Thursday, 6 January 2011


"Chance Favours the Prepared Mind." Louis Pasteur

I recently went to a talk given by Dimensions who described transition from child to adult services similar to falling off a cliff. I would like to add when you reach the bottom there’s also an undercurrent as well which you can’t see and don’t expect.
I should have anticipated this in the light of the
I Exist NAS campaign. But I didn’t and I am struggling with what adult services have to offer from what I have seen so far for someone with C’s level of ability and challenges (no disrespect to staff as I know they are doing their best with the training they have)

C went to a specialist school. It was full on – he had access to many basic therapies, was a part of a thriving community and the curriculum was geared to him. Lots of access to different opportunities/experiences. He leaves school and we fall off the cliff. All the stress of various battles over the years - all that education and for what?

Or this is what it feels like to me. (And its not supposed to be about me. But after 16 months C is not as settled as i would like him to be)
I don’t get it. Why do the expectations change in the adult world? Why do old stereotypes ‘still’ exist? Why don't care homes seem to socially evolve? With all the new regs about dignity, equality, human rights acts etc etc why are many attitudes still so out of date?

Is this it for C?

The universe answered me in the form of an avalanche of emails from bloggers and Fb who had seen a promotional video clip (I had also seen it but am bowled over at the kindness and thought from people letting me know) in a Jessica Kingsley Publishers newsletter - Phoebe Caldwell about Intensive Interaction.

Something I had never heard of. But something I unknowingly do naturally with C. A good example is the post I wrote about C’s and my first clubbing experience. I have now read every book ever written on the subject and through googling I found a local organization that run workshops using Intensive Interaction! I went to one of their meetings for practitioners across the SE and sat there overwhelmed - stunned -  fighting back the tears listening to their stories that here were a group of people passionate about making a difference to 'pre-verbal' people’s lives.

At the same time as this was unfolding I was in talks with C’s service provider about – 'is this it for C'. And the service manager asked me what they could do – out of my handbag I produced an Intensive Interaction book. She had heard of it so I pushed my luck a bit further and produced an application form for a workshop.

They are sending 4 staff on the course. As you can imagine I am over the moon. I am also going on the course – and am really looking forward to ‘working together’ with staff and with C.

All this came about through blogging. Through chance. Something I will not leave C’s future too.
So thank you everyone. I will keep you posted how it goes.

A new year and I hope a new beginning.


Akelamalu said...

Oh that is just W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L!!

Happy Elf Mom said...

Always good to hear from you and C!! Am having a rough day... can't even think about adulthood for my children yet! :)

Cathy said...

Fantastic! Son 2's first speech therapist had worked with Hewett and Nind at Harperbury Hospital where Intensive Interaction started, so I was sort of introduced to some of the techniques early on, without knowing what it was. Like you we've just done things instinctively and son 2 now communicates well for a nonverbal person. I think there are so many approaxches out there that adult services just don't know about so it's great that C's team are interested and proactive. It will be so good for him.

Big Daddy Autism said...

Although I live a continent away and my son is only 13, this gives me hope.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Fantastic news! I can't wait to hear all about the course :D
Love to you & C, BG Xx

Maggie May said...

What a wonderful interaction. The way Ollie's face lit up was quite a tear jerker for me.
I think C is so fortunate to have a mum like you!
It must be quite a wonderful new beginning.... this course, the staff being trained at the care home and the start of a New Year.Hope, definitely.

I must admit that my daughter is dreading my grandson having his school structure interrupted while the class takes exams. He won't cope too well with that. The time is drawing towards school leaving very fast and he has been doing very well.
I am wondering what there will be for him too when the schooling ends.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Suburbia said...

The blogging world seems so very compassionate and caring, I love it
Good luck by the way

Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle said...

This is so wonderful! I just watched the video on YouTube about Reaching Ricky as well and it was amazing!

