A Season of Gratitude, Part 3
The last thing I wanted to address in our Season of Gratitude series is that our young man’s parents were told to expect him to fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. This was something that they didn't fully understand. To help reduce this risk, we wanted to improve the boy's communication level while "brain building" as much as we could. I also wanted them to better understand Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a communication and behavior disorder that affects children. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is classified as a "developmental disorder" since symptoms usually arise before the age of two. To even better understand Autism, you can look at the derivation of the word autism. 'Auto' means self and '-ism' means the condition of. So 'autism' is the condition of self. I take this to mean that the child is aware of himself and not so much of others or other things in his environment. They may not be as connected to society. Now let's look at the derivation of the word 'communication'. 'Com' means with, 'uni' means one and -'ation' means the condition of. This says that when one is in 'communication', he is one 'with another person or with his environment', right where he should be. So, our goal with this child is to get him from the condition of not being aware of others to one where he is in communication with others.
I had to help foster communication not only for the boy, but also for the family as a unit. I told the boy’s parents that before they do any of this work with him, they should tell him what they are planning. For example, they can tell him they are going to start his cross-crawl exercises, they can tell him when the exercises have finished and they should acknowledge his participation and cooperation. I gave them a number of techniques that they can use to help the child get into communication with them and his environment. So, not only do the physical components of these maneuvers build the physical brain, they also work to get this child in communication with the people closest to him and his environment.
Will all of these techniques fix the problems with which our young man is dealing? Only time will tell, but I can guarantee at least this, there is a very high probability that he will improve and likely improve greatly if his parents challenge him with these techniques. Not doing them will almost guarantee that he will not improve to the same extent - and there are no risks to performing these maneuvers daily!
There is one other thing I am really thankful for. That is that these same techniques can help anyone to function at a higher level and so live a better life. I challenge you to foster your brain's development and communication with others this year. Use the suggestions I made in parts 1 and 2 to help exercise your eyes and brain daily. Our bodies require constant stimulation to work at optimum levels, so don't cheat yourself! Remember how grateful you are for the fabulous body you were given, and give it all it needs this year!
Dr. Gringeri, D.C.