Speech Therapy For Autism
In my nearly 30 years of addressing autism in my professional homeopathy practice, I have witnessed countless fashions de-juere from the ‘biomedical’ world: Parents send pictures of long jelly-like streaks in poop neatly exposed on white paper towels to convince me there are parasites that need to be killed and that unless we can get rid of them, their child’s autism can’t be improved.
Every single time, I ask to get these suspected samples analysed. On rare occasions, parents (of means) are able to get it done at a lab, and every single time the results come back as negative for parasites.
A lot of parents take the road of supplements and medications to get rid of these things (and other suspected stuff) in the stools. The same idea holds true for heavy metal analysis or “leaky gut” syndrome.Such a strong conviction can indeed be real – but it does not make the parasite real nor does it explain why a two year old child is susceptible to being toxified with arsenic or heavy metals. The linear approach of removing heavy metals or parasites in a one-on-one fight seldom works because the complexity of the human body is effectively dismissed via such overly simplistic ‘black and white’ models sold to the parents.
Homeopathy can be difficult for people to grasp. We don’t point to heavy metals or yeast or parasites with sleek printouts asserting such to be the supposed cause of autism. Rather we want to restore the patients natural functions of spontaneous speech, interaction and eye contact – achieving this via use of our process that encompasses the totality of the symptoms as a whole. When normal function is restored as a whole, the body can then rid itself of parasites, heavy metals, etc… not the other way around. As my interest is in the totality, my consultation goes back to pregnancy and the birth process, in particular, a moment when a lot of (potentially troublesome) interventions first occur.
When it comes to speech therapy, the mainstream/conventional approach has a similar “black and white” or “head-on” problem. The approach is often to sit a therapist in front of a child. Get the kid’s attention and try to imprint words upon his brain. Unfortunately, this is often a less than fruitful exercise.
Standard Speech Therapy: Applied Behavioral Analysis
Most methods use some type of rewarding process, “I’ll give you a cracker or a chip” or whatever the child wants after he says “apple” when he see’s it on a card. “A – apple” “say apple” and the child is supposed to say “apple” and get a piece of cookie. Though this was frowned upon years ago by parents fearing that their child was being treated like a pet, it became the main approved treatment for autism known as ‘Applied Behavioral Analysis’ aka ABA.
Fundamentally this approach is of the same kind as allopathic mainstream medicine – namely to coax the body, in this case, the mind and the mouth, to pronounce words. The imperatives of these therapeutic approaches are both based on the same principles of attempting to coax the body to do something it won’t (or it can’t) do.
Alternatives To ABA Therapy
While speech therapy is not within my job description, my observations of alternatives to ABA have led me to make an informal recommendation to parents. The first and foremost recommendation focuses on removing the stress in parents and children associated with speech. Let’s consider a “water” example (which can be applied to any of the multiplicity other similar situations).
The child wants water but does not say the word, and for years has been asked over-and-over to say it and still he does not. First, after all these years of trying – it is time to change. Stop asking to say “water”. Imagine yourself being asked over-and-over for years to do something. You’d get upset. The same principle applies here. Imagine being asked to repeat “Dddd-dog” over and over again. There is no doubt any such child would finally get super upset and even strike the therapist for being too much in his face.
Instead of insisting the child say “water”, which is boring for all parties, one suggestion is to describe water. “You want cold water from the fridge. The water is going to feel cool going down to your stomach and it is going to give you the sensation of wetness in your mouth and tongue. Once the water is processed in your body you are going to pee”. How much richer is that? Then it might become exciting for the child to participate and say something. Of course this is extra, it’s exemplary, but it acknowledges the child as an equal participant in this family project.
This is certainly going to be a lot less stressful. Even if he does not verbally speak, at least it is the start of a different relationship with the child. Now you are building a ‘word savings account’ with him. You are no longer asking questions (which is an idea forwarded by Marci Meltzer). You may be apprehensive that he won’t understand this long sentence. It won’t matter so much, because at least you are educating and being nice to your child.
This will change your relationship. You can gesture with your hands the water going down your throat and feeling good in the stomach. This is so much more alive than merely the static repeated word “water” over and over. You are teaching him the sensation, and the speech associated with it. This is an enormous difference and you will fulfill your closer one-on-one parenting ideal.
To that, I add “speech-through-the-senses”. Let’s take the color yellow for example. It may take a long time to get the child to say “yellow” or even understand what yellow means but yellow can very quickly be associated with banana, “The banana is yellow”.
In this context, yellow becomes experiential. Further learning can be connected to that, such as the smell of the peel (a new word), the taste of the banana and the stickiness. Suddenly, all the senses are used around the color ‘yellow’ and some of it will have resonance with the child and some of it won’t, which is fine because when you notice resonance you are learning something about your child. “Yellow” may not get any traction, but the smell of the peel may. Let’s see if the same holds true with something else, then you know you can reach your child through smells.
As another example, let’s take a car. Go around the car, here are four tires, math is a good hook to grasp the attention. The smell of them and the feel of them is different from the metal of the hood. Speak the experience, touch the tires, touch the hood with him. It is another way of exploring the world. The seats also feel velvety with a different bounce than the hood.
Since a lot of children on the autism spectrum like to touch things, we should use the word “touch” in combination with things the child is attached to, to create a deeper learning relationship – rather than too often saying “don’t touch”. A lot of resonance is created this way. This can be created anywhere and at all times. A cake is not only something that is eaten. Put it up to his ear and lightly squeeze it, the moisture in it creates a sound. Take a croissant apart and there is a sound.
These sounds transform into taste too. All experiential, all make for a much richer interaction. It may sound complicated and long, but actually, all that is required upon hearing the sound of the cake is to say “yum”, “it is moist”. So, the experience can be long as with the example of the car or just an association of goodness through the word “yum”.
A lot of children like to play with leaves and the same applies there too. The leaves are dry and crumple in the hands into confetti. Bringing this into his life builds great wealth he can then draw upon. By the same token, you will have far more for you to draw upon as well.
As you do this, you will learn more about your child’s affinities. Go where his affinities are and introduce one new word or concept at a time. He may look the other way – but don’t be discourage. Whatever you have the time and energy for, make this small investment, and do it consistently; over time, his word and experiences savings account will become substantial. As the homeopathic remedy removes the blockages and reverses his autism… your consistent investments made into his word bank will yield their rich potential and put him on a solid ground toward a ‘normalcy’ far advanced from his merely standing on ground zero.