I am thinking about how this could help my son, who is very verbal but fairly clueless about pragmatics. I am realizing that I need to be more attentive and responsive when he is going on and on about his special interests and see if it changes the nature of our interactions at all.

I can't wait to see how this helps C and the adults in his life to develop the ability to engage with each other more - I am tearing up just anticipating how this could change your lives!

dluvscoke said...

I remember feeling this way when Cody left the public school system. Now he attends a Day Program and enjoys going, but he doesn't use his braille and cane-mobility skills near as often as I thought he would. There is really no need because everyone around him is sighted. I don't regret the fact that Cody learned braille and cane mobility, but I wish I had not been lead to believe it would be the end of the world if he didn't.

I am happy for you and C. I hope 2011 is all that you'd like it to be.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I'm so delighted to hear this as I have just been ignoring the fact that Smiley will leave school in 4 years time, when in fact she just needs school for ever. Wishing you a happy happy new year xx

Jean said...

This is great news. My wee man is only 6, but I worry about the future. Your son has a great Mammy XXX

Kristina Hughes said...

Brilliant news, Casdock! I've been on an Intensive Interactive workshop and loved it! Got so much hope from it and have been using quite a bit with Jude - really works when he's stressed and all other channels of communication are blocked.
I can't imagine how hard it must be - the crossover to adulthood - for you and C. You must feel so let down. However, it just takes one little bit of hope and one amazing person like you to make a difference to lots of others.
I look forward to future blogs about it. xx

Mary Moustakas said...

I do this with my children all the time...they love it. They are not autistic so it was humbling...yet sweet and sad at the same time.

Angela DeRossett said...

Amazing news!! Can't wait to hear how it works out.

Ron said...

Hello Dear Casdok~

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!! How faaaabulous! OMG, I got tears in my eyes while watching the video.

Isn't it amazing how blogging brings people together of like minds, where we can support, share, and contribute with one another?

The best to you and C. Can't wait to hear how this goes!

Sending lots of good energy and love your way!


P.S. And Happy New Year, dear lady!

Danni said...

Awesomesauce! :D

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

How wonderful that your suggestion was well receieved! But my heart aches, too, knowing people in our country facing the same situation as their children become adults and suddenly there is very little support available for them--and adulthood lasts a long time!

Gina @ Special Happens said...

This is amazing. I watched some of the collections of videos on youtube and the change is nothing short of inspiring.

Paulene Angela said...

Call it chance, I like to call it "connections" and you made this happen Casdok really all your hard work and dedication. To have a service manager ask you "what can they do" and you being you, are the guiding light.

You cannot imagine how happy I am for you and C, this is going to an exciting step.

Paulene Angela said...

Call it chance, I like to call it "connections" and you made this happen Casdok really all your hard work and dedication. To have a service manager ask you "what can they do" and you being you, are the guiding light.

You cannot imagine how happy I am for you and C, this is going to an exciting step.

Trish said...

I just had to come back and tell you that I tried this with Michael and it worked! I was a bit skeptical since he is so "high functioning" (not a big fan of that phrase, but anyway).

We had a snow delay for school this morning and he was on the computer and getting extremely upset about it not working properly. I said I would look at it and asked him to turn off the white noise machine. As he was turning it off, he said he would be the white noise machine and he made the noise it makes.

I took my chance and made the noise with him. He reacted exactly like the nonverbal boy in the video. As we kept doing it, he came over to me, got close to my face, turned away and then came back for me, made the noise in my ear, laughed with delight, etc.

Within a minute or so, the agitation was completely gone and we were able to talk about the computer problem calmly. In the past, it would have taken several minutes of working through it verbally and maybe some tight hugs to help him calm down, and even then the next problem would escalate him much faster.

I can hardly believe it, but it worked!

Debs Carr said...

How wonderful that they're sending members of staff on the course and that they're wanting to learn more. Sounds very positive.

Club 166 said...


