Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Unofficial Look at Autism Therapies

Raising children is like a dance. From as early as a newborn parents stick out their tongue and the newborn baby does the same. While having a child with Autism eventually I realized I would have to teach her to dance. Something, I still do not know what, got in the way of our dance.

Anxiety is one of many things that get in the way of the dance when you have a child with Autism and Aspergers. One of my goals was to teach her how to adapt her surroundings to reduce the anxiety and get what she needed. Medication was also helpful for the anxiety. This was particularly important for my girls when they hit puberty. The anxiety sky rocketed.

Some parents use RDI or Relationship Development Intervention to teach a child with Autism to dance. Some of the parents who choose RDI believe that the program really unblocks their child. Then their child really can pay attention and participate.

Many parents in forums and list-serves are reporting that the process of slowing down and waiting makes a huge difference. Some people on the spectrum do not believe that is entirely true. They think the child is learning to adapt for a period in the child’s life. Time will tell as more parents have access and use the program.

Another program that seems to the favorite of some mothers of girls with Autism is FIE or Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment. If I understand it correctly the premise is that all people can learn when you build on their thinking processes.

FIE recognizes what we as parents run into all the time, society in general expects very little from children with Autism and other disabilities. The program builds cognition building blocks. He has been so successful as to get hundreds of people with Down Syndrome in his country into the military.

The parents who use it say it is a paper and pencil program. The only reservation I have come across is that some people with Autism feel that they are being modified in some way without their consent or opinions. They would prefer it if someone would help them change in ways they want to change.

It is a hard line for me as a mother to not be so flexible that I do not want and demand better for my daughters. At the same time I want to be flexible enough to allow them to be who they want to be. I want to have high expectations for my daughters with Autism and their typical siblings.

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