Nixpix5, there's so much in your post that I could have written myself. Things I have been saying for years. Advocating for therapies is good but at the end of the day, spending time and effort there and little time trying to figure out what we as parents can do to help, is not doing our child any favors in the meantime.
I don't want to get into specific therapies; we all use what we feel is best for our child. One thing I will say though is, when I read Barry Prizant's book *Uniquely Human* it validated my way of thinking.
Barry Prizant is called in by schools to observe kids that have certain challenges the school has been unable to address. First thing he does is observe the child. He also places a lot of weight on the observations from the parents on what seems to work for the child at home, the circumstances under which they have observed certain behaviors, their views on what may be triggering them. Sometimes the parents know what will work best for their child but can't seem to get the school system to proceed with the supports the child may need.
Another thing that struck me from his book is what he shares about those supporting these kids (whether they be therapists, aides, whatever). I'll just quote his words on that:
"Being a person who “gets It” is not about having a particular graduate degree or a certain number of years of training or experience in the field. I have met individuals with impressive résumés and stellar credentials who nevertheless lack the basic human qualities that enable others to connect with children with autism and their families. "Many others, like Paul, lack advanced training but forge real human connections, intuitively sense the needs of children, and help support meaningful progress."- Uniquely Human by Barry M. Prizant.
We are and should be the first and most important "gets It" people in our children's lives. I also feel that this is what we should be looking for in the people that treat or mentor our kids. When it came to language, I went completely the other way than most on this board. My research took an entirely different direction and I found the book of an SLP that seemed to be a "gets It" person for people with aphasia. Now, my son does not have aphasia but my research led me to see the similarities in what I was seeing my son was struggling with when it came to language to what some people with aphasia struggle with. I watched videos of this SLP using his approach and catering it to the specific person he was working with using what was important to that specific person, teaching him/ her how to express what he/ she wanted to say, instead of scripting the person on what they should or are expected to say. Note, he was working with people with aphasia after a stroke, mostly the elderly and here I was buying his book and using it on my autistic child. I think it raised many eyebrows
. It worked wonders for my son though. He now expresses what he wants to say; his own opinions. He can even make jokes now and get jokes. His expressive language is not age level and we still have work, but he is using language to express *himself* and that was my goal all along. It is wonderful to hear his arguments when he disagrees with something or to hear him advocate for himself. He knows what he wants and he doesn't hesitate to tell you what that is. We have also worked on expressing ourselves respectfully.
I think your story about expectations vs. overstimulation might be useful to the mom in the other thread, too
In our case, some scenarios are overstimulation. The expectations I have always tried to work on in similar ways as you. Having a clearer picture on what to expect in a situation was always a big deal for me growing up (being prepared for the unexpected) that I started playing out scenarios and talking to my kids (preparing them) before certain events. As for the unexpected, I teach them to think solutions, to problem solve. For my 8 yr old that comes more naturally. I have had to work on that more with my 13 yr old who tends to freeze up. I have frustrated him on numerous occasions, pressing him to get passed that stage, and getting him to focus on the solution instead of how impossible a situation may feel to him. I guide him to stay calm to keep a clear mind, I lead him to observe and guide him to a process of going step by step to solve a situation himself, instead of giving him the solution. It has helped him a great deal. I have used the same thing to teach him perspective taking. It is still a work in progress.
One thing I do steer away from when it comes to therapies and programs though, is those that teach that the NT way of thinking is the right way of thinking and that if you want to succeed in life, this is how you should think and behave. I choose resources that teach my kids that others may have a different perspective and that they need to respect that just like they want others to respect their own perspective. I take offense when an autistic person's perspective is considered flawed. It is just different, and autistic people can learn to accept that NT people have a different perspective and learn to respect the perspective of others. They *do* have a perspective though. They just experience and therefore view things differently.
And, yes, my sons have also not made any less progress with my home grown therapies than other kids that have had formal therapies
Edited by Canadian Mom of 2, 20 May 2017 - 05:43 PM.