Autism Therapy Home Consultation:
Home therapy sessions to support your autistic child
- Are you concerned about your child’s autistic or autistic-like behaviours?
- Do you feel lost, because/although your child has an autism diagnosis?
- Do you wish someone would show you how to understand, engage and interact with your child, rather than just give him a diagnosis?
What is an ‘Autism Therapy Home Consultation’?
ASD MindBuilders’ Autism Home Consultation Therapy is a creative therapeutic approach to autism that supports parents with a child with autism, developmental or learning difficulties.
These might be difficulties with communication, interaction, play and relationships, as well as emotional-behavioural issues including toilet training, sleeping and eating difficulties, aggression, passivity, negativity.
Different approaches we use to help your child's learning and development
ASD MindBuilders approach to your childs learning development
MindBuilders uses a developmental approach based on the DIR Floortime and PLAY Project models as well as a wide range of developmental and creative approaches, including the Waldon approach, Therapeutic Form Drawing, to create a programme that is tailored
- to fit your child's and family's unique individual needs
- to contain and reduce feelings of confusion in child and family
- to prevent disturbances and mental deterioration from getting worse
Parents always report immediate changes in their child and for themselves after the first Autism Home Therapy Consultation & Review meeting.
- Parenting a child with additional needs is very stressful, so my first goal is to help parents to feel lighter, because someone is on their side to hear their concerns and provide effective support.
- Unlike other approaches that provide activities for the child, I focus on giving attention to everyone in the family and to facilitate lasting changes in interaction, communication and play, and to build healthy family relationships
- Once parents become aware of what is really going on for their child and in the family, and what is creating the child’s unique difficulties, fundamental changes begin to take place
Structure of the Autism Home Therapy Consultation Programme:
A. Understanding of child and family situation and containment of confusion
B. Creating a strategy towards progress and to prevent expansion of disturbances
C. Implementing strategy in order to reverse the situation of developmental delay and disturbance
This process of working together towards more developmental advantageous solutions for the child consists of a combination of
- home visits, including parents, siblings and other family members
- reflective review meetings between parents and home consultant
- video interaction guidance
- skype consultations
The Autism Home Therapy Consultant will show you how to …
- PLAY and COMMUNICATE with your child in ways that are fun, so he will want more
- develop SPEECH through using gestural, nonverbal and later also verbal LANGUAGE
- use DEVELOPMENTAL ACTIVITIES to address and fill the gaps in his understanding
- your HOME ENVIRONMENT can be used to encourage your child's mental development
- practically address BEHAVIOUR ISSUES as a form of emotional communication
Frequently Asked Questions About Autism Home Therapy
If you have a question that I haven't answered here, then please contact me and I will be happy to help you.
Click on any of the questions
MindBuilders’ parent implemented autism home consultation programme involves careful observation, modelling and practising ways to encourage social development, play and purposeful activity, to encourage the development of symbolic thinking and language as a more effective communication than the autistic sensory and selfstimulatory activities or challenging behaviours.
Video feedback of their child’s interactions helps parents to understand and find more effective ways of managing difficult 'autistic' behaviours.
The Autism Home Consultation Programme consists of 3 parts:
- Home Visits take about 2 hours and include
- observation, discussion, strategies and modelling of interactive play and effective communication
- video footage to help us to observe, share and remember what is going on, when we meet for our reflective review meeting
- recommendations of suitable play materials, activities and strategies
- Review Meetings are an integral part of the programme to enable parents and Home Consultant to meet in tranquility for 1 hour following each home visit, and sometimes via skype, in order to
- reflect together on the nature and meaning of the child's difficulties,
- figure out what exactly the problem is, using video footage
- discuss effective communication strategies, including video interaction guidance
- plan how to reduce disturbances and work towards developmental progress
- Workshops and Training
- learn about the functional emotional developmental levels and the DIRFloortime model
- see videos of actual children/ families and their progress
- share your experiences and meet other parents and professionals
An experienced Home Consultant will visit the child's home at a mutually agreed time and coach parents, siblings and other family members how to play, communicate and interact effectively with the child. A home visit takes about 2 hours and includes observation, discussion and modelling of interactive play and effective communication strategies, as well as some video footage to help us to observe and remember what is going on.
