He had severe anxieties.
The BrainChild Developmental Program – NAS group sessions
The BrainChild Programme has provided a very helpful and enjoyable series of sessions that have had very positive effects on our child’s development. The sessions have been fun for both parents and children. The programme has helped us to understand the difficulties our son has and shown us how we can help him. They have also provided a social activity for him to attend that has helped him to develop his social interaction and communication skills with another group of people. We have been able to build relationships with other families that understand the difficulties involved in having a child with a disability. Jack obviously enjoys the activities and exercises especially the more physical and those that involve massage.
Jack is a twin and was diagnosed with classic Kanners autism & complex learning difficulties when he was 3. He had very disturbed sleep patterns, often waking for many hours during the night, he refused to leave the car when visiting new places and could be very challenging and aggressive. Jack had severe anxieties especially with water, refusing to even sit in the bath. He would not tolerate hair & nail cutting and would only eat a narrow range of foods.
This disability has had a very detrimental effect on every aspect of family life.
There is no support given to the child with Autism or the family and no advice or information is provided as to services or therapies that may help. Parents can not access services from any Physio or Occupational Therapists because children with autism do not meet the service criteria and there are no specialist Autism Speech Therapists in the area.
We started BrainChild after attending a training day. I realised the programme had the potential to help my son. We had heard positive things about the programme and were ready to try anything to help his development and improve his quality of life. Our main concerns were his increasing anxieties and frustration which were leading to more violent behaviour, poor communication and interaction skills and his worsening sleep pattern. Much of his language consisted of echolalia which became more obvious when he became upset and anxious.
Since the program
Now, Jack is very much calmer. He sleeps more soundly and for much longer, which means he is more relaxed in the mornings and getting him ready for school is much easier. Now, he is less anxious about trying certain activities and is now enjoying water based activities. He is beginning to use more appropriate language and can follow directions more easily and he now seeks out interaction more often with family members. Jack is much calmer and co-operative overall and more willing to try new activities and foods rather than refusing to even try.
The impact on the whole family
All these improvements have helped make life easier for the whole family.
I am happy about all the achievements and I did not expect such dramatic changes in such a short time, but the sleeping is the biggest achievement, as now that he sleeps for longer, we can sleep for longer, making us more relaxed and able to cope during the day. This has had a big impact on the whole family. Jack is a much calmer child and more able to cope with new routines and changes.
His fear of water has also subsided, he will sit in the bath and take a shower and now enjoys going to the swimming pool, something we have struggled with for many years.
This has made our recent holiday much more enjoyable.
He is much more relaxed most of the time, at home and at school and his behaviour is becoming more predictable, that makes us all more relaxed and calmer with him, instead of being on edge and worrying about his unpredictable aggressiveness. We are now more optimistic and more willing to try new activities with him.
We are much more relaxed in our approach to Jack and we know we can calm and distract him more easily, preventing an escalation of unwanted behaviours. He is much more likely to co-operate with these activities and enjoys the massage techniques, responding and calming almost immediately.
My last thought
There is very little available to help support children and families affected by autism. I think there should be more opportunities to access alternative approaches and therapies locally in order to help a child’s development and improve the quality of life for the whole family.
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After only two sessions of Brainchild……
Just got back from holiday, best we have ever had with Jack. He has refused to go near a swimming pool for the last 8 years and this time we could not get him out! It was fantastic. He was far more confident and less anxious about many things this time.
He also slept 9 out of 10 nights, I can’t remember him ever doing that before. He is beginning to try the hedgehog himself and needs a lot less physical prompting to carry out exercises. Hope this success continues.
See you Saturday.