This week you will have the first Post-Treatment session with the family to complete the post-tests after 5 months of QST. You will meet with the same parent who completed the pre-tests to complete the SSC (the Sense and Self-regulation Checklist) or the ATSC (Autism Touch and Self-regulation Checklist) and the APSI (Autism Parenting Stress Index) via an interview. If you had the parents complete the Bunse developmental checklist at pre-testing, you will also help them complete it this week as a post-test. Use the same tests as those used at pre-testing, regardless of the child’s current age. After you get the post-test results, you will complete the QST Pre-Post Graph for the family. Next week you will share this graph with the family, and use it to discuss progress and recommendations for next steps.
Usually, it takes 6-12 months for touch to return to normal, another 6 months for multi-sensory processing to return to normal, and yet another 6-12 months until the child doesn’t need the daily treatment to integrate the day’s experiences. If parents stop QST during this time frame, there is almost always a behavioral regression, suggesting that they stopped too early. Although five months is relatively early in the 2-year healing process expected with QST, you may be surprised by what you find already!
Take a look at the pre- and post ratings on the checklists, as well as at the Pre-Post Graph, and see whether the test results reflect the changes parents reported on or you have observed in the child. How far is the child from the normal ranges obtained for typical children, compared to five months ago? How much has parenting stress changed? Remember that improvement of “Touch-Pain” (SSC) or “Oral-Tactile” (ATSC) scores may slow or reverse while the child is in the hypersensitivity phase which may be experienced during the first six months or so. The same is true for “Other Sensory” scores during the second six months of treatment, when the child is learning to integrate multi-sensory information.
Assessing progress is an important skill for the Trainer and for the parent to learn. Not only does it give evidence of how far QST has brought their child, but it also gives them a way of knowing how long to continue the treatment in order to get maximum benefit for their child. Generally, they need to continue the daily QST treatment until all the sensory scores are within the normal ranges and the child no longer needs the treatment to help her integrate her daily experiences. If the parent sees signs of regression after discontinuing QST, it means they have stopped the treatment too soon, and should start again immediately.