I recently did my mid-integration checklist and interview for Justin’s Listening Training. As he is getting ready for his next intensive, I wanted to share some amazing gains I observed – new behaviors that I attribute to his first round of EnListen® and additional supports from home, including:
- Introduction of Chewelry to redirect chewing (I’ll be dedicating an entire blog post to this great product shortly!!)
- Addition of digestive enzymes, probiotics, and Omega Fatty Acid oil to his diet
- Increased yoga and fitness routines after school
Understand that every child is different and may or may not show the same gains or at the same rate, especially after only the first intensive. These are things that improved in my child:
- He now understands and carries out multi-step instructions (e.g., “Put on your socks, brush your teeth, and meet me in the kitchen.”)
- Bathroom experience: his body now signals that he has to go – no more accidents (thank you!); it is an easier experience – 15 minutes in the bathroom instead of 45!
- He is aware of possible consequences before proprioceptive crashing – Justin will now run up to things and stop and think first about whether or not it might be a good idea. He redirects himself for the first time.
- Empathy, remorse – he consciously apologizes after accidentally hurting someone and doesn’t repeat action!
- Fine motor improvement – he is better able to dress himself; he even wore jeans for the first time and buttoned them with no assistance!
- Initiating bedtime on his own – he’s getting tired earlier in the evenings, and bedtime is no longer a long and drawn out process (except when he’s being a typical kid!)
- Aware of why he has certain behaviors – when asked why he is displaying a certain behavior he is able to provide a logical answer rather than tuning out or shrugging it off
- Report card improvement
- Little to no spinning – much less stimming (excluding the return of recent verbal outbursts)
- Realizing where he is in space – there is much less holding the walls when walking and chair tipping when sitting
- Coordination, balance improvement – squatting, skipping, hurdles and obstacle courses, jumping improvement
- Tactile gains – introduction of new clothing materials that previously were not tolerated
- Initiating affection – this is a biggie! He is equating more with people and less with things.
- Showing more independent thought and less echolalia (and much less regurgitated TV speak!) when asked questions or engaged in a conversation
Less than desirable changes noticed:
- Expressing more frustration – this is due to experiencing certain feelings for the first time. Listening Training has begun the process of allowing him to be receptive to and in touch with his emotions. Justin will need to now learn how process those appropriately.
- More meltdowns
- The return of noises, verbal outbursts and personal space issues
- Less motivation to complete schoolwork
Although this may appear to be a regression in behavior, I realize that Justin is experiencing a reorganization of how he sees the world and processes information. It’s going to take time for these changes to be integrated into daily practice. I have to dig a little deeper. Some of these behaviors are not necessarily a regression, rather familiar ways of coping with new feelings and experiences.
He is also reflecting his new feelings of frustration through verbal stimming and needs to learn new and appropriate ways of expressing them.
The next intensive will continue to address sound sensitivity as well as introduce organizational skills and theory of mind.
It is easy to focus on the behaviors we don’t want from our child when we see them, and immediately assume things are headed south once again. I don’t know about you, but raising a child with Autism is a roller coaster ride full of gains and regressions. It’s part of the process and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Looking at this progress now on paper, he truly has made some incredible gains. It is imperative that the school and I continue to support him with reward systems, redirection, and behavior alternatives as he learns to integrate information in a new way.