Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Aspergers, our therapy choices and Enki


Today someone asked about approaches to homeschooling with a child diagnosed with Aspergers, or high functioning Autism. GM has Aspergers and has done incredibly well through the years using a variety of non-medication based therapies. We were very lucky to live in an area during his younger years where the people doing the research for early interventions were near by and we could tap into that resource. GM started his first therapy at 15 months old. Initially he was a very low functioning autistic child who presented with the usual regression at 10-13 months of age. We began really noticing issues at this time and the regression was very fast and very concerning. He was lost, and we had to act fast in order to help him find his way back to us again. More importantly we had to leran how to meet him where he was. Sooo... we did the following therapies from that point through his sixth year.

Sensory Integration : Most important, most helpful to him
Deep Tissue Message: A part of SI but this was a huge breakthrough with immediate results
Brushing Therapy: Again a part of SI but this really helped him a lot.

Speech Therapy: No not articulation, oral stimulation techniques and work o the processing of communication, both verbal and non-verbal.

Occupational Therapy: Fine Motor, gross motor work

Floor Time: HUGE for us and extremely helpful to do both for him and for us. VERY parent guided, needs to be done 5-7 times a day for twenty minute intervals, but we were lucky and the results kept us going to keep it up. Dr. Greenspan was our Dr for diagnosis and for helping get us to this therapy.

Special Education Pre-school program: This was a hard choice, but it ended up being a very good one for us. GM was in a great high functioning group where he was one of 6 children with two teachers and multiple therapists. This was the beginning of group therapy. All other therapies were individual and so interaction hadnt begun yet.

TODAY: We have been homeschooling for three years now, and this is our first year using ENKI. We are still new to it, but for the first time we dont have anxiety, or tears or frustration around doing our lessons. That alone has made it a treasure to have found. The program works very well for non-agressive, high functioning, quiet Aspergers kids who struggle with focus and maintaining impulse control while trying to do lessons or other focussed things. I highly recommend it. You can really get a huge amount of info from the site, including curriculum progression charts, skill charts, info on incorporating sensory integration into your lesson time, getting to the heart of subjects removing the fluff, and some other great info. Beth Sutton has done a great job on this, I am really happy to have it informing our homeschooling journey.
The number one sign that it is working is that he is starting to love learning again, he is starting to crave more again and returning the self-image he had of being a smart boy who loves a challenge. This is huge, and all I want for these early years. To foster a love of learning. For an Aspergers kid who can be very negative, on himself especially, this is fantastic!!!

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