This week, you will make coaching/treatment visits 15 & 16. Post your case notes in the Discussion Forum immediately following your treatment visit. Your supervisor will read your weekly case notes on the forum and provide feedback and answer any questions you may have. In your case notes, use ONLY the INITIALS of the child with whom you are working! This will protect the privacy of the child.
This week we will review more about the healing process with QST. As touch is restored and the child recovers a whole-body sense of self, her will emerges, and the parents may find themselves parenting a “terrible-two” toddler, instead of an autistic 5 year-old. At first, they may think this is a behavioral regression, because the child says “No!” in situations she didn’t before, but it is your job to reassure them that it is absolutely a sign of progress! The child is now ready to learn about choices and limits, and she will move quickly through the “Terrible Twos” once parents adjust their parenting to what she needs to learn at this developmental stage.
Or, as a high functioning child becomes more self-aware, it may become evident that he is using anger, ultimatums and the threat of tantrums to control what the family does. This is definitely not a good situation for anyone, and parenting can be adjusted to include clear rules, guidelines and limits.
You will also need to recognize if and when the child goes into “the hypersensitivity phase.” Now that she has a sense of self, is aware of where she is, who she is with, and what she is seeing and hearing, she is learning to integrate multi-sensory information. She may get overstimulated and overwhelmed at times. This is a predictable stage in the healing process, and requires a change in technique from patting to pressing until the stage has passed. In some children this stage is relatively mild, in others, it is more noticeable. Attuning the treatment will calm the child’s nervous system and help him integrate on a daily basis.
The third thing that can happen at any time during QST, and be misinterpreted as a side-effect of the treatment, is regression, or loss of skills. QST does not cause regression. All children experience regression with life changes such as illness, a new sibling, or a new school, but since children with autism have a more difficult time dealing with change, regression can be triggered more easily and last longer. Thus, it is important to recognize regression when it happens, determine its cause, reassure the parent, and help the parent to give the child extra support while they make the adjustment to change.