Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our Therapies. Past-Present-Future

Autism is a difficult diagnosis.  What can make it even more difficult is all the different types of therapies that are out there.  If you have met one child with autism you have met one child with autism.  Each child is so different and what works for one may not work for another.  I have been asked what we do for my son and here's what I've come up with.  A past, present and future list.  Things we have tried in the past I am willing to revisit in the future and everything here is always up for tweaking! 

What we tried.

Karate - We started him when he was 4 and was so overwhelmed by all the mirrors and loud music that after 5 months of fighting with him to go...because I heard you have to keep pushing, he'll eventually like it...I gave up.  It was way to difficult for the both of us.

Swim - He was in a program when he was 4 and after 8 sessions decided there was no way in h*** he was getting back into that pool.  All of the sudden.  We had no idea what happened.

In Home Music Therapy - He showed an interest in music so we thought this was a no brainer.  He didn't like it when the therapist came into the home.  It got to the point where she would be walking around after him, playing a guitar and he would be ducking and weaving all over the house.  He only cooperated when she would ask for help to put the guitar away.  Smart kid.  No more guitar = bye, bye lady.

Gluten Free Diet - For about 1 weekend.  I was so excited and went to Wegmans to purchase the gluten free food.  He had so many behaviors due to the fact we were changing all his food and he didn't like the taste at all.  So we decided not to do it.

The Little Gym - I took him when he was little and we had no idea he had autism.  I noticed he never listened, went to a different part of the gym away from all the other kids.  He had a fascination with light switches.  He would constantly turn the lights on and off and on and off.  The instructors tried to ignore it first but then all the other little ones thought it was great so they joined in.  Needless to say, no more little gym after 2 semesters. 

This is what we do now.

School - He has more good days then bad.  We do push for inclusion and he gets speech, occupational therapy and is in a social group.  Like everyone school can be fun or a drag. 

After School Socialization Program - Couldn't ask for a better program for my son.  This one tops the charts for his behaviors, socialization and speech. He has been in this program for 3 years now and I highly recommend it to all my local friends.  He goes for 5 hours a week and asks to go see 'his boys'. 

Speech Therapy - He has been going to a speech therapist since he was 3 and will continue to go for as long as insurance will pay for it!! 

Occupational Therapy - This is back to back with speech therapy.  For a few years they did speech and OT at the same time but now they are separate.  New for this year, we are getting away from handwriting because it seems to be painful for him and is now learning keyboarding.  He seems to enjoy it.

Loves the Pool
DIR Therapy (Floor time) - We had a few sessions when he was 6 and actively use it all the time. 

Swim Therapy - He didn't like the pool when he was little but this time he has a one on one instructor and it is in the Good Shepherd therapy pool.  His instructor has experience with autistic children and is real patient but firm with him.  He seemed to have bonded well with her and now he jumps off the side and goes into the deepest part of the pool.  He can also swim the length of the pool.

What we'd like to do.

Music with Voice Only - Is there a person out there who would work with voice only?  He does much better going to places out of the home for instruction.  This would be ideal.

Sports - Some sort of sports would be nice.  I'm not talking full contact sport because I think he'd run away from it but maybe cross country, baseball or soccer. 

Computer Camp - A place to go where he could learn to possibly design a game?  Of course when he is older but he loves to play the games so much I know he could do it.

Cooking Program - He loves to cook.  He loves to go to the grocery store and pick out food.  He takes his time and checks out all the different types of pasta, breads, fish, etc.  Sorta like Ratatouille from Disney Pixar. 

What about you?  What seems to be working for your child and what would you want to try in the future for your child?


  1. My boys are much older now...but we did the Little Gym when my son was around 3. He played with everything except the equipment they had set up for him. The cones on the floor, the water fountain, the trash cans. It was a good work out for me trying to coral him back into the activity.

  2. we tried ABA and passed. Speech didn't last long either - maybe it was the therapist but he just wasn't progressing at all. Finally went with Floor Time Therapy, OT, and stuck to a gluten-free diet; all worked incredibly well. School has been a gift for us - he has learned so much with his integrated day and loves it!

  3. We started with ECI when he was 19 months old with in home speech and OT. Our OT leaned heavily on the DIR Floortime approach and I swear that is why he is NOT considered sever anymore. (He was dx at 27 months with High Functioning Autism on the severe end. His social skills were evaluated at about 9 months but his reasoning skills were at 3 years old) Now we have school and he has lots of ABA but I don't think it would have helped him as much back when he was so young.(he is almost 5) We also used PECS EVERYWHERE but since he was so high functioning he didn't need them solely for communicating. After age 3 he gradually started using words to convey his needs but the PECS helped as a representation. I think he thinks in pictures like Temple Grandin describes. Sadly because of insurance we don't have him in a lot of outside things, but I research and try to be the best fake OT, SLP, Behavioral Therapist and plain old teacher I can be :/ He thrives on the one-on-one so I try not to beat myself up too much. We also do something I like to call "Grocery therapy" and work on being out in public no matter his mood. The more you do it the easier it gets,even if you have to take a break to go cry in the car. The more we do it though the more often we have success and failed trips out have gone way down. ;)
    -Mommy Buddy from the planet Autism

  4. Well, we did in home therapy for multiple reasons since she was about 9 months old. At first it was occupational & physical, and then speech was added & she phased out of physical therapy. We also tried a developmental therapist for a short while, but their availability was limited in our area, & the one we had acted like it was our fault she was behind. Because of her other health issues, I think we got the short stick on what was available for autism related therapy. I only found out what ABA was recently, & I'm about to google DIR Floortime. We start swim classes in March, & hopefully trying ABA soon.

  5. I know this is old but there is a game design program summer camp at the banana factory :)