Autism Therapy, Consequences, and Mom Hanging Tough
A few weeks ago we started a new therapy program for Rachel. Our new therapist is trained in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), and we became acquainted with her through church. I want to start by saying I am not endorsing this program over any other, but after numerous conversations with this lady, I realized she is what Rachel needs.
First of all, our therapist is a firm believer in compliance. This doesn’t mean robotic obedience, but it does entail following rules, which is important for any child. She has high expectations for Rachel and believes Rachel is very intelligent. She also says that she doesn’t have all the answers, which is an important concept for a therapist to believe, in my opinion.
The first session; however, was anything but stellar. They went upstairs to the therapy room and… Rachel spent the next hour screaming in anger. Several times I heard the therapist say, “What? I don’t know what you mean?” My first instinct was to go upstairs and rescue Rachel. I knew what she wanted, and I hate to hear her scream.
But then I thought about it. I remember children screaming at me because they didn’t want to complete a task when I worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist. The therapist was “playing dumb” to get Rachel to better communicate. Furthermore, she had to establish therapeutic control in the beginning, or there would be a constant power struggle. And you know what? I often feel like screaming when I see piles of laundry, but I’ve had to learn that just because something is hard, doesn’t mean I don’t have to do it. Rachel must learn the same lesson.
That first session, Rachel screamed for 45 minutes. Why? She didn’t want to sit down at the table to work. But I was so glad I didn’t interfere. After only a few sessions, Rachel has already started complying more at home with us. Plus, she is using more words. In fact, when she is upset, she uses lots of language. The last session, Rachel went right upstairs to get to work.