I personally have difficulty using behavioral therapies as the “proven” therapies to use for a child who does not have a behavioral problem but rather has a neurological one. I recently saw a video put out by Dr. John Carpente of Molloy College on DIR Floortime and “Play”. Check out this DIR/Floortime Research…thanks Carol Ann LoPinto Blank for sharing this…http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/
It seems to me that the “symptoms” of autism have been placed under the “behavioral” category. So instead of treating the difficulty, helping to repave or connect new neural pathways that may not have developed properly, education and insurance have chosen to fund treating the symptoms, or overlook the problem entirely and re-condition the child to behave as if he had developed typically. In my opinion, any “behavioral” therapy, as the defining therapy, implies the wrong answer by it’s very name. Implementing this adjunctly, yes, could be a great asset to assisting the child in the everyday world.Conditioning the responses, however again in my opinion, is not aiding in helping neural difficulties in Autism that make typical functioning difficult.
When I work with autistic clients, I always ask the parent “What is it you want most for your child out of therapy? The unanimous answer they give, apparently not only to me, but also those involved with IEP’s is communication. I ask the parents because I believe the parents most often, know the greatest need (which usually validates what I see.). It is not difficult to establish some sort of communication given the right elements: time, attentiveness and openness. However, not every individual we encounter on the street is given these opportunities when meeting these youngsters. So it is essential, especially in emerging situations, that one is able to communicate to others, not necessarily given those elements. I mention this because it is not only the modality of music, but also it’s relational values, relational applications, and relational communicativeness that nurture health and neural repair. Music Therapy is different for each individual because it is relational, not a specific set of behaviors or formulas.
Here is another way to view therapies we choose to fund. Do we want “custom fit” or “one size fits all?” Custom fit being not only fitting but meeting most our needs. One size fits all is just that, it fits all, but is it flattering what strengths one already posses? Is it meeting any needs or is it just a reasonable fit? One reasonable application, for a specific need, tested over and over, repeated identically over and over on varying individuals with specifically varying needs is bound to get a result with several individuals . However, one brand, cut custom fit, will get tremendous results for the individual it is cut for and far less results with others of varying sizes – giving far less in numbers.
Lets look at this from another angle; if you were in a snowstorm without proper attire, would you lean towards a custom fit down coat with built in form fitting hood, or would you pick the one size fits all plastic, see through rain cape made for wet weather? You are guaranteed it is going to fit your very cold body and will repel water.
Personally, our family has never bought custom fit items, not even the two men in our family that are 6’7″. No cars, clothes, appliances – we can’t afford that. The one size fits all plan works for us. However, when it comes to healthcare, we can’t afford one size fits all; custom fit is all that works. For instance, my oldest son had allergic asthma as a child. He came down with some kind of severe respiratory infection every 3 weeks by the time he started kindergarten. Protocol for administering antibiotics at the time was a) fever over 101, b) green color, and c) symptoms for a specified number of days (the one size fits all plan). Time demonstrated to us that if we waited for all those signs, after antibiotics there was no infection but the boy was so worn down and weak that as soon as he got back to school he picked up the next round of whatever was going around and we did the whole process over. Missing anywhere from 4 days to two weeks of school st a time was typical. He needed the custom fit plan. The other two children, who rarely got sick, could use the one size fits all plan, it worked for them.
Another comparison is the “No child left behind” plan. How did that work out for the non-typical learners?