Watching It All Come Together
I had the pleasure today of doing part of an update assessment with a peer dyad. The child with autism has been working on remediation with his parents for the past two years, and I got to see all the pieces come together today for the first time with another child. It was such an awesome experience to sit back and watch the two boys interact with each other – experience sharing, co-regulating, collaborating, negotiating, thinking flexibly, and having a great time together.
As I watched the interaction unfold between these two boys I was struck by a number of things:
• How this never would have happened if we had prescribed to the philosophy of “just put him in situations with typical kids and his social skills will improve.”
• How this never would have happened if we had put him in a social skills group to learn rote responses to social situations.
• How this never would have happened if parents had not persevered and worked diligently to understand his core deficits and how to build developmental foundations.
What has worked is starting with an understanding of how autism impacts his ability to develop the cognitive, social, emotional, and communication abilities necessary for meaningful relationships and real world problem solving. We then based our work on that understanding and figured out where he did not have the developmental foundations for those abilities. The next step was working diligently with parents, who learned how to guide him so he could learn to be an apprentice to them. The result at this point is a child who has blossomed through the process of getting back on a typical developmental pathway. He has learned how to think about people and the world through the guidance of his parents, and now that is enabling him to engage with peers in the ways we would expect a typical child to do. And I saw it today with my own eyes – and it was awesome!
To all of you working hard at remediation with your child everyday – I can’t wait for you to see with your own child what I saw today. To those of you who are not yet working on remediation with your child – get started! It’s can be a long and sometimes difficult journey, but if you never get started you’ll never finish. I am here to tell you that the results are more than worth it!
Until next week,