J. is 4 years old. He was diagnosed as a case of classic autism at age 2 years 11 months. J. Has very limited speech and does not know how to communicate. He’s hyperactive. He often takes others by the wrist to use their hands to open doors or get objects. He flaps and likes climbing on furniture.
J. often needs instructions repeated several times. He has difficulty in phonics. He often does not follow directions. He frequently says a lot of garbled words that his mom can’t usually understand.
He often memorizes words to songs or stories on video. He learns poorly through verbal instruction. He displays a slow response to verbal stimuli. He does not know the appropriate use of toys. He gives delayed response to questions and most of the time he does not reply to questions.
J.’s mom first heard about AIT through her doctor whose child had AIT in Manila several years ago. J.’s mom decided to take the chance to go to Manila in the hopes of seeing improvement in her son.
J’s mom hopes that AIT will help him with more eye contact. She also hopes that AIT can help J. speak 3 or 4 word sentences . She also wishes that J. would be able to comprehend instructions better as well as see more normal movements in her son.
J. therapies include occupational therapy once (1x) a week. He has speech therapy 1x or 2x a year whenever a speech therapist visits. There is only one occupational therapist on their island.
J. and his mom often have to travel by boat to Manila to get home programs and assessments . There are no airports in the island where J. and his mom live. Travel is difficult and the waves can be treacherously strong during the rainy season.
J. often doesn’t respond when his name is called. J.’s has tactile sensitivity in the head area. He hates having haircuts. The only time his mom can cut his hair is when he is asleep.
J. has delayed response to pain, he doesn’t like having his clothes wet. He also has a high pain tolerance. At this point in time, he needs assistance with toilet training, blowing nose and dressing up. He cannot focus long enough on tasks.
Prior to coming here, Teacher Steph asked J’s mom to let J. undergo an EENT check up. J’s mom discovered that J. had impacted earwax. J. had to be sedated in order for the doctor to remove the blackened earwax from his ears.
During evaluation, J. had to be held by his mother and yaya because he would cry and try to remove the headphones. Although J. never exhibited any form of sound sensitivity, J’s mom was surprised at his violent reaction to AIT.
Teacher Steph explained to J.’s mom that most children take sometime to get used to AIT. The change in routine combined with being in an unfamiliar place and the child’s sound sensitivity issues is a challenge for any child with autism.
J. was calm. He did not cry but after 15 minutes, he started to be restless. He would say random words like “oh no”, “Hi”, “oil”. He was able to endure the entire session.
During the second session, J. was calm and feel asleep during session.
Upon start of the session, J. said “Oh Man!” and then Teacher Steph spoke to him and said that he had to wear the headphones. Funnily J replied. “Ok. Ok.” J. was little more behaved in AIT than he was during the first time.
During the second session, J. said “goodbye dog”. He was also able to say “ all done” and “open the door” with heavy prompting.
Today he was able to say “ All done” and “Bye po” with heavy prompting. Teacher did not remove headphones until Janz complied.
During the second session, J. was able to say “ all done” after heavy prompting. Teacher Steph would not let him remove the headphones. He was restless, noisy and had difficulty with the sounds and would cry.
J. kept laughing throughout the first session. During the second session, he fell asleep.
That night he surprised him mom by saying “ Post Usap Deal”. His mom was browsing on the Sulit.com website and didn’t expect that Janz would be able to read the words.
During the session, J. read the word “bear” on Mommy’s tshirt. After the 1st session, Teacher Steph told J. to wear shoes. J. surprised Teacher Steph by replying “ I know. I know.” Teacher Steph asked J. to say “open the door.” J. refused. Teacher Steph asked Mom to leave the room.
As soon as Mom left the room, J. freaked out and threw a tantrum for ten minutes and tried to open the door by himself. J. gave up after ten minutes since Teacher Steph wouldn’t budge from the door. He was able to say “open the door” by himself and Teacher Steph automatically allowed him to go out of the room.
During the 2nd session, J got upset, cried and fell asleep. He was able to do two things today with minimal prompting – say “ all done” once the music stopped and say “open door” . When J. got out side and played with the car slide, Teacher Steph went over to play with him for a while. J. was able to say “ car” after several prompts.
J. and his mom usually stay on the rooftop garden of the building when they get to STLC early in the morning. J. noticed that there was a man exercising. J . went near and said “ HI Tito”. Mom was very much surprised as J. doesn’t usually go out of his way to greet people.
During the sessions today, J. was able to repeat the words “ laugh” , “hug”, “tickle” when taught. He doesn’t normally like to repeat words being taught to him. He said “ will go” by himself.
J. surprised his mom this morning by telling her “ Let’s open the door, Mommy.” Or “Open the door please”. J. shows better eye contact. He also cried last night because his teeth hurt.
During the second session, he was again able to say “ all done” and “ say open door”.
This morning, Mom tells me about a funny incident that happened while she was getting J. to brush his teeth. J. is due for a minor tooth surgery as he has one tooth that needs to be taken out. Naturally, he refuses to have anyone touch his teeth as he is in pain.
Mom had to force him to get him to brush his teeth via a wrestling match which Mom won. J. surprised Mom by shouting “Help me ! Help me ! Help me ! ”. At first Mom didn’t understand what J. was shouting, but it sank in that J. was actually asking for help.
J. has been very well behaved during his AIT sessions.
J. surprised Mom by pulling her hand and telling her “ Let’s Go” after eating at Ministop.
After the sessions, Teacher Steph stayed beside her wooden tree play house. J. came near and began fiddling with the playhouse and turning the wheel part of the playhouse left and right. While J. was turning the wheel, he said “Turn”.
During a visit to SM after therapy, J. noticed a little girl in the mall. He went up to a five year old girl and said “ Hi girl”.
Mom had another toothbrush wrestling experience with J. J. again surprised Mom by shouting “ Ate. Ate. Help Me!” Mom wanted to laugh.
J. went to the roof top garden again today and greeted the man on the bench “ Hi Tito.”
Teacher Steph greeted J. as she arrived in the center. J. was playing with cars. When Teacher Steph approached him, he said “ Oh no!” and ran to his mom. Teacher Steph called him and he looked at her. Teacher Steph gestured for him to come near and said “car”. J. approached slowly, Teacher Steph gave him the car and J. surprised her by getting the car and saying “Thank you” without any prompting when he got the car.
J. was well behaved. He was able to say “ wear socks and shoes” after the first session. He also said “ Let’s go” “open door” and even told Teacher Steph “ Bye” for the first time.
J. was not in a good mood after AIT but he was able to do the several drawings. It is interesting to note that even the way he would draw the number 8, the sun, rainbow, house and face and circle had remarkable difference after the sessions.
J.’s mom also noticed that he it is easier to get his attention now than it was before, but he has also gotten a bit stubborn and will ignore you if he is doing something he is very interested in.
We are thankful to J. ‘s mom for allowing us to share his story.
There are many other mothers who are like J.’s mom. In their search to give their children the best they can, these moms are forced by necessity to explore alternatives and therapies outside of the limited resources available to them. We admire mothers like J. ‘s mom. They go beyond borders and expectations.
I do hope to meet and be able to tell more stories about mothers like J.’s mom in the future and how their active efforts help change their children’s future.