To be honest, the therapy he received was very minimal. He was recommended for speech pathologist by his Pediatrician due to his speech delay. He was enrolled in Special Education class to continue to receive it.
I was clueless and so was everyone else. Autism was the farthest thing in my mind. No one thought to ask because the only visible difficulty he had was speech.
W was a quiet and content child, who many believed would grow out of the phase and join the rest of his peers. That did not happen. When speech followed, we assumed things would fall into place. I was wrong. He was speaking, but not enough to carry on a conversation. I could have been proactive, but I wasn't.
He was integrated into regular kindergarten where he continue to receive speech therapy. I had to pull him out of school because I found something disturbing. I visited his class one day and found him alone in a booth desk, while other kids sat in a circular desk. Teacher’s excuse was that he was inattentive. But I was never notified that he was having any difficulties. I pulled him out and placed him in private school for two weeks, then finally to a very small Montessori school where he thrived. Since he was in private, I had to pay out of pocket for a voice coach to continue his speech therapy.
When he had a diagnosis, after much bullying in school, he was recommended for therapy. Since he was functioning well in school and required no assistance, once a week therapy was the only option he had. There was no group sessions being offered and information was very limited.
These were his main difficulties:
- Meltdowns - consisting of him sobbing as if someone died
- Lack of self-awareness - circling, smiling, unaware of his surrounding
- Eye contact
- Focus on one subject- trains, planes, automobiles, transportation, reading, drawing, and disasters.
- Monotone or over-animated voice
- Unable to hold conversations - usually one sided, sticking to his topic
- Unable to read body language or other facial cues
- Studdering, or repeating back what the other person said
- Selective memory - remembering every fact from book but forget simple instruction
His therapy & his voice coach helped with the following. His meltdowns decreased significantly because he was no longer frustrated by what he did not understand. His voice coach helped with his over animated voice, his gestures, and holding simple conversations. The therapies were only two hours a week. I had to take over where therapy ended.
I have to admit that I wasn’t proactive about reading more on this subject. I had a session with the therapist to see what she was doing so I could continue at home. I was and am a very strict mom and sometimes, to others I can even sound mean.
I will probably cover the things I used to do in another post. But this is where he stands. He can hold conversations now, with minimal redirection. He controls the tone of his voice and gestures when he speaks. He can keep eye contact by looking at the nose or the face instead of the eyes. He stopped going around in circles or smiling and talking to himself.
It wasn't simple. He is constantly working on his skills. Boyscouts & JROTC is helping him practice the skills he learned. Since the bullying incident, he has matured more and is capable of avoiding some situations. His therapist said he only needed on session per month, but I insisted on twice a month. I'm afraid how it would be once therapy is no longer available to him.
All in all, therapy helped W learn the skills he needed to grow. For me, I learned to understand how W works and I am still learning to be a good mother to my aspie son.
For more posts from 34 bloggers on this topic check out: Best of the Best, Edition 9: Therapy & Special Needs Kids http://bit.ly/og6To4