Autism Treatment Center of America®
I_want_this_for_my_Son

Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues

Chapter 6 Part III

Our around-the-clock program flourished. Every minute of every day, we provided Raun with contact and bombarded him with stimulation. Our crew, including Bryn and Thea, engaged him more excitedly and more assertively. We all sensed a new dimension developing in our program. Since discovering himself in the mirror, Raun had become more purposeful in his activities and involvements, more premeditated in his actions and reactions. When he picked up a puzzle piece, he did so with more energy. When he attempted to insert it into its appropriate slot, he turned the piece more skillfully than before and demonstrated greater mastery as he matched the cutout forms to the wooden receptacles they belonged in. Had Raun opened a new neurological pathway when he took more ownership of his arms, hands, fingers, legs, belly, head, tongue, and lips in the mirror? His enhanced body awareness affected both his large and small motor skills. As I watched him and Samahria spin in circles and playfully bump into each other, I couldn't help but speculate that Raun had, additionally, found beauty and delight in strengthening his contact with himself and with us.

The following depicts Raun's typical day. When possible, we followed this schedule seven days a week.

Daily Schedule

8:30 Raun has been awake in his crib for about half an hour. By this time, he has usually thrown his toys onto the floor. Samahria takes him out of the crib and dresses him. He glides down the stairs on his belly, feet first. Then, he eats breakfast with his mother at the kitchen table or in the bathroom, all the time being stimulated by words, sweet commentaries, or songs played on the tape recorder.

9:15 The more formal sessions begin as Raun and Samahria go into bathroom, which is filled with toys and a vast array of educational materials. They play games aimed at developing interpersonal interaction and skills, and Samahria rewards and reinforces him with smiles, cheers, stroking, and food. The toys and games include an insertion box with at least thirty different shapes, four or five wooden insertion puzzle games with hand knobs (Samahria makes sounds as she picks up each animal piece and articulates identifying nouns), a truck with seven connecting pieces, a tool game toy, musical instruments to bang and blow, insertion and building cups, clay and Play-Doh, crayons and chalk, as well as mounted photographs of family members, animals, and other objects to be displayed for possible identification. They do exercises to music. Samahria helps Raun move his arms, feet, and torso to the tempo of music and also at random. They improvise spontaneously much of the movement and dance. We've designed body parts identification games to help him develop gestures, such as pointing, and to stimulate him to speak. Touching interludes encompass stroking, massaging, and tickling as well as exploring hands, fingers, toes, noses, ears, and the like. Water games are played in both sink and bathtub. Books constitute a multidimensional resource, making it possible to turn pages, view pictures, read words, and explain the actions of vehicles, people, machines, and animals. "Smell" books (scratch the patch) and pop-up books add additional surprise to Raun's adventure and allow us to combine pointing and speaking with touch and smell.

10:30 Break from confined work area: go for a walk, play peekaboo, try to interact with some other toys, give Raun some food. All involve constant interaction aimed at strengthening eye contact, responsiveness, and bonding. Later, we abandon the breaks, finding the time spent in the room more focused and more effective.

11:00 Back into the bathroom for more structured interplay and games.

12:00 Finish morning stimulation sessions. Take another walk or a car ride, going to the park or the store, or visiting with other children. (Oftentimes, Raun withdraws and becomes frenetic in his self-stimulation during such excursions, persuading us to review the wisdom of including these adventures in his program. Eventually, we eliminate them.)

1:00 Nap.

2:00 Awake and down for lunch.

2:30 Another session in the bathroom.

3:30 End of bathroom session. Playing in the park, a bike ride. Also time for Bryn and Thea to function as playmates/teachers/therapists.

4:00 Special helper (Maire or Nancy) arrives and begins session in the bathroom.

5:30 We integrate other members of the family or teaching group - jumping on the bed, playing "Simon Says" games, and providing more physical stimulation.

6:30 Dinner with entire family along with student teacher or teachers. Now we work as a team with Raun, using all aspects of the meal to encourage eye contact and imitation games, usually with our son as leader and all of us as his students.

7:00 Additional session in the family den.

8:00-8:30 Session ends.

8:30 Raun to sleep.

Chapter 6 Part IV