Children and Enriched Environments

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Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome.

People with disabilities like Asperger are known to have gifts. Often they are very intelligent in certain areas.  They are very good at imitating and often have special intelligences that are able to be expressed when they are handled well in their early development.

We may all have a form of Asperger Syndrome.  Maybe that is why it is difficult for us to really relate to others and to create a world where we all have a quality of life in quality environments where our own human and organic experience is always primary.  

There are more children coming in with a diagnosis of Asperger and maybe this is because we diagnose them more.  These children have self -imposed isolation, emotionality, and rigidity in the way they handle changes can create difficulty for parents to support them.  

The Australian Psychologist, Dr. Atwood states, “The person who falls in love with an Asperger child is a beautiful person”.  Dr. Atwood grew up with a person with Asperger Syndrome and he learned how it is to live with someone with Asperger Syndrome.  He felt unwanted.  He decided to become a psychologist and had a job as a volunteer with children.  He had special realizations as he noticed how an autistic child play with swings and then reached out toward him.

This was an Autistic child, with no speech who loved the swing.  At a certain point she pushed the swing for his enjoyment not her own.  She reached out of her own internal world.

I experienced this in Therapeutic Riding with an Autistic child.  When I began volunteering to assist the Therapeutic Riding Therapist and began with J. he was unable to obviously reach out to any of us.  He was in his own internal world and only made sounds and sometimes moved with excitement.  He had difficulty settling into riding and we had a leader for the horse, and one of the therapists on each side to make sure he stayed on the horse.

As our sessions progressed, J. got to the point where most of the time he settled when he saw the horse and got on easily.  He increasingly balanced himself and became centered on the horse. He quieted and noticed his surroundings.  As time went on, he reached out and hugged one of the therapists more consistently. That was me.  This had a significant impact on me.  As this reaching out and expression of affection became more consistent, I saw this as something important to his healing and development.  As a phase that needed to be nurtured.  The other therapist saw this as something to “nip in the bud” since he would not be able to do this behavior as he got older without understanding the subtle cueing of appropriateness and he needed to focus on his riding.  I playfully received his hugs and expression and also immediately moved him back to focus on the horse and himself.  However, this created a deep curiosity for me about how to really enhance the progress of small autistic children.

In daycares, I have noticed the lack of enriched environments that most babies and young children are experiencing.  The rations are too high and the costs prohibitive.  Pay is way too low for real education to be possible for most workers and at the same time the training is very specific to certain information that is non-therapeutic. In certain states a therapist cannot even get a job in an early childhood center as a “worker” “aide” or “teacher” because they “lack the necessary training”!

I know because I have tried. As a result I was able to visit the early childhood centers and schools that are generally available.  Even the best of them have higher rations and limited enrichment.  

Children are coming in with increasing sensitivities.  These children are more likely to experience rejection in their early environments and to be perceived as a “problem” with early attempts at medication.  As the fields of psychiatry and psychology began to explore medications, more and more of our children are medicated.  Although this may be helpful for many, there are side effects and physical costs as well as a lack of research into the long term consequences. In addition, this has allowed the absence of spending the necessary funds for enriched environments and for understanding how to use our educational system in truly therapeutic ways.

Having worked for a short time in a therapeutic school setting, I was shocked at the lack of staffing, and lack of truly enriched systems that are created for these kids who as they get older often get into trouble because of their inability to handle frustration and their angry acting out.  I suspect many have Asperger’s and other spectrum type disorders where the regular classroom is boring and impossible to cope with.  

Classrooms are not keeping pace with the technologies that children are receiving access to in their homes.  Between tv, media and video games as well as phones and internet, children are addicted to the fast pace movement of information very young.  I see children now operating cell phones by the time they are 6 years old or younger in spite of the complete lack of evidence that this is healthy physically, emotionally or mentally.  Something can be enhancing one level and create an imbalance due to the lack of enrichment on another level.  A balanced development requires an enriched balanced environment. Children need time in nature, time with animals, exploring the science of energy in the natural environment, they need conversations with warm healthy intelligent men and women who are happy to spend time with them.  They need access to technologies that are interactive and allows them to integrate their skills with their imagination.  Since the financial gain is geared to what is immediately bringing payoffs to the corporations, our creators in the technology field are not spending enough time bringing in and giving these enrichment tools to schools and childcare centers.

We are off kilter.  We all know this is not going to work.  IT never did and it never will.  Why can’t we do this differently?  Why is it so hard to see that a system based on greed and survival of a few over the masses will not work, especially for the next generations coming in.  Our food supply is full of sugar, toxicity and is unhealthy.  We may eventually find this is contributing to changes in those being born.  Then children have less and less access to natural environments and this should be their birthright.  Many childcare centers and schools see a small covered area with specific equipment as an enriched environment.  This is far from the truth.  Children learn science through growing plants, feeding animals and understanding what they see in the night sky and how everything works together in unity. They learn how to cooperate with life rather than to be removed and dependent on those who create technologies to make a profit for themselves with no social responsibility to their impact.

I understand why we are individualistic and do not trust government to control us and to force changes. I do not believe our governments can help us.  WE have to “wake up” and understand we are all one.  We have to return to a time when what is inside of us is as important as what we have gained financially.  WE have to let go of financial gain as our sole purpose for being here and get invested in using our brilliance, our human heart and ingenuity to make this planet livable for all including every single animal, child, elderly person and as a result ourselves.  We are all of these beings and more.  When will we awaken and open our eyes?  

Patricia Haman
Patricia Haman
Patricia is a Master Healer, Teacher and Coach. She spent many years as an international trainer in Core Energetics, a powerful physical, emotional, mental and spiritually focused therapy. She is a skilled trauma therapist, a Certified Breathwork Facilitator, a Board Certified in both alternative and traditional hypnosis. Patricia spent years as a family therapist and a University Advanced Psychology Faculty Member. She has co-created institutes focused on advancing group work and alternative healing. Patricia is now residing in Wilmington Delaware and continues to be available on-line. Phone 302-390-0911
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