At the last count, there are almost 312 therapies including complementary programs and therapeutic equipment. Some schools use only one while others combined them. How do you choose?
So far the therapy that has produced the most evidence-based results is ABA, however, to get the most out of therapy, more than one option can be considered. A survey done among parents shows that the majority does ABA, PECS, RDI, PRT and a complementary therapy like music therapy, swimming or horse therapy.
Some of the therapies used by the centres I have looked are AIMS, PECS, RDI, ABA, VB, PRT, TEACCH, DIR Floortime, SCERTS, HANDLE, Brain Gym, PROMPT, Social Stories, RMT, Tomatis
A word of caution: ABA is very strict. There are a lot of Autistic adults that absolutely hates ABA and feel it is a form of child abuse.
For an update on our treatments and therapies followed, click here.
Blood tests and Stool tests:
Blood Test – April: So his blood results can back. One Low Iron store (for which Dr Lindenberg prescribed P5P), his B12 is a bit high, non-specific inflammation on his white blood cells, Electrolytes normal, Inflammation marker normal, Folate metabolism seems normal and his levels are quite high, Thyroid normal and Vit D is a bit too low (one would think that living in a sunny country like South Africa, that will not be a problem. But apparently it is not enough).
Stool Test – June: The stool test shows evidence of Candida infection, there was also signs of intestinal inflammation (which showed in the blood test results as inflammation in his white blood cells).
(We chose to follow the Integrative Medicine route first because at that time we felt it was the way to go. Many parents start with the more conventional route and then later look at food and supplementation. We only later realised that if food and supplements were going to be part of your treatment plan, we were going to need more conventual help. And there is nothing wrong with our choice, Autism just requires a whole body/ Mind approach. – 2019)
Medication and Supplements
Melatonin – It is not a “sleeping pill”, it will not put you to sleep, but it will help make you drowsy and help with the sleep-wake cycle. At the moment I only give it to Alex every second night. This is only available via script. Note: If your little one does have a sleeping problem, speak to your doctor about it in order to figure out what the cause is. They will know what treatment to prescribe.
mB12 (Methyl B12) – This one was a bit of a surprise for even me. It helps with cognitive development and stimulates the centre in the brain responsible for language development. Note: Some children develop challenging behaviour from B12, folate and B-vitamins.
Omega 3 + 6 – Fish oil/ Omega-3 supplement that helps with concentration. (bought at pharmacies or Pick ‘n Pay or Checkers.) Side note: If your child does not like the fishy taste, any Omega 3 supplement with Zinc, B6 and Vit D.
p5p – Active B6 – In your body, P5P plays a fundamental role in amino acid metabolism, heme biosynthesis, neurotransmitter biosynthesis, collagen formation and glucocorticoid action. Additionally, P5P helps to balance your sodium and potassium levels by regulating the electrical functioning of your nerves, heart and musculoskeletal system. Alone and together with other enzymes, P5P helps your body to build and break down amino acids and to change amino acids from one to another. Further, P5P facilitates the release of stored energy from your liver and muscles and facilitates the production of antibodies and red blood cells.
Vitamin D – promotes calcium absorption in the gut. Calcium, in turn, helps with bone growth and strength. It also helps with the modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation.
Zinplex – Multi-mineral supplement which helps with:
- Assists with the boosting and development of the immune system
- Could help combat colds, flu, runny nose and oral thrush.
- Can help treat and reduce the incidence of diarrhoea.
- Can assist to improve concentration ability in young children.
Zinplex Junior should be used for children from 2 months to 6 years.
Diflucan / fluconazole – Is a strong anti-fungal use to treat Candida infections.
Vivomixx or Metagenics Ultraflora Synergy – concentrated probiotic food supplement that contains 112 billion live lyophilized bacteria with 8 carefully selected strains. – I am currently using Reuterina with Vit D probiotic drops.
L-glutamine/ IgG 2000 or Epicor – is an immunoglobulin concentrate derived from colostral whey peptides. These components support immune function, healthy cytokine activity, gut barrier function, and gastrointestinal health and tissue repair.
Multi-Vitamin – Any multivitamin is good, but anything that is like a gummy sweet is a winner because they think they are getting a sweetie.
Meal Supplements – Supplement for picky eaters can be used as a shake to help add vitamins and mineral that your child does not get in because he is not eating fruit or vegetables. If your child is placed on a GFCF diet makes sure the meal supplement does not contain any wheat (gluten) or milk (whey/ casein) elements.
