not really related to Listening Therapy, I’ve been so impressed by the quality of grocers I’ve seen around Toronto. There was a farmer’s market just blocks from the Listening Center today. There are dozens of small markets up and down the street with fresh foods. And this giant chain Loblaws (we laugh about the name because it sounds like Blah-Blah to us) has some gorgeous stores FULL of fresh, unprocessed foods. I think Canadians know how to eat!
This pic was taken inside a high rise complex with a theater and all kinds of other shops. No reason to say you can’t get fresh food even if you ride the subway! Wow!