The Essential 5
A practical guide to raising children with autism
The Essential 5 is a method that offers an answer to the question: ‘how does one interact with someone that has been diagnosed with ASD?’ Both the cognition and the behaviour in people who have been diagnosed with ASD are influenced by their fragmented perception. Due to this fragmented perception, there is a lack of coherence causing the client to experience confusion and insecurity. This often leads to panic, anxiety and undesirable behaviour.
Common and understandable reactions at undesirable behaviour are anger and punishment. But they will prove fruitless, especially for persons with ASD. It is most important to find out what the cause is that triggers the undesirable behaviour. What is confusing the client? What key question is the client unable to voice? What coherence does the client lack? If the person with ASD is able to get more clearness, undesirable behaviour will surely stop.
The essential 5 is a method that originated in the basic five questions: WHO, WHAT, HOW, WHERE and WHEN. If people with ASD have fine-tuned answers to those five questions, they will get more structure and clearness in their lives. When generalized to other situations the client develops more coherence and understanding of the world. And when explained the client develops more language and will grow in describing his/her thoughts and actions in words. If necessary the WHY can be explained to offer the client more insight and it supports the development of his/her motivation.
Due to the different information processing of a ASD client, communication should be adapted to his/her way of connection and understanding. This special communication is called Auti-communication. Auti-communication can be divided into basic-communication skills and different Auti-communication techniques.
According to The Essential 5 method the positive attitude and self-reflection of the parent or professional are decisive in the success of dealing with a person with ASD. An uncondional believe that his/her behaviour is not on purpose but arises from frustration instead of unwillingness is needed. This gives the person with ASD the opportunity to be acknowledged completely and to be understood as well as possible. Using Auti-communication every aspect of life can be made clear and predictable. Visualization is an important tool.
The Essential 5 offers an ASD client a firm base by making the entire day predictable. The Essential 5 calls this an foundation: from waking up until bedtime. The foundation offers an ASD client more clearness and safety. Due to the provided safety, the ASD client has the chance to develop and learn, become more flexible and independent.
The Essential 5 teaches the environment of the person with ASD how to deal with ASD. Always and everywhere, the environment offers a safety net for this person. With Auti-communication they are be able to clarify every question or confusion. When the environment can offer this support, professional help is no longer needed. Because the person with ASD has a firm foundation, he or she can survive everyday life!
About the author
"I am a visual thinker, so I am seeing what I am thinking. It was a hell of a job to put into words everything that comes so natural to me at work. I am fully aware of the restraints involved in a translation from everyday practice into words". Colette de Bruin-Wanrooy works as a trainer and SEN coordinator in families with children with autism and/or an intellectual impairment. She is the mother of five autistic foster children and was raised by - among others - a father with Asperger disorder. Readers are drawn into this book by the author’s practical way of working, which can of course be translated to their own situations.
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