Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Cumulative Effects in a 'good' program

Adapted Gym Program

The measure of a 'good' program for special needs children is difficult.  Often parents focus more on the perceived initial benefits such as behaviour, enjoyment and improvements seen.  These can be very subjective because each day with a special needs child is not the same as the you already know if you are reading this blog! 

Having personal and professional experience with the latter I know that our 'stress' persists, and clouds what we see to be improvements or NON-improvements.

A 'good' program is often dictated by its realistic goals and intent.  We cannot determine improvements over a short term, as this is not realistic. Nor should we expect them. However the measure of a 'good' program comes with the acknowledgement that this will take awhile and the folks that are leading and assessing my child have the knowledge, experience and the will to pursue the improvements.

The Cumulative Effect (added in amount of time spent doing)  of several years in a program cannot be overlooked. It has been this author's experience that children who remain in a program, best experience the cumulative effects of the ever changing and improving environment from which they are exposed. The professionals that work with them can adapt and change over time to make the necessary developmental adjustments. The Adapted Gym Program for instance is not the same year to year for a singular child and the development and growth, changes. It is very helpful for a child to have  continuance for improvement rather that changing programs constantly.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Art Therapy and Autism

Art therapy, has its origin in psychotherapy, thus plays a significant role in the treatment of children and teens diagnosed with ASD. Images and art making is naturally a safe way for children and teens to communicate and relate to the world around them. (Kramer, 1971; Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1964; Meyerowitz-Katz, 2003; Waller, 2006). When this experience is shared and facilitated by a professional art therapist, a meaningful opportunity is provided for the individual to express their psychological needs that often go unaddressed by other forms of therapies (Martin, 2009).  This use of nonverbal expression and the rich experience of utilizing visual modalities to stimulate cognitive, emotional and social development is what sets art therapy a part from similar professions (Gilroy, 2006; Martin, 2009).

Art therapists do not simply assign therapeutic directives; rather, by establishing a trusting relationship, they work jointly with the individual-sensitively guiding the art making to contribute to a positive change in their social behaviour, emotional expression, focus attention, self-regulation, flexibility, problem solving, communication skills, self-awareness and self-esteem (Martin, 2009; Pioch, 2010; Schweizer, 2014).

As Art therapy provides an fundamental avenue for the individual to understand and express their inner thoughts and emotions, it is crucial to consider this form of treatment in order to serve all aspects of the teen or child’s holistic development.