Mrs kerrie Waldron

Region: 

I was very interested in Gordon Drennan's letter to A4.

I wanted to say "here, here!"

Although only a parent, I mirror his frustration ( having had my son put into a limiting "diagnostic box.")

 

As a parent .............of a 14 year old (diagnosed at 9) ASD son, I have observed over the years of our interactions with Mental health professionals, ancillary Education professionals (his teachers were terrific) and mainstream medical personnel an astounding lack of appreciation for my son as a fully fledged HUMAN BEING with feelings and intellect.

I came as close to strangling someone as I never want to again, when  a Psychologist calmly discussed my son's "disordered behaviour" in front of him!That was after a series of demeaning questions, during which my son was ignored and became increasingly agitated (as would I, if I had been treated thus).

The focus has most often been on (often humiliating )questions/observations in order to make a diagnosis/assessment . Often, at this point, their input ceases.He has been categorised as "a problem". (which he isn't -he's a delightful smart,well behaved  and kind human being).Or, if any treatment is recommended, it is often in the form of symptom reduction (like his hand flapping, refusing to join in,poor sleep patterns etc) in order to render the parent and/or involved professionals' lives easier, with little consideration of it's impact on HIS welfare!Eg drugs like Ritalin ,Haloperidol etc.

In the CAM (alternate and complementary) field, however, I have usually found the reverse.A focus on the child and HIS experience, leading to therapies to remediate the underlying causes in order to make HIS life easier. The belief being that all behaviours are symptoms of the child's physical reality and underlying bodily dysfunction, sensory integration problems etc and ,therefore, significant remediation is possible. This leads to a totally different attitude of hope and non-drug interventions. This approach also places my son at the centre, with the most important input.

HIS co-operation is essential. We became a team.No matter what the therapy (Kinesiology, Samonas sound therapy, Occ THerapy, supplements ,chelation etc) it hinges on his decision . We have declined many ( MUSEC reading, Irlen glasses, behavioural Optometry for a later time or never...depending on his decision. Even as young as 6).

The CAM world shifted our focus from the peripheral professional's comfort to the child's welfare ( a little like the old joke of whether schools were set up for the teachers' convenience or education of children?). It also changed the whole perspective from one of hopeless diagnosis to hope, physical therapies and a full future,LED BY OUR SON.

I too deplore the lumping of Aspergers with "problem behaviours". It robs full human beings of their God given dignity!

it also denies the contributions they make to our world.

Education is the key . The most important being education of the ignorant "professionals" who were taught incorrect dogma which boxed them into a corner of "hopeless diagnosis" and "disabled person".

I hope Gordon can take back his pride of place, robbed from him by ignorance!

 

Kerrie

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Hi Kerrie,I couldn't agree more

Hi Kerrie,

I couldn't agree more with what you said.

I am a mum (of three); one son, family, friends and some colleagues diagnosed on the spectrum; a professional counsellor (asd); autism therapist and qualified integration aide. The only reason I mention these things, is to give you an idea of where I passionately find my 'place' in this world :)

I too agree and firmly believe that for any approach or processes or professionals to be really worth their/its weight in gold, 'they' really need to aim to (or just do) appreciate and respect especially the importance and dignity of the individual (on the spectrum) and their immediate carer; their feelings, needs and desires. After all, the 'processes' of diagnosis or assistance is not about the professional, it is all about the person with asd.

I come from an holistic angle, when considering the needs of an individal. I also believe in the natural 'beingness' of the individual as being a guide (for others) for how we can assist where assistance is required or requested.

I feel that sometimes some professionals forget or don't appreciate just how much our children (on the spectrum) can understand what is being said 'at' or 'around' them (instead of to or with them). It is obvious to me, even sometimes by just a shift in the posture of a child, that they are sensing something which can make them uncomfortable, embarrassed or in another way affected by what they hear or perceive.

Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know, by writing this post, that you have another parent (and professional) who thinks and feels very much like you do :)

Kind regards,

Louise Page ;)