In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we wanted to share with you the first chapter, “I’ll Run with You” from Respecting Autism by Dr. Stanley Greenspan & Dr. Gil Tippy for free. Here is a excerpt from the chapter:
Kresimir, or Kreso as we know him at Rebecca School, was not well regulated when he came to us. He was wildly reactive to confusing situations, which because of his difficulties processing information was
almost any uncontrolled situation. Rebecca School, on the day when we opened, was at the very least not a carefully controlled situation, so we met very few of Kreso’s sensory needs. He had not been in school for
several years, and the hubbub of our new school, with forty new kids, all with neurodevelopmental disorders of relating and communicating, meeting each other for the first time, made the space overloading for
Kreso. He wanted out.
Even at six he was strong and fast, and Tina, the program director of the school, was trying to give him some deep pressure1 to help him get grounded, but he was punching her hard with his free hand. I grabbed his hand and said his name hoping to calm him, but succeeded only in frustrating him. My most enduring image of our opening day is of Kreso throwing his head back as forcefully as he could in protest, making sickeningly violent contact with Tina’s sternum. I heard a thump reminiscent of a baseball bat hitting a watermelon, and looked at Tina to see if she was okay. She gasped that she was (she wasn’t), and as she continued to reassure Kreso I saw him begin to relax. I will never forget that sound, the look on Tina’s face, or my understanding at that moment of how scary it must be for Kreso, or any child, to be in a world so overwhelming and unpredictable.
As part of our school program, we were extremely fortunate to have weekly case conferences with Stanley Greenspan, MD, the creator of the DIR/Floortime model. In these case conferences, we brought the treatment
team and the family of a child together, in front of the rest of the school, to present their understanding of the child and the treatment to Dr. Greenspan. It was a nerve-wracking experience for the staff, as Dr. Greenspan held them to very high standard, but it was a wonderful opportunity for a family to have direct contact with one of the great minds in child development. We all benefitted enormously from these weekly case conferences, and when Dr. Greenspan followed up with Tina and me the following day, he often really blasted us for the ways in which our school did not reach his high standards. This weekly direct guidance helped to make the school the special place that it is, and formed the core of my own development in the DIR model.