Less than a month ago, we blogged about affinity therapy, a technique inspired by Ron Suskind, whose autistic son was only able to engage with others through reenactment and dramatic play related to Disney movies.
Today’s New York Times gives us an interesting update to this story. Leading researchers in clinical neuroscience from Yale, MIT, and University of Cambridge are submitting a proposal to the National Institute of Mental Health, seeking funding for a randomized trial of affinity therapy. Results from this study would help us understand how well affinity therapy works for a variety of children with autism, and which subgroups of children with autism may be helped most by this therapy compared to other standard treatments.
We are following the news on this closely, because we love how affinity therapy provides an individualized approach to understanding the concerns, likes, and motivations of a particular child. Once a caregiver (parent, teacher, or therapist) really understands the child’s concerns, likes, and motivations, he or she can use that information to structure the child’s environment in order to provide opportunities for skill development and growth in a way that would not have been possible before the adult took the time to understand the child. We love to see such a collaborative and empathic approach gaining ground. We hope you’ll join us in watching for more news on this approach, and if you find that techniques like these work for your child, please tell us about it on our Facebook page!