Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Review: Nature's New Hope

Charlottesville today. We checked out a therapy where Joey would listen to music and look at a light while lying on a table that moves. This is supposed to encourage his brain to improve his sensory integration.

The three different parts of this I have seen elsewhere. The light has to do with visual integration, but I haven't seen it in any "regular" or mainstream therapies... I hope someone will comment if they have. The table movement is for vestibular stuff, like the swings and stuff Joey does for OT. The sound is similar to therapeutic listening, which Andy starts tomorrow, and both our OT and out speech therapy folks were very happy about.

A sample session was part of the visit. He hated the table. He had to lay on his back and look at the light, but I think it made him nauseous. He preferred to sit up, but of course, that wouldn't do. But far worse, the lights had to be out. I know most autistic people prefer less light, or even dark, but Joey is really freaked by it, unless he's in his own bedroom. He hates dark. The lady tried to use the light switch as a reinforcer to encourage him to lay on his back and be still, but that made me all the more skeptical. "Do this and I'll stop torturing you" is just not what I would consider good therapy. However, he definitely was speaking better and clearer while this was all happening than I've heard from him in a while.

It costs $3000, plus the costs of being in Charlottesville for 12 days, since he would need to be there every day, twice a day.

So I would say, if you have a kid with sensory issues, and you start checking this out, I can't really say there is nothing to it at all. However, overall it seemed a little... duckish.


Club 166 said...

My two kids (Buddy Boy, 7, and Sweet Pea, almost 5) and I were watching some videos from 4 years ago.

Buddy Boy (the one on the spectrum) had only a couple of words at that point, except for when he sang. We didn't have a diagnosis yet for him at that point, but instinctively made music a large part of our/his life. We played kids music, bluegrass, Beatles, we sang, we acted out songs.

And although Buddy Boy only used a couple of words when talking to us (much of which was repeating back what we had said), he could sing almost all of several songs (I've been working on the railroad, itsy bitsy spider, twinkle twinkle little star, G-d Bless America, etc.). In retrospect, I think that music figured prominently in his speech development.

On another note, I'm not sure what all of the rest of that does (the lights and spinning). We've always used feedback from Buddy Boy to guide what we do. And sometimes on different days it's different things. Sometimes he likes deep pressure, and sometimes he doesn't want to be touched (come to think of it, I don't like the same thing all the time, either).

Good luck with whatever you go with.

Joeymom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joeymom said...

Thanks! its always nice to hear back from folks. Especially folks who get it. ;) Your other email had a funny return address, and it bounced... but yeah, we have one that appears to be actively sabotaging us. I wonder why people bother. It would be a lot less work to just let him have a piece of gum now and again.

Yeah, we're still leaning on that New Hope stuff being quack quack quack. Joey's OT does a lot with vestibular stuff, and it all seems a lot more useful to have the variety of activities rather than just being moved as if he was going up and down hills all the time. He gets carsick, after all. :P

Joey has been doing a lot of singing lately. He learned to talk by echoing TV shows, like Oobi and Little Bear, and in fact, most of his speech is an elaborate scripting. He kind of reminds me of Mrs. Who in A Wrinkle in Time- he has trouble verbalizing, and quoting is so much easier.

For the sensory stuff, we've put together little picture-books of the different stuff that is available, and then he can pick what he needs. At school, they have gum (despite the OT there), a couple different vibrators, a therapy ball, a ball pit, and a trampoline, and he has a picture of each of them. He can then flip through the book and pick what he wants. We're a little concerned that teh teacher isn't teaching him tio use it, just handing it to him (so he just picks whatever is first right now), but we'll get there. At home, we have a bean pit instead of a ball pool, and his heavy blanket in addition to the other stuff. He usually picks gum. ;)

Hope you little ones are going great today!

(removed and reposted to correct massive typos)