Autism Spectrum Disorder affects approximately 1 in 68 children throughout the world. Children, families and adults living with autism need compassion, dedication, and expertise. Below are five inspirational stories of children, adults and families living with autism who have been helped by the MNRI method. Their stories range in age and diagnosis.
Anika’s StoryAnika made such strong gains in her motor skills that her physical therapist and her speech therapist were completely surprised. They had to rewrite their goals for her when she returned from the camp.
All We Had Hoped For and Far, Far More
Our story started out like many others – we were blessed with a much awaited, beautiful little girl, Anika! Anika’s development worried us and our false reassurances came crashing to the ground after her first day of pre-school. Her teacher suggested an evaluation and everything went into a high stress blur as we realized that we were dealing with autism.
Through the horror and the grief that the diagnosis brought, came a rapid realization that we were going to have to figure it all out without any help from the medical community. Our first guardian angel had helped her own daughter navigate her way out of the autism spectrum, suggested a change in diet and use of supplements. Our second guardian angel, told us about Dr. Masgutova’s work.
During our first 5 day MNRIcamp, we found it rather overwhelming and a bit confusing. But we also saw some unmistakable improvements, which left us very excited! Before camp, she used to get upset very easily and would not re-try things if they seemed difficult at the first attempt. During camp, she fell while trying to run across a concrete floor, and instead of the usual dissolving-into-tears, she quickly calmed herself and moved on. We decided to dive into Dr. Masgutova’s work more.
The second camp we attended really confirmed our initial impression. Anika made such strong gains in her motor skills that her physical therapist and her speech therapist were completely surprised. They had to rewrite their goals for her when she returned from the camp. At the third camp, she gained 14 months of skills in 10 days, whereas with the usual physical therapy, she had gained 4-5 months of skills in 6 months. This was the last proof I needed. We pulled her out of her speech therapy, physical therapy, as well as occupational therapy, and began using MNRI as our primary therapeutic modality.
About a year into MNRI, we found a wonderful Feldenkrais practitioner and started seeing him regularly, while still working closely with MNRI. We saw stronger and stronger gains, with doing both the modalities together. When Anika was ready to enter kindergarten, we met with the school district to re-write her IEP. This was 3 years after her initial evaluation. The team could hardly believe that this was the same child they had assessed 3 years ago. She no longer qualified for an aide at all, and tested in the completely normal range for speech. She is now in first grade, has been mainstreamed since kindergarten, and only receives social skills help about 10 minutes a day.
She attends regular gymnastics and just won her white belt with a black stripe in Tae Kwan, she is an excellent swimmer, reads well above grade level, and is on the Kumonhonor roll for both mathematics and reading. She is able to do all that we had hoped for, and far, far more.
We used to read stories of other children online, in books, and on blogs – and we were always so heartened by happy endings. We feel so grateful that we have been able to share our own happy ending with you, and we can say for sure that Dr. Masgutova is our third guardian angel.
Anika’s motherDownload as PDF
Benji’s StoryToday, autism no longer defines Benji but it wasn’t always that way.
Autism After the Masgutova Method®
As parents of a child with autism, we spent many desperate years first wondering if our son, Benji, would ever stop crying, then whether he’d ever learn to speak, and later whether he’d ever be comfortable in his own skin. Today, autism no longer defines Benji but it wasn’t always that way.
I am proud to say that recently I watched in awe as Benji spoke in front of a group of therapists, parents and children at the start of the Masgutova Method intensive therapy Conference, “Hello, I’m ten years old and I started coming to these conferences when I was five because I have Autism Spectrum Disorder...” He spoke clearly, had great eye contact, and peppered his chat with appropriate humor.
Benji had previously received play therapy, OT, PT, speech therapy, ABA, The Listening Program, Relationship Development Intervention, and HANDLE. Everything changed when we attended our first Masgutova Family Conference. Benji resisted the therapy and with the help of my father, we managed to keep Benji on those massage tables so that the therapy could begin to calm his overactive nervous system. Although it was the longest four days of my life, during the drive home it became apparent it was worth it. The child who could previously only express his feelings by crying or cowering in fear said, “Whose stupid idea was it to come to this place? I never want to do that again!”
￼During the next few weeks, the changes were apparent and easily visible. His entire affect relaxed, including his ability to self-regulate and expressing his feelings, becoming curious about the world and fearing it less. Suddenly, he could walk without tripping and hedecided that his “cushions” (orthotics) were uncomfortable and asked that they be removed from his shoes! Within a month the shape of his foot began to change. His curved toes dramatically straightened.
The most dramatic shift was evident one evening about 6 weeks later... “There were a lot of policeman in the Chinese restaurant tonight. I wonder why they were there.” He was quiet for a minute, then continued “the policeman who came to our table called me ‘little buddy.’ That’s because he didn’t know my name.” Suddenly, he could both process and analyze interpersonal relationships.For so long, I feared he’d never be able to do that. After five years, we continue to see changes thanks to Dr. Masgutova and her amazing team.
The Masgutova Methodwas a key, major element in Benji’s struggle against autism.But, as all special needs parents come to learn, there is no one magic, silver bullet that can fix all of the issues. I attribute a combination of daily Masgutova exercises at home and other tools as helping Benji move more easily through the world.
He is sweet, loving, and will sometimes still hold my hand in public places. In the beginning, I expected to be the teacher. Now, I realize that he came into the world to teach me many things...the power of hope, the ability to think outside of the box in order to solve problems, the strength of optimism, and above all, to believe that anything is possible.
