Wednesday, May 6, 2009

12 year old boys with autism

Fortunately, I like adolescent boys with autism, because I see quite a few of them. In fact, I really like them. They see that they have some catching up to do personally and socially and suddenly they care (just like their typical peers) about bathing, dressing and getting it right. So I get compliance from them and they, in turn, make gains. One of my guys is willingly learning to fold towels and make his bed (honest!), another is trying new foods and weaning himself off of the "white foods" diet, another is working hard to keep up in a private school where he tries to fit in. I've written about all of these (and a few other) guys before, but they never cease to amaze me.

Recently, I started one boy on Somanos CDs. He had been through Therapeutic Listening as a child, and completed an IM program this past year. His dad told me the other day that his YMCA swim instructors want to know what happened to him. Suddenly, he is swimming like a champ, and has good form, too. I told dad it was the Samonas. In particular, Carulli. This same boy (who was a true couch potato just a few months ago) is now dribbling a basketball all around the house. His father is amazed at this, and is installing a hoop in the yard.

Then there is the other 12 year old, who only pretended to listen to his Therapeutic Listening CDs. In fact, he turned the CD player off within seconds of putting the headphones on. I had asked dad, "How is he doing". Dad said, "Well, we can see some changes, but it's subtle. " Subtle indeed, a few seconds of listening makes for very subtle changes. Mom caught him out. The boy was chagrined, but took it well. He started over with his listening program about 6 weeks ago. Last week he told me that his emotions felt a lot calmer, and that his aggressiveness (a problem for him) was going away. Not so subtle any more.

Finally, there is the boy who acted like his body weighed a ton. He just drooped to the floor when asked to stand. He is now proud of his strength and shows off exercises that he can perform.

It's hard not to like these guys.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Autism and IM

I found a new case study about IM and autism. Here is the link. The 12 year old girl in this study had 25 sessions of IM over 9 weeks. Her results were very dramatic.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Food Chaining

I went to the Food Chaining workshop in Chicago last weekend put on by Cheryl Fraker and colleagues. She uses a fairly simple method of expanding a child's diet by slowly increasing the number of flavors and textures that the child will accept.

There are a number of rules for therapists and parents to follow.

1. All meals (3 meals and 2-3 snacks) are scheduled and limited. 15 minutes for a snack and 20-30 minutes for a meal.
2. Children are fed foods that they like along with the new foods, so there is always something "good" on the plate.
3. New foods are chosen based on a rating system.
4. The child rates new foods on a 1 to 10 scale going from "love it" to "I gagged".
5. Force feeding is not allowed. The child picks up the food and puts it in her mouth.
6. If a child acts out and does not eat, then she must stay in the room until mealtime is over. Then she is not offered food again until the next meal.

It's a reasonable arrangement. The choice of which new foods to try is determined in a fairly simple manner - but I won't try to repeat it here in this small blog entry, you can get their "Food Chaining" book and read about it.

The book and the workshop also cover food allergies, and medical issues related to feeding and nutrition.