Monday, April 11, 2011

The Autism Superhighway

I wrote a post awhile back about being stuck.  Being stuck with the Autism aspects of our son, feeling like there was no progress in key areas.  Well, at the time I posted I was getting un-stuck, and we have now been driving down back roads at a good pace.  I have had a feeling of making progress, and life with Alex has continued in it's amazing and sweet way.  Things may be getting a lot faster soon.

There is a book that I call my autism bible.  It is titled Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child's Life.  It is miraculous, but it is not a miracle cure.  It is research based and driven, and it contains a whole host of concepts and ways of dealing with the behaviors and deficits of autism that results in massive developmental gains.  Basically how to catch up with his peers, and how to stay with them, rather than living in a separate and isolated world.  I have read and implemented strategies from this line of research for years, and feel it is a very grounded and sound.  The results have been excellent for us.  Helping us address problematic behaviors of the past, such as biting, hitting, and refusals of most things, as well as helping Alex to learn key communications abilities.  But reading the research and implementing it all in isolation has been daunting, and Alex keeps changing so there are always new challenges.  Alex's development has been steady yet uneven and seems rather slow.

We may soon have an opportunity to jump on a superhighway.  The Autism Superhighway.  The Overcoming Autism book was written by a researcher.  That researcher, and her research husband, Lynn and Robert Keogel, have an Autism Center in California.    That Center offers intensive clinics for entire families, to learn how to implement their program and hit the key areas of motivation, initiations, and self-regulation.  It is a form of Applied Behavioral Analysis, with lots of twists and lots of fun.  It is not drill therapy.   The Remote Family Program would consist of a thorough assessment of where Alex is at, as well as super charging our ability as parents to implement fun strategies to move his development along.  Five days on the campus of University of California- Santa Barbara, with five hours of therapy, training, and education a day.  It is for Alex, and my husband Kevin, and myself, and we could also take any interested professionals with us.   It would be intense, expensive, and worth every penny.  There is also long term follow up, and support.  Plus we would likely go through the program with other families with kids at the same level as Alex.  Wow.

My head is spinning over the whole thing, and my brain throws up a whole host of road block and fears, but in my heart it just feels right.  Kevin is all for it, and we are in contact with the Center as they formulate their summer schedule.  I don't know how this is all going to work out, but am super excited to do what I can to make it happen.  More updates will come along as we hear back from the Center. 

It is funny how things come along when you least expect it.  I have been focusing in other areas and then this arrives, as if on the wings of an angel.  We will follow where it leads, and try to keep up the good work in all other areas as well.  Wish us luck!