Testimonial written by Christine
Toledo, OTR/L, Texas, USA.
"As a family, we
no longer fear the future.
Both our children had very minimal communication skills, and in keeping with autistic behavior: rocked themselves back and forth for stimulation, flapped hands and shook heads from side to side to express their emotions, tapped and lead us by our hand in an attempt to communicate needs. When communication was attempted by both; one had a staccato, rapid, screechy, and high pitched voice, while the other one had a non-stop, never-ending barrage of repeated words, in a volume that was stuck on HIGH! As parents, we loved them, but often wished there was an off button.
At thirteen years old, with great deficits in communication skills, pre-kindergarten reading skills, and 4 year old Activities of Daily Living Skills (ADL's), we were faced with a reckoning; we either pull ourselves together and have an attack plan or we start looking for an institution for them before they’re eighteen. Just so we can look forward to have a decent conversation without the noise, distraction and interruption at eighteen years and one day.
It was either sink or swim crossroads for our family. And it was not easy.
Like other families, there was discord on how to teach, reward, and discipline the kids. There was discord on how much brain plasticity can take place at such an advanced age for retraining. There was discord on how much more retraining the ear can take after compensatory mechanism have been set in place for 13 years from hearing sensitivities and absent frequencies.
But there was also hope. Hope that with a well organized proactive response to the individuals’ needs, deficits and strength, positive changes can happen. By viewing individuals with ASD as a "House with Many Windows of Intervention" integrated approaches of nutrition, behavioral, Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy with Sensory Integration were STRICTLY applied. And positive changes did happen.
At sixteen years old, with minimal cuing, both kids exhibit independence in their ADL's.
One can lower the volume of the voice to tolerable levels, read comfortably at 4th grade level, make grades of 90’s in 10th grade English as well as Honor Roll in Math.
Another can communicate in two to three word phrases at a lower pitch, with less staccato. This once asocial, withdrawn kid, who tuned out the world and did not respond to his name being called, has developed a strong sense of empathy towards other people without cuing. He exhibits initiative to help others on his own, like pulling out a chair so his grandmother can sit at the dining table, and picking up and returning a toy that a toddler dropped. In both children, the rocking, hand flapping, and head shaking behavior have been extinguished.
Berard AIT has proven to be an invaluable tool in the recovery of individuals with learning disabilities and in the ASD.
As a family, we no longer fear the future. We embrace the learning, communication and behavioral challenges, knowing that as a family, we can overcome.