Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder In working with children who are autistic to some degree, from mild aspergers to more severely autistic, I think of the work as having three aspects:
1) CranioSacral Therapy
CranioSacral Theraphy is a very gentle but profound hands-on modality that releases restrictions in the Cranio-Sacral system and frees up the pulsation of the cerebralspinal fluid, which surrounds the spinal chord and the brain. In addition, it can release membranes in the head which might be too tight or too inflexable, causing reduced functioning or even pain. It has been frequently observed that autistic children become more affectionate and empathic after treatments. This is also my experience and observation, and I feel that this benefit of the therapy adresses one of the most difficult aspects of the disorder for both the individual and his/her Family.
This therapy also promotes a profoundly deep relaxation, which has the benefit of helping sensory integration in the child. As with all people, when he/she is more relaxed, learning is easier and it becomes easier to choose a new responses. I sometimes have to go to the child’s house to work on him/her and sometimes I’ll do this as he/she is going to sleep or taking a nap. After some sessions the children usually cooperate and enjoy the session.
2.) Alexander Technique and Somatic Integration with ABA
I employ the principles of the Alexander Technique while working with the child either in movement or durring ABA Therapy drills. Oftentimes these children have a high level of muscle tension which I feel contributes to sensory integration difficulties and learning problems. If the child has spastic back muscles, I gently work on them manually either in play movement or, if the child is welcoming to this interaction, by direct massage for five minute periods. As a Certified Teacher and Liscensed
Massage Therapist, I also teach the parents and other caretakers about relaxing touch.
3.) Working with the family
In my experience these children are both intelligent and highly sensitive to our tensional and attentional state. They are often responding to the external world, but the response is so small or unorthodox that it often is missed entirely. I recommend that the Parents/caretakers of the child become fluent in the awareness of their own tensions because the child, like all children, is responding to that in his own bodymind.
I also recommend that we explore and expand our capacity for perceiving the child’s responses so that we can invite a larger or more vigorous response to the “external” world.
All this can be a lot more fun than it sounds, leaving us feeling gratified rather than exhausted. There are few things more heart-opening and exhilarating than seeing a child make his way back into the world. I invite you to call me with any questions.