Autism Every Day is a book that can serve as a comprehensive guide for autism. The author, Alyson Beytien, is an international speaker/teacher/consultant/ trainer and the mother of three children on the spectrum. The strategies for dealing with food and nutrition were clearly listed. What touched my heart was her practical advice to stay calm and mellow, avoiding power struggles while introducing new food items, accepting change in the eating habits and ensuring that the child gets a nutritious balanced meal on time. She further emphasizes on the fact that food is food and food timing is cultural not critical. Time and again she mentions that allow your child to eat interchangeably and peacfully.
Her observation on increased behaviors made sense to me when I realized that my child who is autistic, is also following similar patterns. Alyson writes in her book “I often saw increase in self stimulation and hyperactivity, coincide with increase in vocal communication, new social interaction, and new learning or knowledge skills. It appears that when the brains are firing off lot of neurons, their bodies can’t stop moving or jerking, sometimes aggressively.” Every time this happens your child is trying to learn something new and his skill levels are going to improve. She very candidly accepts this as her observation and not based on any researched data. Her strategies for dealing with self stimulation behaviors were pretty clear. Shape but don’t eliminate, include exercise, incorporate visual schedules, increase work productivity and eliminate down time. The blank, non activity space is called down time where the person is waiting for next activity. The longer the wait, without activities, there are more the self stimulation behaviors. Her strategies for choosing interventions were as follows: 1) ABA or Lovaas method 2) Speech therapy 3) Floor time method 4) Auditory integration therapy 5) Education and skill development. 6) She puts emphasis on positive attitude. She understands that parents are passionate and protective about their child and therapists are trained to be dispassionate and practical to ensure the child’s progress. She emphasizes on maintaining a collaborative approach rather than an emotional argumentative one for both. Here was a mother who accepted her motherhood and children completely and used it as an opportunity to grow in the right direction while simultaneously pushing her children forward on the path of progressive learning. Even in the darkness light dawns for those who believe and this mother came as the first ray of hope for her children and went on to write this book which has all the brilliance of the rising sun after a dark night. This book has every bit of knowledge and guidance that parents and behavior therapists can use every day to improve the quality of lives for themselves and their children. Life goes on for those who wish to move forward and for our children success is a continuous journey and not a destination. So, dear readers, please read this book very slowly and carefully to get all the answers to your questions. Remember, the author, is into gardening and quilting in her free time in spite of being a mother of three grown up special needs children. So find your free time and do what you enjoy doing after all life is meant to be lived completely.