Kristina came into my office three years ago – a bright, intelligent six year old who had Asperger’s syndrome, coordination disorder and anxiety. She took everything literally, so she had a hard time understanding jokes or humor in general. She was often defensive and assumed everything was a criticism. She was extremely uncoordinated and couldn’t tolerate what she perceived as failures, so she would more often than not, give up and stop trying.
I realized that the key to overcoming these problems was not simply to help her understand jokes and inferences, or learn to skip or catch a ball better. Instead, it was crucial to build up her self-confidence so that she would be willing to tackle these issues in a positive way.
Even for us, we all know that building up your confidence doesn’t happen in one day. It takes time. It starts with setting small goals and achieving little victories that we have to recognize as successes. With Kristina, she started with the Interactive Metronome (IM) program, where we met in the office three times a week for one month. During that first month, I developed a program that was set for success – I made sure there was absolutely no opportunity for failure. Her parents noticed positive changes within the first 2 weeks, and inquired whether she might be able to attend more frequently. Throughout the summer, she switched to an intensive session that implemented both IM and the Listening Program (TLP). At the end of the summer, we scaled down to a once-a-week IM, with virtual learning programs IM-Home and TLP at home. Her parents also requested Moyers Learning Ears to enhance her reading comprehension levels.
And I have to say, many kudos go to her parents – they were willing to do everything they had to, and followed the virtual programs at home properly. So much of the child’s success is credited to the parents, in how much they are involved with helping their child. Kristina’s parents did an amazing job.
As Kristina started to achieve success in these learning programs, her confidence soared! For the first time in her life, she was developing friendships at school. She was beginning to show signs of flexible thinking and huge improvements in her coordination. Each time I increased difficulty and task demands, and she was able to meet and overcome these harder challenges. She no longer retreated into her shell when something became difficult. While she already had good reading skills, the Moyers Learning Ears program enhanced her actual understanding and comprehension levels. Her tendency for flat affect and prosody skills dramatically increased, and she learned to easily visualize what she was reading.
Kristina is nine years old now and attending an international school in Germany. She no longer suffers from anxiety, and Asperger’s is a thing of the past. Kristina is well liked and has developed many friendships. She is ahead of her class in academics, plays soccer, is on the swim team, bikes with her family on the weekends and is thriving in her new environment.