Branding To Thrive
Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disorders are windows looking at differing spans of the same spectrum.
The definitions of ASD and Developmental Disorders are in a state of flux, because of new definitions in the DSMs. These changes in the Diagnostic manual are causing difficulty for stakeholders in these areas. Service providers, parents, observers, participants are all being affected by these shifts in labels and definitions.
As service providers, these changes make our jobs a little more complex because we have to learn new ways of talking about the spectrums, the diagnoses, the stakeholders (parents and those with these diagnoses), the treatments and services.
I have stayed out of these conversations, for the most part, because I don't see these disorders as having "no cure." So, I cannot enter the conversations the same way that others do. As part of that 'staying out,' I don't pay attention to the DSMs. I only pay attention to what I observe with my clients.
Computers & Operating Systems: I started working with computers in 1967, at IBM, repairing computers and their peripherals. I worked my way up through the ranks and left IBM in 1980 as a Staff Programmer/Analyst. I was exposed to many different computer problems and their solutions and I spent a lot of time working on various aspects of IBM's operating systems.
Education: During those years at IBM, I got degrees in Anthropology (BS, 1972, Fordham) and Educational Counseling (MS, 1977, U of Bridgeport) and I did post-grad studies in Linguistics.
Organizational Development: When I left IBM in 1980, I started a consultation practice about individual performance and cultural based on language and behavior. This work was driven by a linguistic tool I created based in Chomsky's "Transformational Grammar." Essentially, this is a tool for understanding a person's brain architecture (sort of a Linguist's view of personality).
In 2001, I started specializing in working with children with Developmental Disorders. From my current perspective, I see that the child's normal & natural developmental process has become epigenetically blocked and needs to be unblocked and encouraged (stimulated) to catch up.
I backed into this viewpoint. I started with the 'stimulated' process by taking children with Developmental Disorders through a program of timing training. From my experience with all kinds of computers and their problems, I saw that hyperactivity (for instance) was a problem in the child's timing circuits. I had seen the exact same symptoms in some early computers, which were failing to operate correctly, because their timing circuits were faulty.
Stimulating the developmental process to catch up: When I took children with these Developmental Disorders (attention deficit, hyperactivity, auditory or kinesthetic hypersensitivity, learning disability, etc. . ) through the timing training program, about 50% of them were able to lose all their symptoms and start catching up developmentally with their peers.
Unblocking the stuck developmental process: My wife (Isabel) and I lamented that we seemed to have part of the solution, but only 50% success was shows us that there was something more that needed to be done for these children. Isabel had been studying the body's reactions to environmental factors and she surmised that the developmental process may be being blocked by an immune response to the child's reactions to things the child is reacting to. So, she developed a test of the child's reactions to everything in the child's environment (everything the child touched, breathed, or ingested).
We started applying this test to every child who came through our practice. And our success rate (the child loses all symptoms and starts maturing and catching up with peers) jumped to around 80%.
We have found that children with ASD and DD are responding to our protocols and recovering at the same rates (around 80%).
The majority of our cases of non-success with our approach is non-compliance. Sometimes it is the child's refusal and sometimes it is the parent's sabotage.
For these reasons, I'm not thinking that those with ASD are operating with a different OS. I'm thinking that the OS is the same, but that the service providers are not yet seeing the real problem for these children.
What Do I think The Real Problem Is?
In our experience:
Applying only the stimuli that drives forward the developmental process, can succeed in improving the development of some of these children. But, the kinds of normal and natural stimuli these children need has disappeared from their environment, because they have physically aged beyond the 'place' where those stimuli are normally available.
Most of these recovering children need new kinds of parenting interventions. For instance, on Asperger's child we worked with was 14 when he went through our program. And early in his program, some parts of his development were still those of a 3 y/o. In his high school, the normal 3 y/o response to behavioral or emotional insult (a rough and tumble dust-up) has different consequences if played out by toddlers instead of teenagers. So, the parenting (and school authority) interventions in situations like these needs to address these age disparities, and support the child's further developing maturity rather than punish the behavior.