If you want to help them pick up weight, you can try whey powder.
Please note: Meal Supplements is not a long term solution.
A more detailed blog post will be made regarding all the vitamins and supplement, for now, click here.
Because Autistic children suffer from eating properly, your doctor will prescribe that your child goes on a special eating plan, normally a gluten free/casein free diet. But not always. The eating plan is normally prescribed after a stool test is done. Products also given is Ultraflora which is a Probiotics, and depending on your doctor, they will suggest the use of kefir (click on the link to go to the website of Nadia Swart called Natural Green and read about milk and water kefir).
If you have gone through the Hospital for the diagnoses, they will refer you to the Feeding Clinic which is part of the Speech Therapy and Auditory Department. If the eating problem is related to sensory issues, they will refer you to someone working with sensory problems.
Looking for the right School/ programme for your child is difficult and it depends on their age and skill set/ Developmental age as well. Most of these programs only run until a certain age, all the while you apply for your child at either of the two Government funded schools: Vera School or Alpha School, or at one of the Special Needs schools that cater for children with learning difficulties.
Here is my list:
- KidStart and Kidstart Plus at the KidStart Early Intervention Centre uses AIMS as well as a computer program called GemIIni Education System. KidStart has classes from Grade R to Grade 3
- SNAP (Special Needs Adapted Program) – SNAP Lite (Parent and Care Giver training), SNAP Education Home Programs and SNAP Academy, they have their own specialised programs.
- Broad Horizons Academy uses Makaton, RPM, Alternative Augmentative Communication, RDI, Modelling and PECS. (sadly this centre is not running anymore)Their home-based and facilitator programs are run by Uniqminds
- Braintrain 100 caters for a wide range of Neurological conditions, Learning disabilities and Movement Disorders.
- ASAP (AutismSpectrumAdaptivePrograme), they offer the Alphabet soup in therapies.
- MindStretch uses HANDLE
- Sense-Ability also uses a mixture of therapies.
- Centre 4 Play and Learning also uses varies techniques.
- LeftNet (learner facilitator and tutor network)- The guy that runs this database can provide you with a list of tutors and facilitator that are fully trained and qualified to create the best program for your child’s needs. They partner with CHAMPS (GROWING CHAMPS Facilitator, Tutor & Au Pair Group).
- Marina Grobler ADD/ADHA Therapeutic Approach, uses Tomatis, qEEG and Neurotherapy
- Polka Spot Early Intervention Centre also a multi-discipline centre.
- Chere Botha School for Autism and Down’s Syndrome
- Paarl Skool for special needs children
- Pokkelmander – Reading and Learning Centre
Thinking of actually homeschooling your child, it would be wise to join a homeschooling group, also you will need to decide whether you will use CAPS (Government choice) or Impaq (Home Schoolers and private centres choice).
The groups are:
- Homeschooling SA (Facebook) and website
- Homeschooling Special Needs in South Africa
- Western Cape Education Department online resources (Grade R – 12)
- Department of Education (National Government)
And for legal and protection against Government, it is important to join the Pestalozzi Trust.
Before we started with the therapy, we used the programs: Starfall and Starfall Download Centre, Coilbook™/Learning for Children on Youtube, Toddler Fun Learning on Youtube, ELF Kids Videos on Youtube, Caillou for Social Stories and DLTK’s Crafts for Kids, Kids go Flash (only works on Explorer – the blue “E”)
Therapies – April 2016
So we have decided to go with KidStart Plus, which is the home-based option presented by KidStart Early Intervention Centre. Unfortunately, he can only attend the program till he is 6, but by then we hope to have attended a mainstream school or Vera or Alpha.
Auntie Vanessa has teamed up with the tutor of KidStart, Katherine and Deidre, to make life a little bit less difficult. They are working on Language development, Social behaviour and Sensory coping strategies. Update on the tutor, here.
01/01/2017 Alex will be attending a small school – Broad Horizons Academy.
On Friday we received a call from Dorothea Special School. He will go for his interview on Tuesday, 24 January 2017.
We went for an interview on a cloudy and rainy day. He enjoyed playing with the teachers while we answered 20 questions.
01/11/2017 – Sadly, Broad Horizons Academy had to close their doors. It was a sad day at the end of November.
01/01/2018 – For a while, he attended at Pokkelmander Learning and Reading Centre.
March 2018 – Alex went back to Dorothea for his 2-week assessment.
April 2018 – Alex is now officially in a big school – hurray!
2019 – Big School round 2