Autism – Meet Me Who I Am: A Contribution toward an Educational, Sensory, and Nutritional Approach to Childhood Autism that Supports Families and Ignites the Child’s Deeper Wish to Connect to People and the World
Meet me in the good times
Meet me in the mad
Meet me where the river parts
Into the rimp of sea
Meet me when I’m distant
Meet me when you’re cold
Meet me when the world ends
On our river boat
Meet me when the sun fades
Meet me when I cry
Meet me when tomorrow ends
Into the end of life.
Meet me when I’m dancing
Meet me who I am
Meet me in the space of
Guilt and hope inside
Meet me in our loving
Meet me in our grief
Meet me I’m inside you
Forever, forever to be.
(Prasaad —a young man with ASD)
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 the authors on a pathway through efforts to connect and communicate their means to heal and educate children with autism. Autism: Meet Me Who I Am 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?
The holistic approach developed by Dr. Lakshmi Prasanna and Michael Kokinos is not only medical but also primarily social, pedagogical, and environmental. They have formed and utilize a community of support for the individual children they have come in contact with, challenging family members and professional caregivers to step out of their confining silos and work together in dynamic, therapeutic communities. This book describes this joint effort, drawing inspiration in a unique way from the children themselves.
- 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
About the Author
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.