INTERVENTIONS FOR REAL CHILDREN
The following is a section put together by real
parents. The therapies described are those being used by your peers. This site
is entirely made up of contributions from families with children and young
adults on the spectrum. Please feel free to send us your experiences by
utilizing the "Contact Us" Item.
"We have just started N. in a Hippotherapy program (therapeutic horseback riding). So far he really likes it! It encourages more socialization (as he has a whole new group of people to work with), addresses some of his sensory issues (he is very tactile - lots of different textures with the horse/equipment and he has to wear a helmet), and they are working on sign language with him.
I am really glad we have this facility near our house! They also have Horticulture therapy and animal assisted activities with small animals. This is just one thing we do in addition to the other therapy programs he has in place!"
Donna Mom to 3 yr old "I'm the ballerina-girl" Autumn and 2 yr old Nicky (autistic)
"Therapy? I did my own plus school - and I think that they did their own thing with R., too. No specific methods. I guess that I adapted some Skinner myself. I was familiar with it. Mostly patience, positive reinforcement, (PRAISE and hugs and tickles - not food), perseverance and encouraging interests.
I gave both of my sons a lot of one on one when I could. Hard
to do when there are 4 kids. I do not feel that my sons have reached their full potentials. I wish that I
knew more and could have had more time with them.
Don't we ALL wish for more time?"
"Where to start? The first thing we tried (and continue to do 4 years later) is ABA/IBI home programming. As time has gone by, the program has evolved somewhat, and we have tailored it totally to my son. I wouldn't say we do strict ABA, I encourage my mediator/therapists to use their imaginations to get my boy motivated. Yes, reinforcers do include edibles in our house. We have always gone with what works, and for J., it works to offer a Skittle! Of course we include tons of verbal reinforcement along with hugs and tickles!
We also incorporate PECS, Music Therapy, Swim Therapy, Sensory Integration, Sign Language, with a little Floor Time thrown in for good measure. If something doesn't work, we alter it or try something new. I am always researching new interventions that are out there and am happy to share any knowledge I have gained. PECS didn't work the first five times we tried it. Suddenly, at age five and a half, it clicked. He has moved through all the stages and is starting sentence structure. He can now select his desired PEC out of a binder of 125 items, 30 of which are mastered. Part of what helped was "Communication Made Easy", a communication binder system that is fabulous! You can read about it in the communication section of this website.
The really big news is, around the time he started understanding PECS, J. started to speak. This is huge news for parents of 'nonverbal' ASD kids, as he was 5 1/2 when he started. We are often told if there is no speech by 4, there will probably be none. My son's story should give hope to that.
Teaching imitation skills brought everything together. He has come farthest of all between the ages of 5 and 6!
We consult with a Behaviorist on a regular
basis. Monthly staff meetings include, the mediator/therapists, ABA
worker, behavior consultant, SLP, OT, early interventionist and advocate.
We try to work together as a team to address all aspects of J's autism.
J. takes two anti-seizure meds, plus Risperdal.
We tried SuperNuThera, and it didn't do a lot. More research has led me to believe this supplement reaches it's potential in conjunction with the gfcf diet, which we haven't tried, but I've done a lot of reading on. I am interested in many interventions and am closely following a friend's journey with chelation.
Recently, hyper-aggression forced us to look into two areas we were totally against in the past: Parent Relief and medications. My advice is never to dismiss anything entirely, you never know when it might save your soul.
Good luck to all of us!"
1: November 20, 2001