Autism Reframe Technique (A.R.T.) in Action

Working with Holly

Autism Reframe Technique (A.R.T.) in Action

Here is Holly at her practice doing cranial nerve massage – reflexology – with a fifteen year old client.

Holly says,

It doesn’t matter how old you are, sometimes it’s nice to hide in a tent under a hundred soft cushions, with toy elephants and toy dogs...! All my clients are very calm and open after these exercises. Here they learn to stop still and notice what it is like to be in a safe body state; and that their eyes, ears, face, voice and feelings are more gentle and work better. I teach them to learn the difference between this state and a flight/fight state.

Most often kids and adults with autism don’t know what this soft state even feels like, so it is a big lesson even though it is subtle.

We go slow, we don’t rush. The first priority of my work is always to make the person feel safe. We then start to learn to attend, to ‘listen’ to the body. As we progress we work towards feel - noticing how the body feels and letting the brain make stronger connections with feeling the body. When this is in place, we learn to move - to direct the body and practice the relaxation tools we have learnt, in real life scenarios. The more subtle we go, as in this cranial nerve massage, the more we provide the brain with opportunity to connect with the body.

Outcomes based exercises make the brain focus on the exercise. Here Holly is only focusing on reducing body stress and reconnecting the mind. Most people with autism sit outside their body; their experience is of ‘not being in the body’.

When we bring them 'back into the body' - they learn to feel, they learn to direct, to be in control of the body. And then all kinds of magic begins to happen!

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