Danny is a 5 year, 4 month old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have been working with Danny since August of 2014 incorporating various occupational therapy techniques related to help Danny with sensory processing and self-regulation skill development. Danny was noted to be a very busy boy who had a hard time sitting to focus on activities, but instead loved to seek out all kinds of movement input through jumping, running and crashing. When I would visit with Danny, I felt it was incredibly difficult to engage Danny in any type of sit down fine motor or play activity, because he would quickly get up and move around the room. When I would try to interest him in an activity I would show him what to do and try to take his hand and encourage him to hold and manipulate things. He always seemed to make his hand go limp and would not even hold any of these items (even toys I thought for sure he would be interested in!). I wondered if he was showing some significant problems with motor planning skills and didn’t know how to use his hands to manipulate toys or understand about functional play skills. Danny seemed to be using body on body and body on object play and I did not observe him to use the highest level play, object on object play. During my visits with him and his family, Danny often repetitively threw a ball up in the air and caught it or preferred to jump on a trampoline. He did not seem to engage with anyone in his environment for very long, using fleeting eye contact and very limited and infrequent speech sounds or words. When Danny did attempt to communicate he would look briefly at someone, grab their hand or make an attempt to use some sounds or single words. Receptively Danny seemed to be able to understand directions and seemed generally aware of what was going on around him. Even though Danny seemed to understand directions and what was asked of him, he rarely seemed to respond to requests such as cleaning up his toys. He showed a limited awareness of referencing others using eye contact.
Danny had been engaging in an intensive daily Therapeutic Listening program since mid August of 2014 to help him with sensory integration and self-regulation, and he had also been engaging in some specialized rhythmic movements as a home program from the Rhythmic Movement Training Program to further help mature his nervous system. Danny’s parents have noted positive changes in his behaviour through the use of these programs over a period of 4 months. They noted that he seemed more regulated and aware of his environment. In mid December, I had informed his parents that I had received a specialized laser program called QRI Talk and noted that I would like to try this program with Danny. This protocol involved using the QRI laser along with a special LED attachment on certain points on the body as well as using the laser to integrate 3 specific reflexes. I initially tried the protocol with Danny (running through it twice) on December 20th, 2014. During this session, I brought a small Tupperware bin with rainbow rice in it for Danny to explore while I completed the protocol with him, as his parents noted that something highly sensory like this was needed to keep him sitting for a long period of time. Danny was able to sit for a period of about 45 minutes playing with the rice, but was noted to move his body around a lot, even in sitting. I had requested the parents to take a note of any potential changes they noticed after this session. When I followed up with Danny’s parents in the New Year, they were happy to report that Danny had shown some tremendous improvements in his behaviour after the first session and that the improvements had lasted! (it had been just over 2 weeks when I contacted them). They noted that Danny was more interested in the world and what was going on around him and he was able to show more patience and better behaviour in activities like going for a longer ride in the car. They expressed interest in using the program intensively for a period of a week or so.
We started using the QRI Talk program with Danny intensively after school daily for 5 days one week and 4 days the next week for a period of about 45 minutes each day. This allowed me to go through the QRI Talk program 2X each day. For the first week I brought the rice with me daily for him to play with while I used the laser. On the 7th day, I decided to move the rice away from Danny and play with some other toys in front of him. To my amazement, Danny was very interested in all of my other toys and started playing with them like I had. This was something I had never seen Danny show any interest in! He was turning small twist toys to make them work, playing with a rapper snapper tube that you pull out and push in, activating my claw toy to pick up items, feeding my toy dinosaur rice, scribbling on a magnadoodle and imitating basic lines up/down, side to side and circles, and he was noted to take buttons out of putty. His mother also reported that Danny had started eating with a spoon during the first week of the program, something that he had shown limited interest or awareness in before. For the 8th and 9th session, I engaged Danny in playing with a variety of toys, which he happily played with in their correct way. He even started engaging in playing with my marble works game with me (something he showed limited interest with in the past). He no longer needed the rice be able to sit to get the laser work done because he was interested and engaged in a variety of activities! In terms of his speech and language progression, he was noted by his parents to be repeating a lot more words and sometimes putting two words together much more frequently than before. His parents also noted that Danny seems to be saying words that sound more closely to the word he is trying to say, for example, his “good night” has become very clear and almost perfect, as compared to before when he would try to put two works together and say them really quickly such as “goonight.” He showed a dramatic increase in his eye contact and his interest in others around him, and would often look at me and smile when I was completing the laser program with him. Danny’s parents reported that this interest in others and eye contact has lasted beyond the intensive treatment protocol. One big thing they notice is that Danny is now able to react happily and playfully by smiling and laughing when someone interrupts what he is doing. For example, recently when he was playing repetitively by putting his feet into his father’s shoes, his older brother came along to have a turn to do the same thing. Danny smiled and laughed when his brother did this, as compared to before when he would have gotten very upset because his brother was interfering with his routine.
During the 2 week intensive where we completed the QRI Talk program 2X daily for 9 days (during the week days), his teacher and support staff at his school were not aware that he was engaging in a specialized program after school. I checked with them a week after completing the intensive program and they mentioned that they had recently noticed some pretty significant changes! The most significant of which were improvements in Danny’s attending skills to what was going on in the classroom as well as an improved attention to task. They noted that Danny participated more in activities with the class and needed very few prompts or reminders to do things like put away toys after finishing with them, or picking a new task to complete, or check his visual schedule. They explained that now Danny was completing a task, going to put it away and check his schedule right away, instead of wandering around the room and requiring several prompts as he required before. The school staff also reported that Danny seemed to be engaging in more functional play now with toys, rather than mostly “stimming” with toys before. He was showing an increase awareness of his peers and was using eye contact a lot more to attempt to engage his peers in play such as when jumping on a trampoline with another student. Danny was also reported to show more awareness of his own needs/adaptable responses such as covering his ears when someone else was crying (as before he was noted to not seem aware that anyone was crying and did not respond by covering his ears). Danny was also reported make a funny face and laugh appropriately at a teacher when he had made a joke! Danny was noted to be repeating more words at school as well. In addition to all of this, Danny also seemed more affectionate and cuddly with staff (which seems could have been a result of his increased engagement but also due to the fact that Danny had been in the classroom with the staff for 5 months).
After this 2 week intensive period using the QRI Talk, we took a week break before starting Danny with the QRI ASD protocol. We started using this one for 45 minutes (getting 2 runs of the protocol done each day) for 3 days the first week. Danny was noted to show more referencing with eye contact when engaging in activities and continued gains in engagement and functional play skills. His mother reported that on the weekend after starting the QRI ASD program, he was playing tag with his older brother! This was something that he had never done before! We used the QRI ASD program again 3 days the next week. His mother reported that he seemed to be showing less repeating of words lately and was questioning whether we should switch back to the QRI Talk. His parents noted that they are pleased that Danny’s changes have lasted, especially things like his improved eye contact and engagement in his world. We are taking a couple of weeks break and I look forward to more exciting changes with this child and others!
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*Please note that this client's name has been changed to protect client confidentiality. His parents consented to sharing his story online.