Ryan is a 3 ½ year old boy. He was diagnosed at age 2 with autism spectrum disorder .He started on the GFCF diet since age 2 and is on biomedical intervention, speech therapy, occupational therapy and ABA. Ryan is good at identifying colors, numbers, alphabets, animals, plants and dinosaurs. He has very good memory for objects. He is able to say limited sentences with prompting “ I like to drink milk”. “ I like to wipe” “Give me” or “ I want” , but it is all rote, limited and memorized. It is also difficult to understand some words that he says.
Ryan is hyperactive. He has fleeting eye contact. He doesn’t have good balance and falls often. He has a fixation on jumping on beds . It is hard to get him to stop when he starts jumping on a bed.
Mom looks tired and frustrated when we talk. She tells me about her first visit to the doctor who diagnosed Ryan with autism and how the doctor almost laughed when she asked if her son’s condition was curable. There are times that she doesn’t know what to do anymore. She finds it difficult to understand Ryan’s quirks. She’s trying her best in giving him time, attention, and therapy. Even bedtime is a difficult routine, Ryan would even pull her hair if he doesn’t want to go to sleep yet.
Like most children with ASD, Ryan often needs instructions repeated five times before he follows. He doesn’t seem to like to listen and does only what he likes. He has slowed or delayed response to verbal stimuli. He has poor comprehension. He learns poorly through verbal instruction. He is more of a visual learner.
Interestingly, Ryan loves to read. He would always been seen flipping through the pages of a book or a magazine and reading out loud words or phrases that are beyond his age. He spends an average of 2 minutes on a book, randomly reading words aloud and flipping through. He has short attention span and reads without understanding the meaning of the words. Mom feels that Ryan knows a lot, but he ‘s has difficulty trying to express what he knows and wants.
Ryan often seems to be in another world. He doesn’t play well with other children. He has poor organizational skills. He babbles. He likes to memorizes words. He prefers to play alone. Ryan ignores people especially when they ask him questions. Ryan has to be prompted at least five (5) times before he will answer a question. He never asks permission before he does anything.
As far as Mom can remember, Ryan has been hypersensitive to sound. He is easily distracted by noise especially the TV. He refuses to go into parties. He hates going to Chinese restaurants and would rather stay outside than go in. He generally hates loud sounds. He would often have a 30 minute meltdown when forced to go inside.
Autism advocate Thomas Mc Kean noted in his observations that there seems to be some correlation in violent behavior (i.e. meltdown) and auditory triggers. He suggests that parents looks for the source of the sound causing distress. In Ryan’s case, it is the loudness of the party. To avoid meltdowns, Ryan, his mom and his yaya, woud stay outside the restaurant.
Mom recalls when Ryan was younger, how he would refuse to have a haircut. Luckily, he has outgrown his fear of having haircuts. Similarly he used to have tactile issues with shoes, but this has been resolved ever since they decided through therapy and other interventions like GFCF.
Mom’s wishes that AIT would help him improve his attention span. Help him tolerate restaurant noise so they could eat out like regular families do. She wishes that Ryan would have less sensory problems and have better response to name calling and eye contact. She also wishes that Ryan would be able to learn to communicate better through verbal instruction.
His mom and I both discover that Ryan can’t stand the AIT therapy. He spent thirty (30) minutes crying and pulling at his mom’s hair or yaya’s hair just to get them to let go of him. He struggled to remove headphones. Mom was worried that Ryan would refuse to go back for his 1st day of AIT.
Ryan complied with headphones usage for the first 2 minutes, and the rest was a big struggle. It took three (3 ) people to let him comply. By the 2nd half of the session, he refused to go in the center. It was a struggle bringing him in. Teacher Steph had to carry him in and he was trying to pull her hair.
During the break, Mom took Ryan along to visit a friend’s house. Ryan wanted to jump on the friend’s bed. Mom prevented Ryan from jumping on the bed and Ryan decided to have a 30 minute meltdown.
Ryan was upset during the 2nd session, but ended up complying as long as his mom stopped holding him. He kept saying “’I’m trapped”, “I’m in a trapped.” On the other hand he would say nonsensical things like “parents and children” . He had a hard time saying “Remove”.
Ryan had to be held again. He would often try to remove his headphones. He was generally very uncooperative. He would say “it’s a trap.” He amazed us by showing us that he is able to read long paragraphs by himself from the Frog book.
Initially he made Teacher Steph read, but in the end he read the book by himself with a little help on long words like “Calaveros County” or “herpetologist”, but he was able to remember how to pronounce them correctly.
Mom was amazed because before AIT, Ryan couldn’t even focus long enough to finish a paragraph. He would often skip pages.
