In her years as a speech-language pathologist, Janice Nathan has worked with many students on the autism spectrum and had many autism successes. She has worked with sensory processing disorder in children, and been an advocate for autism treatment awareness. Janice has provided speech therapy and developed treatment goals for autism.
A three-year-old boy with autism had difficulties making eye contact, and was essentially nonverbal. He had minimal interaction with adults and other children, and had impoverished play skills. He expressed himself by screaming and throwing himself on the floor.
After a year of working with Janice, he has developed spoken language and is beginning to express preferences and non-preferences. His play skills have also improved significantly, and he is starting to interact socially with his peers.
A seven-year-old boy with autism came to Janice with reading difficulties and communication problems. He would only speak about his experience and did not engage in reciprocal conversation. When asked how he felt about himself, he responded, “I’m stupid!”
After a year of working with Janice, his reading comprehension has improved and he engages people in conversation. His family reports that at Christmas, “he wanted to talk about everything.”
A thirteen-year-old boy with autism came to Janice with poor reading comprehension. He responded to questions with siren-like sounds. He had bouts of anxiety, and had difficulty working through tasks that he believed were difficult.
After working with Janice, he is now emerging as an independent conversationalist. He recognizes when he needs help, and is able to ask for it. His coping skills have also improved significantly. He has become highly motivated to work on his academics, and his grades have improved.
Improved Academic Performance
A twelve-year-old girl with Asperger’s was placed in a mainstream classroom, but still had difficulties from being emotionally immature in school. She was unable to take notes in class, and she was unable to do reading assignments. Her vocabulary was poor, allowing little communication with her classmates.
After several years of working with Janice, she is able to take notes in class, do reading assignments, and her vocabulary has improved. She now makes social “chit-chat,” such as asking her classmates, “How are you?” when she sees them.
A fourteen-year-old boy with Asperger’s was mainstreamed in a gifted program for math and science. This same boy experienced extreme stress whenever he was asked to write. When he was asked to write a memoir about himself, he cried uncontrollably.
After working with Janice, this boy has learned strategies for how to manage his stress while writing. He was able to write his memoir, and is doing well with his other writing assignments in school.
Improved Social Skills
A ten-year-old boy with Asperger’s in a mainstreamed classroom was teased regularly by his classmates. He had bouts of anxiety that limited his ability to form relationships. He didn’t understand when people were laughing at him or with him.
After working with Janice, he has improved his ability to socialize. He now has positive interactions with his classmates. He has learned how to ask for help when he needs it. His abstract thinking skills have also improved.
A fourteen-year-old boy with autism in a mainstreamed classroom developed anger issues at school. He had only limited social interaction with his teachers and peers, and had no understanding of what to do when faced with problems. He had poor reading comprehension, and had significant gaps in his vocabulary knowledge. He struggled with low self-esteem.
After working with Janice, he has learned how to ask for help when he needs it. His reading comprehension is increasing. He is starting to recognize other people’s emotions, and to identify his own emotions.
A four-year-old girl with Asperger’s had bouts of anxiety. From her behavior, it was clear that she was in a high state of stress for most of the day. She also had an impoverished ability to self-regulate throughout the day and could be easily overstimulated by other students’ behavior.
After a year of working with Janice, this girl has developed emerging inner speech, and she has learned how to ask for help when she needs it. Her stress behaviors, such as yawning; saying, “I’m cold”; or saying, “I can’t”; have significantly diminished. She now demonstrates that she can self regulate, from her previous state of being dysregulated.
A nine-year-old girl with ASD had a full-time aide in elementary school. She only spoke using “scripted” language in her conversation. She demonstrated limited coping skills when faced with tasks that she felt were challenging. When she was asked to read, she would withdraw completely.
After working with Janice, this girl has now been put in a mainstream middle school and is able to use inner speech to help herself accomplish tasks that she finds stressful.