What happens in a class…

Alex and a journey to his own body

Alex is autistic 12 year-old, with very limited range of movements, no spoken language who would spend most of his time on a sofa. Upon our first meeting I noticed constant upward gaze shifting from wall to wall. This told me that this is where his attention was, out there and not in his body. My aim then was to bring a sensation of his own body to him. I started with touch by pressing his hands, then shoulders and knees. When I moved my hand away he brought it back, he seemed to like it. I introduced rhythmpause and anticipation to wake the brain. Introducing a pattern, for example three squeezes on one hand, repeating a few times and then stoping after a second squeeze creates a sense of something is missing. I was watching for signs. Yes, he responded, he sought me with his eyes when a third squeeze didn’t come. We carried on for a while, it was a meaningful exchange. I told him how nice it was to play, I celebrated. Celebration is one of the techniques used in The Son-Rise programme to encourage connection. Our eyes met on a few occasions and I genuinely felt warmth of togetherness in my body.

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