Ryan cried at mid therapy. He was so upset that we had to restrain him. He kept pulling mom’s hair or even yaya’s hair in retaliation. Teacher Steph had to do timeout for Ryan several times until he calmed down. This is to teach Ryan that hair pulling or hurting others has a consequence. This happens to be Mom’s biggest problem with Ryan.
Ryan took out his anger on the poor unsuspecting driver waiting for him. Without any warning, Ryan began pulling on the driver’s hair as soon as he got close and wouldn’t let go until Mom hit his hand.
Ryan was very compliant today and did not have to be held. This is the first time his dad accompanied him.
2nd session. Ryan went in by himself, lay down and just allowed Teacher Steph to put on the headphones without a fuss. He was generally behaved.
Ryan was so upset while going to therapy. He kept on pulling his mommy’s hair. He also kept on crying during the sessions. He is frustrated and unable to say what he really wants. Just keeps saying “ frog, elevator and milk.” over and over again.
Ryan walks in and greets Ate Kris by saying “ Smile”. Everyone is surprised by his greeting as he normally just goes in without ever greeting anyone.
1st session: Ryan was very calm and behaved during the first session.
2nd session: Ryan was irritated during the 2nd session and would try to remove the headphone from his right ear. He had a tantrum and fell asleep during the session.
Ryan’s mom brought him to Shangri-la mall. They stood in line while waiting for the elevator to open. Once the elevator opened, Ryan reacted at seeing so many children inside the elevator and said out loud “so many kids.”
The adults in the elevator laughed. Mom was very surprised that Ryan was so observant and was able to express his thoughts.
That night Mom and Dad were discussing something in front of Ryan. When Mom mentioned “Teacher Steph”, Ryan suddenly went up to his Mommy and grasped her shoulder saying “ I want to go to Teacher Steph.” Mom was surprised that Ryan was actually listening in on their conversation, before he would never pay attention to them when they were talking.
While they were on their way to the center, Mom was surprised to hear Ryan say “Beep said the car.”
1st session: Ryan was well behaved during the therapy and surprised us all by saying “all done” when the music stopped.
2nd session: Ryan had a meltdown. But the meltdown did not last longer than 5 minutes. During his meltdown, everyone in the room ignored him. Ryan’s meltdown would usually last for more than 30 minutes, culminating in hair pulling.
Mom observed a few things after the AIT sessions, Ryan’s words and pronunciation are a lot clearer than before . On the way to the restaurant, Mom told Ryan that she did not want him to play the IPAD in the car. He could play the IPAD once they reached the restaurant. Ryan amazed Mom by willingly putting the IPAD away.
A few days ago, you could not even get Ryan to comply without repeated prompts as Ryan is very attached to his IPAD. Ryan also tried to confirm what his Mom told him by saying ‘ IPAD in restaurant?”. Mom said “Yes, IPAD in the restaurant only.”
Mom also observed Ryan flipping through her magazines. At one point, Ryan wasn’t that careful with the way he would flipped through the magazines and accidentally crumpled a page. Normally, he never cares if he damages the magazine, but this time was different.
Mom was surprised that Ryan seemed worried that he damaged the magazine. He even tried to flatten the creases by himself before hiding the magazine away. Mom was amused because it seemed that Ryan was aware that he could get into trouble because he damaged Mom’s magazine. He also surprised Mom by saying “Bye magazine, see you tomorrow.”
There was a family gathering at the restaurant they went to. One of Ryan’s aunties approached him and asked how old he was. Ryan surprised everyone again by promptly answering “4 years old”.
1st session : Ryan was irritable for a while then behaved. Ryan kept giving his Mom orders during the session. He would say commands and expect his mom to follow them. The commands he would say are “Mommy trap (it’s like a hug). Mommy cry (Mom would pretend to cry). Mommy hide (Mommy would hide her face). Mommy laugh. Mommy dance. Mommy stand, etc.
This is not something that Ryan would typically do- before he would only say Mommy laugh. Mommy was happy that Ryan would really watch and smile whenever his Mom followed his commands. After the session, he said “ All Done.”
After the session, Ryan told his Mom “ I want. I want to go to restaurant.”
During lunch time, Ryan was rather behaved eating his GFCF food. The only time he nearly had a meltdown was when he accidentally spilled water on the magazine. He got so agitated that he nearly cried. When Teacher Steph gave him a table napkin to wipe the spilled water, he did his best to wipe the magazine page dry.
