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Jozef Vervoort

How it all started: an interview with founder, Jozef Vervoort, and his daughter Astrid

Atlantis, a non-profit organization, was born from the ideal of helping as many people as possible with the method that also helped Jozef's oldest son. At the Sint-Truiden Institute, Jozef, Astrid, and their team apply a method of therapy that stimulates the brain via the ear.

Jozef, this method is anything but ordinary. How did you discover this Auditory Brain Stimulation?

 

My son suffered from oxygen deprivation at birth. He was stuck in the birth canal for too long during delivery. When he came into the world, his skin was all grey. My wife and I were terrified, but the midwife managed to make him cry.

She reassured us that the pointy head and weird color would completely disappear. Her claim turned out to be true, because after a few days Bart looked like any other baby. We could not be happier. Unfortunately, the child did not develop as he should. We decided to have him examined by Professor De Clerck, a neurologist in Ghent.


He diagnosed an oxygen deficiency in the brain. This was 1967, so the only advice we were given at the time was to stimulate our child as much as possible. There were not many therapeutic options back then, so we tried to make him crawl like other children, bend his arms and legs, etc.

Unfortunately, Bart's development vas very slow. By the time he was five 1/2 years old, he could only speak one word. I tried to give him as much motoric stimulation as possible, but I knew that I was quite limited. I often thought that, short of 'cutting his skull open' to gain direct access to his brain, I should not expect much progress.

 

I was the Principal of a Belgian garrison school in Euskirchen, Germany, and was the second youngest teaching staff member. This was a large school with 810 students. Bart was in kindergarten. I had taken special courses to guide children with developmental delay and (learning) disabilities and my task was to integrate these kids into normal classes, as the government mandated at the time.

 

Life was following its normal course and Bart's teacher was happy to have him in the classroom. He didn't bother her, was a sweet and quiet boy with a vivid imagination, but he did almost nothing during class. Then, came the day when the school psychologist brought me the book 'Education et Dyslexie' by Professor Tomatis, a French nose, throat, and ear (ENT) specialist, who described how he had developed a method that worked in a surprisingly simple way and whose results were remarkable, to say the least. After 2 months of contemplation, we decided to travel to France, in the greatest secrecy, and implement the therapy during the holidays.

 

As the school headmaster I couldn't afford to lose face. They would have just fired me. As time went by, we noticed differences ourselves, but the deciding factor would be when Bart's kindergarten teacher stormed into my office, on the third school day after the holidays, and asked what I had done to my son. She kept asking the same question and said: 'He is quicker in his reactions, more awake, and even joins in with other kids now. He is also brighter at play.' Now. I could open up, because the teacher had noticed the same effects my wife and I had. 

I decided to delve into the method that had saved my son, and to help as many children as possible in the same way. After all, when you are directly affected, you can better understand what parents of problem children go through. I vowed to actively pursue therapy in order to continue to spread it further. This is what I am still doing today at Atlantis.

 

How is Bart doing now?

Bart is doing very well now. He had to repeat the first year of school, but in a period of three years of therapy, he caught up with everything. He even speaks three languages fluently now, and is the father of twins. A hard worker, who never asks for help!

Astrid, how did you get into the story?

I grew up at the Center and saw the effects of the therapy up close from a very young age. As a result, I knew very early on that working with this amazing method was my dream, and I definitely wanted to follow in Dad's footsteps. Growing up here, I learned the tricks of the trade from an early age and my father passed on the 'virus' to me.

 

Moreover, I was the very first Tomatis foetus, as my mother did the therapy during her pregnancy. So, sometimes you really can be destined to continue a life's work, and I feel that way myself.

 

Born with the same helper syndrome as Dad, it gives me immense satisfaction to bring both children and adults to the limits of their abilities."


I was fortunate to meet someone who shares my ardent passion. Didier, my husband, is our right-hand man. He helps with the training, is responsible for the equipment and supports the global network of therapists.

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jozef

did you know?

Auditory brain stimulation is also practiced in school. In Belgium, Germany and Poland, many schools have already integrated the method.  Every day, the school dedicates an hour to a session of auditory brain stimulation. This helps students to focus better and learn math, reading and writing faster.  It also improves their well-being. A school in Dodgelin, Germany, has even changed its name to "Jozef Vervoort Primary School" to honor Jozef's commitment to child development!

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