Case study Three – living with Autism
Nathan has had a diagnosis of autism for some time but lately life has been very difficult for him and his family. I met his mum in Leith to look at his history. There were only a few early developmental indicators in Nathan’s early history. His current picture was one of being overwhelmed and unable to cope with anything. The issue which had driven his mum to contact me was his behaviour and in particular his refusal to go to school. She described tantrums which had included him slamming his door so much the wall was damaged and the frame was coming loose. He becomes so anxious at even the idea of school that he had been a non-attender for almost a year. His family were at the wits end.
As with all the clients I see with autism my approach is very gentle as often when they become overwhelmed they become resistant to what I offer. Nathan was able to settle and participate in most of the assessment which revealed lots of the early reflexes to be significantly retained. This is often the case when a child is unable to cope with everyday not threatening situations. Again, my experience with children with autism is that the gentler approach is most successful so we worked very slowly and carefully through some reflex integration exercises. It turned out that he became resistant to the exercises after about 4 weeks so I saw him more frequently than usual and always gave him a fall-back exercise to change to if he could not continue to do the chosen one.
Progress was slow but steady with Mum reporting that Nathan was calmer and better able to process situations. Nathan said the exercises were helping but he did not know in what way. After 6 months Nathan is back in school full time and seems to be managing it. He has been on residential trips with the school and had a great time. In the last month, he has only slammed the door once and has identified ways to prevent things getting out of control.
We have decided to stop now and allow the progress to settle in. I felt we risked losing the progress made if we pushed for too much too quickly. Mum and Nathan have agreed and I hope to see Nathan back if necessary in about a year to continue the progress.