This book is for parents and families, teachers and schools, doctors and therapists who are looking for a deeper understanding of children with autism. The children themselves led us on a pathway through our efforts to connect and communicate our means to heal and educate them. This book shares that pathway of two-way learning and healing.
The outlook on autism presented here emerges from twenty years of clinical work and individual research by Dr. Lakshmi Prasanna, a developmental pediatrician and neonatologist from India, and Michael Kokinos, an Australian physiotherapist specializing in neurology and the relationship of movement and sensation. They have worked mostly in the rapidly developing cities of South India. They have very different professional and cultural backgrounds, with one from the East and the other from a Greek family in the West.
Autistic characteristics present with an incredible diversity; the consultation room alone does not often suffice to see and truly understand the unique riddle of an individual child. The authors' interest and research has involved observation of the children contextually—behind diagnostic labels (communication disorder, repetitive behaviors, lack of eye contact, etc.)—while holding questions such as these:
∞ How does a child’s behavior differ at school, in the home, in public, or at mealtimes?
∞ Why does this child act so differently with different people?
∞ What influences do different types of food have?
∞ What is the sensory need behind a repetitive behavior?
∞ How do siblings, grandparents, and parents handle the challenges presented by autism?
Many researchers have labored to meet the challenges presented by each child with autism. Autism by its very nature transcends a reductionist, materialistic view and points to the work of soul and spirit in the birth and growth of children. The intention of the authors' work has always been guided by objective facts, allowing them speak to those who care.
∞ ∞ ∞
Our Stories: The Journey to Meet Autism
Meet Me Who I Am: Key Ideas
Travel and Research Years: Early Collaborations
What the Children Say
An Overview of Our Approach
Therapy Directions: Conclusions and Beginnings
Appendix: Nutrition, Restricted Diet, and Reintegration of Foods
Dr. Lakshmi Prasanna is a pediatrician with a specialty in neonatology and a special interest in autism. She directed a neonatal intensive care unit for fifteen years and now runs a curative center for special needs children in Hyderabad, South India. Cofounder and president of the Anthroposophical Medical Society in India, she has worked extensively in India and Australia as a lecturer and health educator, particularly in school communities.
Michael Kokinos is a physiotherapist with a clinical practice in Australia, Blue Sky Therapies, specializing in craniosacral work. He has worked extensively on innovative health care projects with government and Aboriginal leaders in the remote North of Australia, and visits India regularly, mainly to support families of autistic children and conduct joint workshops with Dr. Lakshmi Prasanna for therapists, special educators, and parents.