- Posted on January 1, 2014
We are continuously trying to improve upon ourselves in order to provide our patients with the best services possible. We now have Speech, Occupational, & Physical Therapists on staff and are able to offer a more collaborative, team approach to our patients therapy needs. Our name change reflects our all-encompassing approach to therapy.
- Posted on September 7, 2010
- Posted on March 18, 2010
- Posted on April 1, 2008
“A walk allows families to participate together,” Barbara MacWilliam, director of development, said in a statement. “And just as autism crosses all socio-economic lines, so does our ability to help this cause – anyone can walk, get a team together, recruit personal supporters and sponsors and make a difference.”
The non-profit, which opened a Greenville office last year, also has a virtual walk at www.StridesForAutism.org.
- Posted on October 23, 2007
Patrick is our 22-year-old grandson who has autism and I have periodically discussed him in this column over the last 19 years. He came to live with us when he was three years old, his mother being institutionalized with mental illness and his father having sought refuge in a bottle. When Patrick first came to us, he had no language skills and would bite his arm in frustration until it bled. Autism is a terrible disability and we are in the midst of an epidemic of it in this country. One in 150 babies born today will be autistic.
Jane and I reared five children, all of whom have gone to college, and indeed four of them have completed graduate work. When we undertook to rear Patrick, it changed our lives forever; however, our results with Patrick have been most gratifying. To rear this brain damaged child has not only been the most consuming, but also one of the most interesting things we have ever done.
Patrick has mental brilliance in certain aspects and can remember the day and date of the week many years in the past. He has struggled mightily to adjust himself to this world. When he was a little boy, I well recall how he explained to himself daylight and darkness, saying, “When sun goes down, dark comes up.”
We have had much outstanding help with Patrick. In the beginning, when there were those who wanted to institutionalize Patrick, it was Anderson attorney Bob Waldrep who arranged for the custody, etc. it was Louise Ravenel, as state chair of Protection and Advocacy, who brought in authorities on the subject. And over the years we have had 50 or more college students to augment the Luvass program we found. Patrick remembers each and every one of these students who were Luvass therapists, and when they are in this part of the state they stop by to see him.
The good thing about Patrick is that, while he still doesn’t speak plainly all the time, his activities continue to improve even at the age of 22. Like the other day. Without me suggesting it, he looked at my fingernails that had become a bit long (I have trouble with these due to my loss of vision), and decided they needed cutting. He got some scissors and carefully cut all my fingernails and even carefully bandaged one he left bleeding.
Actually, he’s a great deal of help around the house and when I am on the long halls of our church and at work and at the university, he gets the wheelchair out of the trunk of the car and wheels me around very nicely.
Right now Patrick has two therapists who have been with him since he was a child. They began working with him while they were in college. Now that they’ve finished school and are settled in this area, they are with him more as companions than as trained therapists using the Luvass method of behavior modification, because both are in the school system up in Oconee County. One student has signed on and finished her very intensive training at the Department of Disabilities and Special needs to be with him, and she awaits only a nod from a SLED background check, which is required by law.
Also, there is the very promising method I wrote about at the initial opening of Upstate Speechworks in Easley, where Patrick was Christie Jones’ first patient. She sees him once a week for speech and socialization therapies. We believe from her work with him that he’s improved in many ways. He’s more affectionate, more interested in other people’s conversations, reading more and comprehending what he reads. This summer he followed Jane’s instructions and improved his swimming stroke. He seems to be waking up less at night and has put himself on a good schedule to improve his sleeping habits. According to Christie, his listening profile leveled off within the first 12 days of her program at Speechworks. She thinks his hearing sensitivities have decreased. He loves to sing, always has, especially camp songs, and he memorized all the “We Sing” books while growing up. Now he reads the words to songs we sing in church that are flashed on a large screen during the services. His behavior during the sermons is quiet and reflective. Patrick shows normal respect for his grandparents and others that a person without autism would show.
So that’s what’s going on with Patrick. We’d hate to be without him. We can’t imagine what life without him would be.
William Harvey Hunter, MD
(Dr. Hunter is a Clemson physician, he practices at Oconee Family Practice in Seneca, and Chairman of Clemson University's Calhoun Lecture Series. He is a regular columnist for the Anderson-Independent Mail.)
Dr. Hunter's articles can be found on the Strom Thurmond Institute web site at http://www.strom.clemson.edu/events/calhoun/
- Posted on April 28, 2007
I believe that we have had some success with Patrick’s rearing. Even though he has recently had his 22nd birthday, we are still working hard at this.
For instance, we recently were encouraged with the Walgreen’s plan in Anderson County to open a warehouse that provides jobs for those with mental illnesses such as autism. However, we are initially disappointed with this program. I’m not sure how well trained and knowledgeable those are that are setting this up. On paper it sounds good, but we’ve been disappointed so far. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Now autism is basically a problem of communicating and thereby relating properly to others. With our Patrick, early on we spent a vast amount of money on speech therapy. Frankly I’m just not sure how much help this was, but then we were doing all sorts of things. We like Patrick’s brain and he gives us many pleasures. Early on, when Patrick was more or less a “wild child,” we had him up to Duke Medical School. The head of the pediatric neurology said, and I’ll never forget, “When you have this diagnosis in a family you will also find in the family brilliant children as well.” I’ve pondered this as I watched Patrick’s nine first cousins, like his first cousin Will, who graduated number one in his class at East Carolina University, his cousin Ross Hanahan, who was one the Dean’s List at Georgia Tech, his cousin Julia, who just received a full scholarship to the University of Tennessee. All of Patrick’s first cousins are rather outstanding.
But it’s like the good scriptures tell us , you have to go after the one out of the hundreds, the lost sheep. With this in mind, we have just finished looking into a promising method in an effort to allow Patrick to fit into this world of ours. Jane and I have just spent an afternoon with Christie Jones, a speech pathologist and the only person in South Carolina who is qualified to teach a highly successful and relatively new educational approach known as the Bolles Sensory Learning Method.
The Bolles Sensory Learning Method is an innovative non-cognitive approach to developmental learning that utilizes enhanced natural sensory stimulation for remediation of an individual’s emergent faculties. The brain’s ability to process and organize sensations of sight, sound and gravity begins to emerge in the womb and continues into adolescence. Sensory stimulation plays a major role in shaping the structure and functioning of the brain. The brain can be thought of as a sensory processing machine. So by stimulating the senses we can enhance emergent faculties’ normal subconscious sensory functioning in the brainstem area.
This educational method is highly successful across a wide spectrum of populations because our brains are more alike than they are different. It is a therapy that accelerates sensory integration and develops learning abilities for individuals with acquired brain injury, learning/behavioral problems, ADD/ADHD, developmental delays, autism and birth trauma. This approach re-educates emergent faculties by stimulating the participant’s sensory systems to learn or relearn subconscious reception, processing and integration skills. The beneficial outcomes of the Bolles Sensory Learning Method are long lasting and continue to accrue over time.
We are enrolling Patrick as one of the first autistic students in South Carolina to have this opportunity and we pray it offers him some new hope. Semper Fi.
William Harvey Hunter, MD
(Dr. Hunter is a Clemson physician, he practices at Oconee Family Practice in Seneca, and Chairman of Clemson University’s Calhoun Lecture Series. He is a regular columnist for the Anderson-Independent Mail.)