Sounds like you are continuing to be successful in advocating for all that is possible for C. Good for you (and C)!


Anonymous said...

Hello Casdok,
Nice work!!
Yes the power of blogging is truly amazing.
I find it a great support and great therapy.
Hope you and C have a wonderful happy new year.
Bruce :)
P.S. I hope this isn't a duplicate. I was having some trouble posting my comment.

Laurie Wallin said...

Hello! So glad you stopped by to say hi today for the Philippe Petit book giveaway. What you said here hits home. It's so easy to be anxious about what will happen to our kids as they grow... and so neat when something gives us hope!

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Brilliant news! So glad they are taking it seriously and sending four staff members. Sending continued positive thoughts your way!

Anonymous said...

that video reduced me to a puddle .. so absolutely beautiful.

i'm thrilled that c's home is invested in this. may it reap immeasurable rewards for him.


4timesblessed said...

This is wonderful. Great job advocating and happy thoughts to be sent your way

bbsmum said...

I'm a huge fan of Intensive Interaction. Apart from anything else, it's FUN! Although I.I. is aimed at non-verbal people, it can be adapted for all on the spectrum.
Sadly, you're right about adult services. Falling off a cliff is exactly how I'm feeling :(

secret agent woman said...

That's fantastic - good for you for asking for what you want for C.

kathleen said...

They listened to you-took your suggestion and went with it! That in itself is reason for celebration.. But to find something-not just anything..but SOMETHING that makes sense-People who share the same passion!!! How absolutely fabulous!

Bonnie said...

Jen, I thought this was incredible when I saw it! I was moved to tears to see these kids and adults respond so positively and strongly from this interaction. Of course we need to get into their world! Duh, it's too damn hard for them to get in our crazy, materialistic, shallow world! I love that you pushed to have this therapy used in C's residence, and I can't wait to hear how it works for he and his friends! Please keep us updated!

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg said...

Absolutely awesome, Casdok! It seems like you always find a way to move the situation forward.

All the best to you and C!

Julie L. said...

I loved the You Tube video with Ollie and Phoebe Caldwell. Was so great to see the transformation that came over Ollie as a result of the technique. Beautiful. Obviously it works. He looked so overjoyed to have an opportunity to engage with someone in a way that he could appreciate.

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

This is SO great. Can't wait to read more.

<3, New Follower

Anonymous said...

A really positive outcome - let's hope it is the beginning of the return to the top of the cliff, and next time you don't fall off.

When I went to the Robert Ogden School last November, I asked a member of staff, "where do the students go after here?" She replied, rather matter of fact, "most of them go into homes, or just go to live with their families, depending on their abilitites." I found this very sad indeed. I wondered if all the hard work, all the fighting, all the battles was actually worth it after all the years of trying to better our child's education/social abilities, only to see them fall of that cliff and have to fight some more as they reached the bottom.

Happy New Year, btw. CJ xx

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in chance, but whatever reason you credit - give some to yourself! Blogging is an effort and no doubt the good that has come back to you is karma.

BCC said...

WOW! She is remarkable - what an amazing technique. What a gift. Congratulations on moving that forward.

Anonymous said...

The young man in the video was so obviously anxious at first and then so happy and connected when the woman was interacting with him.

It's strange because I often whisper in Katie's ear and she loves it. I'm going to look into this. Thanks Jen.

D.J.Kirkby said...

Wow, what a fantastic post. I am so thrilled for C, for you, for everyone who may benefit from Intensive Interaction. I'm glad you're going on the course because I think it is something you are going to be VERY good at.

Fiona said...

What a wonderful post. Intensive interaction is something we do with J quite instinctively. He particularly responds to gentle stimulation under his chin. The video reduced me to tears. To watch that young man respond with such pleasure was amazing. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

littleob said...

Beginning April 18, 2011, I will begin my walk across America. I will be starting in New York and end in California. It will be a long journey but with your support, I'm sure I will make it!