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Henry looked at his picture on the front of a magazine and said ‘I’m famous!’

Thing is, he has been our little celebrity for a while!

When I read the article (full PDf article at the bottom of this page) I was a little taken aback really. Living and doing it it is easy to forget or not to see what is actually happening.

Looking back, in June 2012 we had an emergency half day outreach with Sean Fitzgerald. Henry was unable to get through the day without continually melting down about mostly everything. After filming one episode to show Sean, he was able to see Henry and, more importantly,  me and how I reacted and help us work towards working through those.  In March this year we had an emergency outreach with Carolina Kaiser.  Here we tried to help Henry with his high anxiety and emotions which had replaced the anger of the meltdowns, and give me the belief that he could handle the changes and the school etc. In June this year Sean came to see us and saw a different Henry. In June things were pretty smooth. When he comes to see us next month he will see another different Henry and another set of challenges and concerns, a rockier path again, but of course not forgetting, successes too!

We have been really lucky to have the guidance and support of Son-Rise and home-based therapies and HANDLE has been a perfect compliment to the base we already have. Henry enjoys the activities and it gives us time together and a welcome new perspective too with which to help Henry in a different way. This is also an ongoing process with Henry at the centre. He directs our goals and focus  and each time we can help make life a little less stressful for him I think.

On the HANDLE course i attended at the beginning of the month we saw pictures of a boy who had changed quite significantly physically whilst doing HANDLE. Sometimes it is hard to take in just how inter-related everything is to do with our bodies and our environment. By helping our nervous systems to work more efficiently we can induce physiological changes as well as emotional changes that are having difficulty developing. Its pretty amazing. We could all do with Son-Rise and HANDLE! People remark how grown up Henry is now. I really think that this is not just ‘growing up’. Its really interesting to me that since we began to help Henry with his proprioceptive and vestibular challenges, among other things, that he has been more able to sit down and sit still which has helped at school, but also at home.  He sits at the dinner table and in the last year he has tried (& liked) more foods than he has ever done before. Just by sitting and watching us eat and be part of dinner times he’s flexibility around food has decreased significantly.  His reading has really come on ridiculously well! Maybe from helping him with his inter-hemispheric connection his eyes have been able to work better together and he is able to attend to the page more? He certainly is so much more willing. These are just a few examples but i think you can see what i mean. We cannot underestimate how one thing can affect something else, no matter how small it appears to be.

As Henry is growing in some areas he is showing us that he needs help still in other areas (and these areas interchange. What was being more ‘easy’ for Henry to handle can then become something hard again). For example, at the moment Henry is more touch and noise sensitive and his dark circles under his eyes remind me to refocus on his nutrition. His stress at school has prompted me to be pro-active this time and return to the playroom and organise for others to start coming and help Henry in a play based situation and the way he runs into his playroom there’s no doubt he still needs it! We’ve done games around working memory (‘Spongebob’ is a real asset, thank you to Henry’s great buddy Taylor for donating him to us!!) and self esteem and also bought bought homework alive a bit more!! I am learning as much as Henry about how to use all I have learnt so far to help him but also to start looking for new ideas and ways forward. We have also been having little tries at learning using the ‘Rapid Prompting Method’* to help develop Henry’s cognition, recall and personal expression.

It is an ever changing picture. A puzzle. We find a piece that fits perfectly. Then a piece falls out. Or we lose a piece and have to keep looking in different places to find it.  Or someone steps on the blooming thing!!! It’s not glued down. Its moveable. Our job is to help Henry find as many pieces as possible and keep them there as long we can, but ultimately he has to put the piece down. And this is what all of these things and this magazine article is about. HANDLE has helped us find a few more pieces that we just out of our reach. And there are now other avenues to explore to hopefully find some more. It’s not going to be all together for all of the time but that is the same for everyone.

I met with a lovely family friend today who has found he has his own personal battle to face. He is looking for his pieces to his jigsaw puzzle at the moment – it is amazing what is out there. But still the biggest factor in finding your pieces is YOUR attitude, YOUR support and YOUR hope and belief. That is still our greatest gift. In fact they that can probably fill up the gaps for the pieces that allude us.  x

*Ps for more details on the rapid prompting method please visit It is an amazing method to especially help non-verbal children and adults communicate based on teaching age appropriate cognitive material and I believe its science and philosophy can also help anyone with autism.

Autism Eye article PDF

Autism Eye article PDF

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