Walking in the shoes of Aspergers, P.D.D. and other disorders on the Autism Spectrum - Felix
Felix’s mother was a teacher and his father was a naturally motivating sales manager. The two made the perfect set of parents for Felix. One was sweet and organized and the other enthusiastic and fun!
Felix spoke in his early years with no problem. His primary issues were behavior. He had difficulty complying and accepting authority figures. For example, he would purposefully trip his little sister and refuse to go to time-out. His parents would bodily force his compliance. He screamed and threw things. His parents' primary complaints were tantrums; crying, screaming, kicking, and hitting. He would have a one track mind. If he wanted to do something, he did not stop asking or going in the direction of that desire. His fine motor skills were delayed. He lacked social skills. Often he was found alone wherever he happened to be. He refused to take part in school productions even though he and his parents practiced continuously before the performance. He often demonstrated behaviors that would lead one to believe he was “in his own world.” Attention and focusing on group lessons were difficult for Felix. He rarely knew the place when called upon by the teacher. Change in schedule or surroundings were most difficult for Felix. Since he did not pay attention much of the time, learning gaps were widening between him and his peers. By the end of his first sitting in third grade, Felix scored from one to two years below his grade. His reading was well below grade level. He was taken from school and placed in Lindamood Bell full time in another city for intensive reading training. While he improved in word call, his comprehension skills remained below grade level. Social skills were lacking tremendously. Friends were few to none.
Felix began Brainjogging in March and attending weekly sessions with a Brainjogging specialist. He enrolled in Camp Academia's Academic Reserves and Summer Canp for social skill development in May and continued through summer. His first several sessions were difficult. He refused to enter into camp activities with other students. He was forced to participate with others. On one occasion, his parents purchased a board game like one played at camp. He was taught at home before attending camp. At one point, he was asked to teach others to play.
By fall, staff at Camp Academia recommended Felix repeat the third grade. His standardized testing established academic performances that clearly placed him between first and second grade levels. He was scheduled to enter fourth grade. His mother and father were initially opposed to retention. However, after discussion with a family counselor and later a meeting with the principal, both parents agreed to another year in third grade.
Felix continued utilizing the Brainjogging program twice daily as a part of his regular routine. He entered his school lessons into the program as his data. He continued to attend Academic Reserves to build social skills once a month. The specialist visited the school to observe others at play and lunch to determine the “norm” as far a table talk and recess activities. At Academic Reserves, he was taught to play football, softball, basketball and other activities that the other boys were seen playing at school.
Felix’s parents were asked to remove movies and video games from his play choices. Playmates were carefully chosen for invitations. By Thanksgiving of that year, several teachers approached the visiting Brainjogging specialist while at the school, “Felix is a miracle! I have had him in P.E. since he was four. He plays with the other children every class. He has never done that before!”
By the first progress reporting period, Felix began to be a “team” member of the class. He paid attention and focused 90% of the time. When he was not paying attention, it was due to his desire to read his library book. His grades consisted of A's and B's. By the second half of the repeated third grade year, Felix held a strong position in the top 5% of his class. He had a great summer in Camp and continued to excel both academically and socially in the fourth grade. At a recent ball game, he was standing on the sidelines watching the game when two students from his class approached him. He proceeded to tell them about the game play and then the three remained together. Felix’s mother reported, “I never dreamed I would ever see a moment like that when others joined him on their own accord and then remained by his side.”