An autistic person is more than the external behaviours they display.
To best support them we need to see through to the true person beneath, and create the optimal environment in which they can thrive.
If you resonate with the perspective and goals of The Transforming Autism Project, and believe that such an approach could be of benefit to your family, then you might like to consider support in implementing it at home.
There are 2 strands to this support:
- Step 1 - Parental consultations with Guy (our founder and CEO) to advise on how to implement the principles detailed in his book to your particular family environment.
- Step 2 - This is not currently available, but in due course, we will be recruiting qualified and experienced child-psychotherapists to provide in-home support and play sessions with your child. This will include offering you on-the-ground support, guidance and training to do implement the method yourselves.
In short, our approach is based on the idea that autism cannot be addressed by trying to "solve" the individual "problems" of children's behaviours, but rather by looking to the person that lies behind those behaviours and understanding them with a view to being able to bring out the best in them.
Rather than trying to deal with difficulties by isolating individual issues and trying to find solutions for them, the focus is much more on creating an environment in which the child can begin to feel at ease with himself or herself and confident to co-exist with the world around him/her (though, of course, this will include guidance on how best to handle such situations when they arise). We find this to be a far more effective way of making progress, and that through this, the individual issues themselves can gradually and naturally be resolved.
It involves creating an environment around autistic children that gives them the warmth and sense of security that they need in order to be able to thrive.
This takes time, and involves commitment on our part, as parents and carers, to change aspects of our daily life, how we use our family time, and even how we manage our own emotions (as these impact to an unsuspected extent on autistic people).
Once we recognise the true nature of the child within, give them dedicated time to help them to feel safe in a meaningful playful reciprocal relationship, and contain them effectively, then we maximise their chances of reaching their potential.
The way Guy's family learnt to do this - with much help and support - and implemented it to transform their son's life, is detailed in the book, Transforming Autism. Reading this will give you a good idea whether you feel this approach is something your family could benefit from.
Consultations with Guy
Guy will not be working directly with children; he will be focussing on how the parents can create an environment around the child that is conducive to their growth and development, and how they can best manage situations that arise (and manage themselves during those situations).
Who Should Attend?
It would be ideal if both parents (if applicable) and all those who care closely for the child could attend. The difficulty with having children present is that if they are in the room when we discuss difficulties (especially if they get any sense from the conversation that they are the source of those difficulties), this is likely to entrench within them a negative self-perception and loss of hope. Even if they appear to be oblivious or not understand, this is still likely to be the case (this is explained in more depth in the book). So ideally, children should not be present, and sessions can take place when they are at school or could be left with grandparents or trusted carers.
However, we appreciate that these options are not always available, so in these cases, we can meet, but on the understanding that we are all very careful to avoid speaking about the child as a problem, and we can briefly discuss any issues by email or phone prior to meeting. If 2 adults attend, then one of them may at times need to leave the room with the child while the other explains any difficulties.-
What preparations should I make before the session?
It would be helpful for you to read the book, Transforming Autism, so that you already understand the basics of the approach and we can make much more progress during the session.-
Where are sessions held?
Guy is based in Feltham (TW13), not far from Heathrow Airport. It is also possible to conduct sessions via Skype (or similar) if travel is an issue.-
What is the cost of a session?
The normal price is £80 and the session will last for about an hour, but the introductory price for the first session (for people who have not had one before) is £45. Once we begin raising significant funds, we hope to be able to subsidise the cost of these sessions for families with lower incomes.