The subsequent adults-only reflective Review Meetings are an integral part of the programme. Here, parents and Home Consultant can reflect together about possible meanings of the child's problems, the complexity of the overall situation, including some of the emotional, conscious and unconscious processes in the family that get in the way of the child’s development and progress. Then we can begin to think together about how to reduce the disturbances and work towards developmental progress.
In families with an autistic child parents often feel lost and don’t know what to do. Parents feel desperate to understand, what is going on for their child and what they can do to help. An experienced home consultant coaches parents how to interact and play with their child, teaching parents techniques and strategies that are effective, interactive and fun.
Together, parents/carers and home consultant will explore new and creative ways of solving the problem and open new windows. Figuring out and reassessing the nature of the fluctuation issues and problems is an ongoing process of deliberate and passionate exploration, looking for patterns and experimenting all the time to create something new. Sometimes there is a hidden problem that takes time to discover.
‘Having a problem’ helps us to think and is seen as crucial for development and helpful impetus for growth, not something to feel bad about or to be avoided. Without appreciating the problem, there can be no learning or new developments. Trying things out, risking new experiences, allowing things to happen and making mistakes are all important for learning and creating changes.
Autism Home Consultants are experts on autism and have been intensively trained to guide you and to teach you PLAY-techniques, so that you can more effectively assist your child to move up the developmental ladder, and increase language and social skills.
The home consultant works in partnership and as a team with the parents. Together they observe the child’s interaction, play and behavioural communications at home with the aim of figuring out, what exactly the problem is that is obstructing the child’s healthy developmental progress. As we come to understand the nature and complexity of the problem better, we can work together to resolve it using our imagination and a variety of creative solutions and approaches as appropriate.
Our Consultant shows you practical ways of making every interaction with your child a growing and learning experience. All daily routines like eating, dressing, bath-time, going out, etc. can be used to help your child to build meaningful relationships. Even putting on shoes to go to the park can be made into a playful interaction that develops the child’s communication and self-help skills.
The Autism Home Consultants will
- provide training and support for families of a child with ASD right in their home, where child and parents feel most comfortable, rather than in unfamiliar settings that can feel intimidating or don’t generalise well
- offer a developmental individualised and relationship-based (DIR) therapeutic approach to families with children with developmental delay and/or autism, including support for insightful self-reflection
- teach parents techniques that are effective, fun and useful in day-to-day interactions, so they can themselves provide intensive, one-on-one, play-based interventions to their autistic child every day
- provide modeling, coaching and video-interaction-guidance to parents and siblings through selected videotaping of PLAY-interactions with written evaluations and feedback
- show you simple developmental activities that help your child to catch up with his developmental delay
- recommend and/or provide you with simple developmental play materials
- help you to have realistic expectations
- focus on your child’s potential for healthy development
- help you to give your child a ‘message of competence’
- assist with IEP-Goals (Individual Education Plan) where requested
- document progress using a combination of family information, assessments, questionnaires
The Autism Home Consultation Programme uses a number of developmental approaches based on the DIR Floortime and PLAY Project models as well as various creative developmental techniques, including sensory integration, psychodynamics, the Waldon Approach, Steiner education to tailor a child-centred individualised therapeutic programme, consisting of
- ongoing therapeutic assessment of child’s and family's unique individual needs
- containment of difficult feelings and reducing confusion in child and family to prevent disturbances and mental deterioration from getting worse
- effective practical strategies and developmental activities to reverse the situation of developmental delay and disturbance
You don’t need a diagnosis to work with MindBuilders’ Autism Home Consultation Programme. In fact, NOT having a diagnosis can sometimes make it easier to get started on addressing the actual issues and problems. At other times, getting a diagnosis can be helpful to get you certain rights or services. But the diagnosis itself is unlikely to solve any problems.
