Sometimes, in this universe of possibilities, a simple “exercise” can change life. Families living with autism are so overwhelmed with grief that they cannot think straight. They mourn their lost dreams, and are blinded by the future. Searching for miracle cures and perfect solutions might just skew avenues to temper the behaviors that plague their child.
One such effort sits in the comfort of your home. It might be in the back yard, or basement, or swimming pool, or basketball court, or at the school track.
Reported by Jay Goltz for The New York Times I Did Not Want to Raise My Prices, David Geslak, helps autistic children get in touch with their bodies, through exercise. I can only remark on this following our personal story.
When our son was first diagnosed with “atypical developmental disorder”, eventually defined as autism, we were blind with fear. Twenty five years ago, the autism arena was muddy with few alternatives. However, opportunity knocks for rogue interventions and money making “cures”.
We had made a promise to ourselves that searching for any therapies that were non-invasive were worth a try. We warmed to the idea of a softer, gentler approach. Consequently, the “corn husking brush” became our instrument. Brushing his skin with the soft plastic device was supposed to “wake up” our child. I must admit, if I looked at myself in the mirror, while performing this moot exercise, it looked ridiculous. We traveled the occupational therapy highway and put him on swings, rolling balls and circular gadgets that hung from the ceiling. We were supposedly “waking up” his vestibular balance, kick-starting his central nervous system.
However, after years of speech, behavioral and drug therapies, one factor made perfect sense. Utilizing exercise as a partner, made a huge difference. During the trying times of puberty, the quagmire of the social complexities in middle school, the frustration and sadness that consumed our boy, taking a run around the track diffused his explosions fueled by anxiety. Exercise is not a panacea, but it works and truly makes a difference.
What is so interesting about David Geslak is that he did not want to take advantage of families. He created an exercise program to help autistic kids and found success. He began to lecture around the country, charging $250.00, when it is common to charge thousands, as reported by Jay Goltz:
“I was embarrassed to tell you that I was in the middle of personal bankruptcy,” Dave continued. “It was the result of a combination of me not making enough money and the real estate meltdown. I had bought a small condo that was now way under water. However, I made sure to protect the business from going under, even though I wasn’t making much. I have to make this work — not just for me but for the children and their families. When you said, ‘You need to charge more,’ it was hard to digest, because I wanted to spread my message and not lose a potential customer. I didn’t want them to think I was greedy.”
Greed is a beautiful thing, when we are passionate to help our children. It is important for the buyer to beware, but watch the video and see for yourself, the efforts of David Geslak just might ease the behaviors associated with your child's autism.