Andre’s father is holding himself forced not to interfere the moment of grace with his growing excitement.
He and Andre are alone in the pool yard. Andre loves to stay in the water but stubbornly he is opposes, sometimes even violently, to any kind of contact. Surprisingly, at this moment, he devotes himself to his father’s cradling embrace. Expressing pleasure and serenity on his face.
I recognize the growing emotions of the father, so I smile at him and signal him a sign of “it’s okay – let yourself to be present in this special and moment with your son, savor and enjoy it!”
I met Andrew (14) Six months ago, when his parents decided to give another chance to the possibility that i can improve his situation and contacted me for the diagnosis and consultation.
Andre was born in Friedrichshafen (Germany), the first son after three daughters.
Until the age of two, according to his parents, he seemed normal.
When he was three, is younger brother was born after a hard and life-threatening labor.
Andrew’s mother, spend the majority of the next year and a half in hospitals by his bed.
One day, when she returned from the hospital, She was shocked to find the quiet Andre sitting on the carpet in the nursery, fingering Lego blocks, and does not respond to her arrival. Nor when she came back again and again and called his name.
The event and its aftermath, the parents remember well – marked Andre’s behavior beyond any doubt that something is amiss.
The diagnosis given several months later, and became even more as time went on, was “ASD” – Autism Disorder with very low functioning.
14, Andre does not speaks, avoiding eye contact, still with a diaper. Physical problems in his pelvis and hips, disturbs him to walk, and he does all he can to avoid any change or movement.
Despite the resistance displayed by Andre whenever any of us came to embrace him, despite his frustration when we went on and insisted, I did not give up. My instruction to his parents were – the same cradle embrace must be given to him also outside the pool.
This road will not be easy, I promised them, but necessary.
The therapeutic process of Andre took into account the medical diagnosis, but was based primarily on the current situation, His needs and abilities, and the needs and abilities of his parents and family.
Parents are an integral part of the therapeutic process. You can not sustain a meaningful process with a child without significant involvement of the parents.
Touch is a basic need and essential to the process of development and communication. It is the basic contact between children to the world. It is difficult, almost impossible, to learn and grow without touch.
Touch is not just a child’s need. Andre’s parents needed to restore their initial connection with him as their son. They needed that also in order to create an important foundation for true therapeutic process. Their relationship needed to go back and start again from the beginning, if they wanted to rebuild a healthy foundation for his development.
The cradling embrace of his father in a watery pool just a week after we started the process, the devotion and pleasure of Andre to his father’s touch and holding, demonstrated that the idea of rebuilding this foundation is possible.
In the center of the therapeutic process stands the child.
Standing alongside are his/her parents. They have a double or even triple role.
They need to escort their child and participate with him/her as the center of the therapeutic process, they also need to learn and practice their roles as therapists. Besides all that, throughout the program they are leading an array of family members and professionals who take part in treating Andrew, according to the set of goals we create together.
Supporting the parents in their complicated, emotional and demanding roll – is one of the main rolls of me as a Developmental Therapist.
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