As many of you know, I’ve been working on and recently completed my iLs certification. I attended a training this past weekend, which in my mind, was the final step to feeling more confident in moving forward with using this new and promising intervention for people with motor, attention, reading and auditory processing challenges. That said…I am again, in awe. The brain and body amaze me.
I know I’ve dropped the ball when it comes to writing more frequent posts and I know I may not have come across as especially inspired, lately, but in the spirit of trying to stick to at least the intentions (not necessarily resolutions) I set for the new year, I am sharing this amazing video I picked up this past weekend at my training (at least I think it’s amazing). If you’ve ever heard and/or liked classical music, you’ll appreciate this video. OT’s are doing some amazing things when it comes to neuroplasticity and changing the brain. This video is but one glimpse into the complexities that bring us seemingly simple pleasures such as listening to music. By understanding and using the connections being made between sound and the rest of the body, OT’s can use interventions like iLs to help change people’s lives.
Have a watch and listen! Let me know what you think!
Neuroplasticity; I can honestly say, I find it inspiring. And if you’d like to be inspired check out this wonderful book .It is a collection of true stories that showcase how incredibly resilient people and the power of the brain can be. I thought it did a phenomenal job of articulating the connection between meaningful activity and brain function and not only did it validate the work I do as an OT but it made me want to keep doing it, because it reminded me of the potential that exists in each and every person I work with. It reminded me of why I do what I do. Finally, it demonstrated the hope that exists across the lifespan, despite impairment or disability. I will tell you it is incredibly easy to read and for you non-OT’s or non-neuro-geeks, it is still worth the read. My neuro-geek side may have liked it a little more than the average Joe, but no person will go away after reading, without an appreciation for the amazing ability of people to adapt and overcome incredible challenge.
Read. Enjoy. And tell me what you think!
Today’s post is inspired by a quote I heard today, by Dr. Temple Grandin, while listening to The Coffee Klatch blog talk radio, where guests Dr Temple Grandin, Rebecca Banks and Diane Kennedy (authors of ”Bright Not Broken – Gifted Kids ADHD and Autism“) as they discussed the upcoming changes to the DSMV and how it could affect children and adults on the spectrum. Listen now . In this blog talk radio segment, Dr. Temple Grandin urged parents to “…not get caught up on labels…forget about the labels…focus on what problems does the child have and what are the step-by-step solutions to fix the problems?”
I can’t tell you how relieved and happy I was to hear these words and to hear them spoken by Dr. Grandin, made them that much more meaningful. Dr. Temple Grandin (for those who may not know) has autism and the DSM is the “Diagnostic Bible” when it comes to medically classifying or labeling any behavioral or developmental problem.
For those of you who work with children who have autism and/or work in the mental health field, you know that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), is being revised…again. This in and of itself, I believe, is not a bad thing. Note, I said, “I believe”. Many people right now disagree. Because in this revision, the classification criteria for multiple diagnoses, including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, are changing. What many people fear is that changing the diagnositc criteria will mean many children, specifically those currently diagnosed with Asperger’s, will lose funding and/or access to services. There are posts and tweets and blogs and articles being written everywhere, by parents, clinicians, educators, and many others about what these changes could mean and what parents should be aware of when seeking services AND funding under these new diagnostic criteria. That said, I’ve found it difficult to keep abreast of all the information coming in and to sort through my own thoughts, on what all of this really means…for my practice, for me as a clinician, and as an advocate for some of the clients and families that I serve. And as I’ve tried to keep up with the flow of information, the one thought I keep having is that it won’t change anything for how I work and if anything, it could open doors…not only for me but for my clients. It could mean labels that ARE given are truly reflective of the problems kids and families are facing. It could mean new research has shed light on a better way to organize how we approach kids and families with special needs. It could mean absolutely nothing because it will all change again in a bunch of years.
Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I’m ignorant. Maybe I’m missing something. But Dr. Grandin’s statement today summarized (much better than I could’ve done) how I try to work anyway and what I believe most other professionals I work with every day, try to do as well. Focus on the child, not the label. Focus on the individual. Focus on solutions to the problems…regardless of diagnosis. Use the labels to find solutions and access resources but don’t limit resources based on the diagnosis. Use clinical judgement and sound reasoning to justify services and articulate a step-by-step plan for addressing functional problems, defined by the individual and family. Again…pie in the sky? Maybe. But I do it every day. And I work within the constraints of whatever system I’m in. We all have to. But we can leverage that system to the best of our ability and that’s all we can do; regardless of diagnosis.
And as I step down off my naive and ignorant soap box, I urge you (if you haven’t already) to see the HBO movie “Temple Grandin“.
This movie (DSM aside) is definitely an inspirational giant over any of my measly blog posts! If you watch it you can’t help but be inspired. In regards to the new DSM, I am holding judgement. I am remembering what Temple Grandin’s mother said about her, “…different not less.” This thought is good to remember for all people, no matter what the DSM says.