Formal diagnoses are often of little help with finding either the nature or the solution of the actual problem. The use of the autism-word is a simplification, which in fact often confuses the issue and cuts off the feelings. In our work, we will leave the diagnosis aside, so we can get a sense of the confusions and observe with fresh eyes to discover new ways of understanding and unrealised possibilities of development. Don’t get stuck with the autism label.
Parents always report immediate changes in their child and for themselves after the first Home Consultation (Home Visit + Review meeting). But autism is a complex situation and, just as a house is not built in a day and a plant needs time to grow fruit, mental development takes time, patience and commitment.
To see real progress therefore requires a commitment from parents and home consultant to work together with the child for usually at least one year.
It’s like embarking on a journey of discovery and working together with the child towards understanding and resolving the difficulties. All families I have worked with report good progress in their child and the whole family after 1-4 years of working together. Journeys take time. It’s an adventures full of unexpected discoveries.
This type of playful interaction assists the child to work through the core deficits of autism. The DIR early autism intervention programme aims to address the developmental problems, that a child needs to have mastered BEFORE starting at play-group, nursery or other group-settings and in order to get ready to cope and become ready to learn at school with his peers.
Research showed that 47% of the children enrolled in The PLAY Project with Dr. Rick Solomon’s team following a DIR-programme made good to very good progress (increasing 1-1.5 functional developmental levels during the study) within 8-12 months.
The principles and techniques of The P.L.A.Y.-Project have been adopted into MindBuilders’ repertoire
See: Playing to Treat Autism York University Brain Research: (CBC news report)
The task of school is very different from that of parents: in the first 1-2 years, a child develops a general understanding of the world through free exploration and playful interaction with parents and other family members. This can only happen in an intimate 1-1 relationship.
School’s job is to teach. But school can only teach a child, who is
- interested in the world and wants to explore and learn new things
- able to stay regulated and calm
- engaged and interested in relating warmly with other
- able to tolerate some frustration and engage in complex shared problem-solving
- able to initiate communication and to tolerate some frustration
= these capacities require 1-1 and need to be in place, so schools can teach and the child can learn
In a group situation like at school, each child must be able to follow instructions and to be interested in joining in with ‘what everybody does’. It is not the role of school to teach a child to communicate and talk, to become toilet-trained, to be able to sit down, to focus or to be able to follow instructions. These are the tasks of early childhood, which children need to learn during their first years with their family at home.
Schools are wonderful places for children who are interested in learning and able to listen, focus and follow instructions, - skills that need to be learnt and put into place at home by parents and family.
In order to be able to benefit from school,
- the child needs first of all to be interested in the world of objects and in interacting with other people, so s/he can learn FROM people ABOUT things.
- next he needs to be able to regulate himself and to tolerate frustration enough
- to focus and share his attention
- to initiate communication using gestural communication
- to actively explore the world through movement and to learn from his own experiences
- to be interested in and motivated to imitate what others are doing
- to understand that he can solve his own everyday problems with the help of his family and friends
The therapeutic and creative elements of the Autism home consultation programme are well suited to be included in a child’s home schooling programme. Some families have an agreement with their school for 1 or 2 days of home-schooling using the described developmental and creative methods.
A child who has difficulties with relating and engaging warmly with other people needs to learn to interact and engage with other people, whatever he eats! Focussing on diets and bio-medical treatments INSTEAD of intensive interactive playful intervention can waste a lot of time, hope and money, which can damage that family’s chances of doing the best for their child. The dose matters! A child with autism or developmental delay needs to experience at least 2 hours every day of emotionally engaging playful 1-1 interaction.
Progress is often immediate, as parents feel that someone is really paying attention to where they feel most desperate, i.e. in their relationship with their child and his/her behaviour at home, trying to understand, what the actual problem is, and to think together in partnership with them how they themselves can best address their specific family-problems.
Techniques inform our work together, but they need to be secondary to the moment and the individual child and family. Different approaches can help with different areas of a person’s development. But techniques alone won’t solve complex developmental issues like autism. Genuine success will always hinge on the relationship and the deeper understanding of the child’s and family’s communication patterns, and addressing unhelpful (unconscious) habits through the joint reflective work with the autism home consultant.