Benji’s motherDownload as PDF
Ian’s StoryHe is more and more interested in being present with the family and I truly believe this is because he feels safer in his body and in his environment.
Bringing Inner Peace and Trust to Your Child
My son Ian and I first met Dr. Masgutova when he was 5 years old. She explained that when I am stressed, scared, and confused, Ian feels unsafe, and his brain activates his protection response. At the time, Ian was a bundle of nerves in a constant state of motion and protection; he would constantly bang on the windows as if to say “get me out of here.”
It wasn’t until I met Dr. Masgutova that I learned to release my emotions for Ian’s benefit. Ian and I have been on such a powerful learning journey together and I consider him my greatest teacher. My emotions, Ian’s emotions and Ian’s brain are all connected. Together, we learned about repatterning, or reintegrating the pathways of the brain. After two years of MNRI, Ian’s emotional world and comprehension improved in an outstanding way.
Ian began looking for communication with MNRIspecialists and other children, though non-verbally. He was expressing himself with behavioral and body movements – showing amazing interest, sympathy, and even support!
When Dr. Masgutova asked him jokingly, “Dear Ian, tell the new boys that sessions are important for growth, tell them to follow techniques with good motivation to change.” Ian started coming up to new children and vocalizing sounds corresponding to,“Please, listen, it is true! Please, follow the techniques!”
The MNRIteam was accompanying his emotional changes with great love. Ian has started imitating more, understanding play better and feels safer in his own body. He has begun peeing in the toilet and any parent knows that is a huge breakthrough! He holds his pee through the entire night and when he wakes, immediately takes himself to the toilet. For any parent with a child that has not been grounded in their body enough to feel the sensations and messages, this is a huge shift and evidence of integration.
After the last MNRI, conference, Ian started sleeping 12 hours a night. The more we do MNRI, the better Ian sleeps, the more present and engaged he is and the more joy he expresses. Ian was 12 in Feb. 2014 and after almost 7 years of using MNRI, I say with great confidence that MNRIprovides the foundation for his integration. It supports and compliments all the other therapies we offer him. Without MNRI, Ian would not be as integrated as he is today.
Today, Ian expresses himself, follows what feels good to him, eats when he’s hungry, plays when he’s feeling playful and curious, rests and sleeps when he’s tired, and is pure love all the time. He is more and more interested in being present with the family and Itruly believe this is because he feels safer in his body and in his environment.
He teaches me every day to be present and his level of patience with me blows me away. I’m so deeply grateful for the commitment, wisdom, brilliance, compassion and love that Dr. Masgutova generously gives to the world. She has given our family such a gift. We have found our way home to love.
Ian’s motherDownload as PDF
C's StoryHer problem solving and planning skills have shown dramatic improvement; she plays a game that requires planning, strategy, and organization.
Gains and Improvements with MNRIAre Remarkable
C.O. is our 39-year-old daughter with a diagnosis of autism and dysarthria. She was home-schooled, can read, write, and do basic math. She has demonstrated ability for music, puzzles, memorizing names, phone numbers and addresses, spelling, and other visual skills. Her social skills, logic, reasoning skills, spatial awareness, proprioception, balance, etc. have always been very poor.
C has been exposed to 14 therapies from the age of 3 and, as of January 2013, MNRI. The therapies previous to MNRIproduced some results; however, gains were often lost, proving very frustrating for her and for us as parents. In the 5 months since starting MNRI, however, her gains and improvements have been remarkable.
C has a history of violent behaviors and outbursts. When she got angry, she would physically attack property and people, many times requiring physical restraint. Since participating in her first MNRI® conference, she has not had any volatile behaviors but has found very acceptable alternatives. This is a huge improvement.
Her articulation and language has improved greatly. Before MNRI she would respond to questions with one word, or would usually say, “I don’t know” in a very slurred manner. Now she responds in full sentences, many times expanding beyond what is needed. She follows multiple step instructions without any problem. This was impossible for her before MNRI.
Her understanding of conversations has improved dramatically and she has become aware of and concerned about the feelings of others. When her grandfather passed away recently, we were on the way to the funeral home when she said, “Don’t worry about me. I left the old C at home. When we get to the funeral home I will be fine. I will be calm, all I will do is say ‘Hi’ to people and sit quietly.” When she arrived she was true to her word. At the funeral home, she went to the coffin and said “I’m sorry Grandpa, I will miss you and see you in paradise,” then she touched his forehead and went and sat down. The level of maturity was outstanding. Even after such a difficult event, she showed no regression.
C also has an increased awareness, a desire to be recognized as being present, and she wishes to participate more often in family activities. Her problem solving and planning skills have shown dramatic improvement; she plays a game that requires planning, strategy, and organization. Her self-confidence and independence have also improved. She has no problem going into an elevator alone, previously an ordeal. The list of improvements goes on and on. We look forward to more improvements as we continue with the program.
It is important to take care of the parent, as well as the child. Dr. Svetlana and a therapist did a psycho therapy process on C after she began screaming during meals. There was an immediate reduction in explosive anger episodes after the MNRIClinic. We have observed positive changes in her behavior in general. Last night C went to sleep without the ‘white noise’, she seems happier, and even is sharing more time with us.
I am not sure if recent positive changes in her behaviors are a result of the psychotherapy session or it is a cumulative effect from all the other sessions. Anyway, I thank God, Dr. Masgutova, and other therapists who worked with C that week (and before) for the positive lifesaving changes.,
C's MotherDownload as PDF