In this video, I will tackle a few problems commonly encountered in handling a child on the autism spectrum.
Some parents see all forms of Stimming as a damming sign that their child is different from other kids and are
quite often embarrassed by it. They go to extra length to make the habit go away or get it "extinguished". They
are often proud of their accomplishment and the resources spent to reach this goal. However, for the child,
stimming represents a badly needed means of stress relief. Children do not understand stress management.
They only know how they feel and many find out pretty quickly that they can feel better by plucking hair or
rocking or biting nails or cutting skin etc...
By extinguishing the stimming habit through behavioral manipulation and/or threats, we are depriving the child
of this relief and compounding her suffering. An alternative approach, would be to provide other means of
stress relief; in which case, the habit will disappear spontaneously.
This does not mean that stress management makes Stimming disappear forever. No, as a matter of fact,
whether you use stress relief or take the child to a conventional therapist, Stimming may still come back
during crises, sensory overload or depressive circumstances.
Stimming should be viewed for what it is, a rare sign that children display telling us they are in a state of
distress. Especially in the case of autism we should be mindful of these non-verbal signs to manage them
rather than try to extinguish them.
Therapy is many times a useful part of bringing an autistic child from his world back to ours. However, the
choice of therapist can make the difference between success and failure.
The best way I can describe Applied behavioral analysis is attempting to teach someone the regional accent for
a language he does not speak. Autistic children spend the majority of their time too overwhelmed to
understand the emotions they are feeling. This puts them at a disadvantage in emotional development.
Many well-meaning ABA therapists ignore talking them into understanding their emotions, and focus
exclusively on teaching them canned behavioral responses. While this is viewed as practical by the therapist,
and helps put anxious parents at ease, it is problematic for 2 reasons:
First, children never really internalize these behaviors as their own; rather they realize these responses are just
another thing they have to tolerate in order to please their surroundings. This can and does become a source
of distress for the child in a catch 22 sort of way. In other words, learning canned behaviors does not help the
child operate in situations that are even slightly different from the learned response. You can teach the
behavioral response to hundreds of social situations; and you can bet the first time your child is on his or her
own, they will encounter a novel situation that therapy never provided a solution for. Drawing on similar
situations that were actually learned, often leads only to embarrassment, bizarre behavior and eventually
Second, in order to provide the child a fighting chance in society, you have to help her get in touch with her
own feelings until she understands them. Then and only then she can find within her the appropriate response
to just about any social situation she finds herself in.
Solution: choose a Jungian therapist who will dwell into your child's own emotional makeup and help her
understand the emotional language that everyone else uses in every day interaction.
3- Pharmaceutical psychotropics:
Without going into physiologic details in this context, understand that currently available psychotropics are too
non-specific in their mode of action in the brain to solve any particular problem. They just mask problems,
make them inaccessible and push them into the future. Not to mention that many psychotropics are powerful
enough to abolish your child's personality and replace it with docile, mellow, under-achieving and submissive
All this is a problem because as your child grows up she will find out that she has all these unresolved
childhood issues that she has to grapple with as an adult. She may never forgive you for that.
Here is light problem to end this partial critique of the state of autism today. Autistic children hate surprises.
And I mean that in the most despising and intolerant of ways. It seems just about every doctor and every
parent use peek-a-boo to measure the child's ability to interact. It is often used as a cornerstone in autism
diagnosis. When did personal preference become the basis of disease and wellness. It boggles the mind when
you think of it.
This brings me to the title of the video. Moloch, in case you did not already know, is a deity whose worship
was marked by the propitiatory sacrifice of children by their own parents. 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremai 32:35.
The contents of this video are just a drop in a bucket of the revelations you can expect to find in
Psyche-Smart Autism book, currently available on amazon, barnes and noble, and google books.
This is an excerpt of the book Psyche-Smart Autism TM available on amazon and other book sellers.
Copyright 2011 Rami J Serhan, MD
Author: Rami Serhan, MD
(206) 659-1ASD (273)