A.R.T.

FAQs

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Questions & Answers

1. WHAT DOES "REFRAME YOUR THINKING AROUND AUTISM" ACTUALLY MEAN?

It means changing from a ‘deficit’ model to one of appreciating the intelligence and potential of each and every individual.

Reframing means exploring autism from a different perspective.

People with autism are often diminished by a narrow and outdated medical model when there is so much evidence to the contrary. When we begin to explore autism via the Polyvagal Theory (PVT) we get a much better appreciation for the people who live with autism, and we can be more empathic in our approach

2. WHAT IS THE "HOLLY BRIDGES AUTISM REFRAME TECHNIQUE" (A.R.T.)?

It is a process and toolkit to realise and sustain positive outcomes. We start from the premise that every student is intelligent and can upgrade their mind / body connection – if they are given the right tools and are treated respectfully, positively, and creatively.

The artfulness of this technique is in creatively working with the person to balance the need for safety vs the need for growth; helping each person to both discover and witness their potential. When we show that it is the body we are re-educating, students are quickly able to connect with this truth and become motivated to try.

3. WHAT IS A.R.T. BASED UPON?

THE POLYVAGAL THEORY

The PVT is a working model of what can happen when the mind and body are aligned. When the person can both recognise and stay in a parasympathetic (relaxed, restful) state, this provides the mind/body with a chance to connect and grow strong. The polyvagal theory has become the foundation for a new and progressive approach to autism therapy.

THE VAGUS NERVE

Central to the polyvagal theory is the crucial role of the vagus nerve in helping people perceive, regulate and manage body sensations that are often debilitating. The vagus nerve is the largest nerve in our body and runs from the brainstem down into all the major organs of the body. It works to influence our social engagement system and helps us be connected (or disconnected) from our world. We can reinform the vagus nerve and befriend it.

NEUROCEPTION AND AUTONOMIC FUNCTION

Holly demystifies the physical symptoms that affect those on the spectrum.

Holly’s program is unique in that it addresses the ‘autonomic’ issues that may go some way to explain the physical challenges of autism.

90% of physical actions and reactions occur ‘pre-brain’, and better vagal tone can help control unwarranted flight or fight; frozen or immobilised responses.

INTEROCEPTION

By improving internal representations of the body and internal sensory perception, this can enhance proprioception (movement, spatial orientation); vestibular sensation (coordination, balance, spatial orientation); awareness of bodily processes, and thus promote feelings of wellbeing, confidence and safety.

BRAIN PLASTICITY

This is evidence that, as with neurotypical people, those on the spectrum have the capacity to build emotional resilience, grow and gain practical skills, at any age.

METAPLASTICITY

Not only is the brain ‘plastic’, but the more the brain changes, the more it knows how to change. We can inspire the brain to want to grow and reimagine itself. We start to inspire brain fitness, in any brain, at any age, no matter what the previous narrative.

4. HOW DOES A.R.T. WORK IN PRACTICE?

FACILITATION

In this context, facilitation is how manual muscle stimulation can influence relaxation, movement and communication between different parts of the body.

APPLIED RELAXATION

Applied relaxation aims to teach the student how to control anxiety by self-soothing, and ‘teaching’ the body to sit in a parasympathetic (relaxed, restful) state.

NON-DIRECTIVE THERAPY

This is the opposite of a prescribed (forced or coercive) program, and means being sensitive and empathic to what is needed in each and every session. Key to this is letting the student and his or her body tell us ‘what is next’.

ARTFUL COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY

Encouraging the student and stakeholders to challenge long held beliefs and assumptions about what is possible and what a person can or cannot do.

VISION THERAPY

Unfixing the eyes and teaching the student to operate in a ‘soft state’; to cooperate with the body, with moving and with learning.

AUTOREGULATION

These are selective physical and mental feedback techniques that ‘teach’ the body to read and reduce stress-sensation.

INTEGRATIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY

Exploring the student’s emerging self through counselling and the application of the ART toolkit and techniques.

5. WHAT ARE THE WORKING MODELS OF A.R.T.?

FACILITATION

In this context, facilitation is how manual muscle stimulation can influence relaxation, movement and communication between different parts of the body.

APPLIED RELAXATION

Applied relaxation aims to teach the student how to control anxiety by self-soothing, and ‘teaching’ the body to sit in a parasympathetic (relaxed, restful) state.

NON-DIRECTIVE THERAPY

This is the opposite of a prescribed (forced or coercive) program, and means being sensitive and empathic to what is needed in each and every session. Key to this is letting the student and his or her body tell us ‘what is next’.

ARTFUL COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY

Encouraging the student and stakeholders to challenge long held beliefs and assumptions about what is possible and what a person can or cannot do.

VISION THERAPY

Unfixing the eyes and teaching the student to operate in a ‘soft state’; to cooperate with the body, with moving and with learning.

AUTOREGULATION

These are selective physical and mental feedback techniques that ‘teach’ the body to read and reduce stress-sensation.

INTEGRATIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY

Exploring the student’s emerging self through counselling and the application of the ART toolkit and techniques.