This blog has been designed to help people learn about effective, simple treatments for attention deficit disorder, autism, auditory processing disorders, dyslexia, and even challenges learning a new language.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A True Story: "Cured."

Nick came to me with hypersensitive hearing and a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. His family was feeling fairly desperate because he hated his younger brother, and they didn't know how to cope with this.

From the start, I questioned whether ASD was an accurate diagnosis for him. He spoke a bit to fluidly, interactively, and flexibly for ASD to ring true. Still, there wasn't a better fit, and it ultimately didn't matter! He clearly was sensitive to sounds, so AIT was a good treatment option for him.

The parents had previously tried Samonis CD's with Nick, but he couldn't tolerate listening to them for even a few seconds! The speech therapist who had recommended that treatment persisted with it, then suggested that if he couldn't tolerate these CD's for even a few moments, there was no way he'd tolerate 30 minutes of Berard-type AIT!

But he did. From the very first day, he had no problem listening to the music. Why? Because our system eases the ears into it by starting off very quietly and gradually building to full volume. Also, and probably more relevant in this case, the CD's we use treat all frequencies simultaneously, jumping around from one to the next, so that there's no resting on uncomfortable frequencies. This makes it much easier for people to tolerate than the discs that focus on a single frequencies, as in the case with Samonis.

As he was receiving AIT, I had the opportunity to get to know his wonderful parents, and admire their commitment to find whatever treatment was necessary to help their son. They spoke with such sadness about the way Nick treated his brother, who was about 2 at the time. When the toddler would come in the room, Nick would run out of the room. When the toddler would talk, Nick would scream. When the toddler would cry, Nick would hit him. And perhaps the most heartbreaking part... the toddler adored his big brother and wanted to play with him all the time!

On the 7th day of AIT, the family came in to me for their 2nd session with big news! The parents reported that Nick had asked to play with his brother! For the first time ever! And they did! They played together, without fighting, hitting, or screaming! At long last!!!

The parents continued to see Nick improve by leaps and bounds. Within months, he was reassessed and found to no longer merit a diagnosis! Did he overcome autism? Or was it something less severe than autism, a more straightforward acute hyperacousis? I can't say for certain. BUT, I can say this for certain: He was an unhappy little boy who couldn't enjoy even the little things in life before AIT. Now, he races into life, living fully and with joy. And you can't tell, from watching him, that he ever had a day's struggle in his life!

Nick's story can be found in the book, "Sound of Falling Snow: Stories of Recovery from Autism and Related Conditions," edited by Annabel Stehli. To order this book, call 1-860-355-1545.