Behavior is Communication
Though cautious, his mother’s voice spoke of pain and anxiety for her child. “His behaviors rule our house, we lock our doors, he destroys everything”. Her love for her child palpable, seeking a hope to find a place of peace for him and their family.
We started seeing Colin for a summer program of three hours daily. He received a multidisciplinary approach of occupational, speech-language therapy, DIR/Floortime services and Tomatis Sound Therapy. At first Colin was eased into accepting this new place with new therapists surrounding him. Through using Floortime principles, we gained his acceptance and trust. Some days the therapists had to work through bites and scratches, yet the unwavering approach of accepting him as he is, respecting his need to lash out, giving him the space to simply be, settled Colin over the course of the summer. We followed his interest and gently scaffolded different layers of success in small enough increments, and Colin started feeling safe. We focused on empowering him, letting him know that his thoughts and ideas matter. Colin needed to disorganize a room to gain the essence of all that is present in a room. Colin’s idea of being purposeful was being destructive, because he could not plan a next sequence to achieve constructive play.
Through using Tomatis Sound Therapy, we were able to gradually calm his nervous system. His vocabulary increased, his engagement in activity lengthened and his need for destruction decreased. Colin needed us to hear his voice. He needed people to look beyond his extreme behaviors and to find him. He was lost in his own pervasive needs. When Colin experienced illness in his body, his pain was so severe that he would scream out for long periods of time. We had to reassure his mother that we would never consider him unfit for therapy, that Colin will always be accepted here.
In August of that summer, an inscription in the therapist log: “Mom told me today: “I didn’t know”….and said this several times. I asked her what she meant by “I didn’t know” and she said “I did not know that Colin was going to make all of these changes”. She further stated that they have brought him to many places and never seen changes like this before.
Colin speaks for many others. He needed to be understood, accepted and embraced by relationships in his life. The journey is far from over, but Colin has found a place of peace upon which he can now grow and become all he was meant to be.
Maude Le Roux, OTR/L
September 2013 – Plan of PA