2nd session: Ryan fell partly asleep during the session. At the end of the session, Ryan automatically said “Please remove. All done” We all praised him for being able to say those words all by himself without any prompting. He got his magazine again from his Mom and proceed to browse though the magazine saying. “so many logo quizzes. Fendi Channel. LV. Coach.”
When he notices his Mom looking at him, he says “Smile”.
That night, Mom forgot to give Ryan his melatonin. Ryan had a long undisturbed sleep. Before when Ryan wasn’t taking melatonin, he would sleep and wake up every few hours or so. Typical sleeping patterns with melatonin would last from 8 pm to 6 am. Today, Ryan amazingly overslept. It was hard to wake him up.
Mom also noticed that his reading was now more expressive and action oriented. He would place emphasis on certain words.
Yesterday’s conversation went like this:
Mom : “Ryan do you want to pee?”
Ryan: “I need to pee. I need to poo.”
Mom is again surprised his reply. She brought him to the toilet where he actually peed and pooed.
Mom was again surprised by Ryan asking for water.
Ryan : “Get water, I’m so thirsty.”
Mom was happy with these developments as she had spent several months trying to teach Ryan to say those sentences and he would never repeat or follow.
1st Session: Ryan tried to remove headphone on the right ear. He has difficulty with certain sounds in the program. Mom had to hold him for a while but he eventually calmed down.
After the session, Ryan said : “I like to swim in the water. I like to drink water.” 2nd session: Teacher Steph said goodbye. This is the first time Ryan looked at me in the eyes and replied: “Bye, Teacher Steph.”
That night, Mom saw Ryan initiate pretend play for the first time with a toy dinosaur. He pretended that the dinosaur was opening the cabinet by itself. He would try opening the cabinet by himself as well. He also got the dinosaur to climb the stones.
1st session: Ryan was cooperative and now a little more talkative and would recite brand names aloud. Coors, Chevron, Fendi, LV, Nike, Addidas… etc..
On the break, Ryan went with his mom to the furniture shop. Ryan wanted to jump on the beds. Luckily, Mom was able to talk him out of jumping on the beds by promising him the IPAD. Unfortunately, when Mom gave the IPAD, the IPAD ran out of batteries. He nearly had a meltdown again. Mom was again able to reason with Ryan not to get angry.
This is not Ryan’s typical behaviour. He often could not be reasoned with.
New things that Ryan said during the session:
Ryan says a lot of words or phrases that he recalls but they don’t seem to be connected to each other.
New things that Ryan said during the session:
“Baby and Mama are angry. “
“She is in Sound Therapy Center.”
“ Mommy clap. Mommy hide. Wacky star! Mommy hide.”
He pulled Mommy’s hair a little but let go after a short while. Mom says that Ryan’s hair pulling behaviour has improved since we gave him timeout as a consequence. He was able to say “All Done” immediately as soon as the music stopped.
He was also able to say “Hug your tummy.” when he’s had a tantrum. Mom always tells him to just hug his tummy when angry. Mom was happy that Ryan remembered what she taught him.
2nd session: Ryan kept playing a game with Mommy and giving her commands like: “Mommy shout”. Mommy would then shout “Ah!”. Ryan would laugh. He would also give random commands like “ Mommy fly”, “Mommy cry”, “ Mommy catch”, “Mommy hide”. He would also say random words and phrases like “Breeze”, “ Jungo said “Brush your hair” , “song and dance!” . He would also recite sentences that his mother would say like “No grabbing hair”, “No biting” ,“Mommy biting”, and “Mommy clap”.
During lunch time, Yaya was getting Ryan to eat. Mom overhead Ryan telling Yaya “I will eat later ! No! No Food!”. Ryan has never complained to Yaya about his food or wanting to eat.
During the evening, Ryan was able to say the following sentences:
‘ Hide under the blanket. “ “ Ryan is hiding from light.” “ There are magazines in the crib.” , “ Ask permission.”
Mom laughed at Ryan when she noticed him looking at a magazine ad and pointed out the Estee Lauder perfume being covered by Clinique model. He said “ I can’t see Estee Lauder. The girl can see Clinique.”
He has also started being able to complete simple sentences like “ You are Mommy.” and issue commands like “ Walk with me”.
Ryan’s mom says that her decision to do AIT is something that she doesn’t regret. When she first heard about AIT, she was initially skeptical. She went through the website and recognized her son’s symptoms. She wanted to try in the hopes that AIT would help him. AIT ‘s benefits are different for each and every child. Mom is just glad that she took the chance.
Ryan is easier to teach and to talk to. He is also better at controlling his frustration as he is better able to comprehend what his mother wants him to do. At the end of the 10 days, Ryan’s mom is happier, her face is more relaxed. She has high hopes for Ryan in future.