Approach

The Global Autism Solutions approach of acceptance, appreciation, respect and enjoyment of the child

The Global Autism Solutions Approach

Over the last 28 years I have provided a method for helping autistic children and their parents conduct a highly effective program in the family’s home environment, observing children in schools and helping to integrate children into main stream society.

Through an approach of acceptance, appreciation, respect and enjoyment of the child, creating a supportive environment, the children I work with are highly motivated to overcome the main challenges related to the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

To build a relationship of deep trust, we must first meet the children in their own world with an attitude of genuine empathy and enthusiasm.

The most effective way to elicit a child´s willingness to interact with us is through parallel play, demonstrating to the child how willing we are to enjoy playing with the child on their terms. Only when the child is ready and willing to connect and interact with us, do we have windows of opportunity to encourage the child to pay attention, communicate verbally and non-verbally and eventually be willing to transform self-stimulating behaviors into interactive play.

 

In this fun and exciting environment which is mostly conducted on a 1:1 basis, my experience has been that children with even the most severe conditions are motivated and willing to make the effort to connect with us and the world around them.

Over the years I have been blessed and fortunate to witness countless moments of first eye contacts between child and parent, first words pronounced and first engagements in interactive play. Through this approach of love and acceptance I have also been privileged to witness the transformation of aggressive behaviors into precious moments of affectionate interaction.

Using this approach I have also been fortunate to be the carrier of good news, sharing with parents all over the world, that their once isolated child is ready to attend school, is ready to be introduced into public life and ready to make friends in circles of other children.

Please check out the Tips & Strategies page.

Gerd Winkler

Director of Global Autism Solutions
DBA: Gerd Winkler Global LLC

Scientific Case Studies

Parent training for parents of children on the autism spectrum: a review

Joana Prata, Wenn Lawson, and Rui Coelho

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition with biological, genetic, environmental and developmental causes, which are still not clearly understood. Parents are usually the primary caregivers for their children and the essential link between home and school environments. Often they also take on a coach or therapist role across a variety of interventions, which demands a great amount of time, dedication, energy and financial resources. Increased parent skills allow for continued opportunities for the child to learn in a range of different situations and environments, and parent training is now considered an important component of successful intervention programs. This paper is a review of current research regarding parent training for parents of children on the autism spectrum.

How the Attitude of Acceptance, Enthusiasm and Learning through Motivation Affects Brain Development in Children with Autism: A Literature Review

Joana Prata, Rui Coelho and Wenn Lawson

Research on the autism spectrum (AS) has expanded tremendously over the last two decades with exciting insights into underlying neurobiology. Neuroplasticity, the remarkable ability of the brain to form new connections as a result of experience, is not limited to specific parts of the brain nor does it have a time limit meaning that growth and learning are on-going processes.

In this review we explore the impact of the attitude of acceptance, enthusiasm and learning through motivation on brain development in children on the AS. The first part of the review focusses on the impact of attitude on social, emotional and cognitive development, while the second part focusses on the impact of attitude on brain biology.

Stress factors in parents of children on the autism spectrum: an integrative model approach

Joana Prata1, Wenn Lawson and Rui Coelho

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition with biological, genetic, environmental and developmental causes whose prevalence has suffered substantial increase over the last decades. Children on the autism spectrum (AS) face unique challenges that arise from their difficulty in understanding social behavior and interaction, difficulty in understanding and effectively using communication, and difficulty with having reduced flexibility of thought and behavior. A large number of studies have reported that parents of children on the AS experience higher levels of stress when compared to parents of typically developing children and children with other developmental disabilities. Such stress levels are dependent on a number of factors which seem to be interrelated and complex. In this review we divided these factors into parent characteristics, child characteristics, family support system, social support/socioeconomic status and pro-fessional support, proposing an integrative model for understanding parental stress.

Bridging Autism Spectrum Disorders and Schizophrenia through inflammation and biomarkers – pre-clinical and clinical investigations
Open Access

Joana Prata, Susana G. Santos, Maria Inês Almeida, Rui Coelho and Mário A. Barbosa

In recent years, evidence supporting a link between inflammation and neuropsychiatric disorders has been mounting. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia share some clinical similarities which we hypothesize might reflect the same biological basis, namely, in terms of inflammation. However, the diagnosis of ASD and schizophrenia relies solely on clinical symptoms, and to date, there is no clinically useful biomarker to diagnose or monitor the course of such illnesses.

The focus of this review is the central role that inflammation plays in ASD and schizophrenia. It spans from pre-clinical animal models to clinical research and excludes in vitro studies. Four major areas are covered: (1) microglia, the inflammatory brain resident myeloid cells, (2) biomarkers, including circulating cytokines, oxidative stress markers, and microRNA players, known to influence cellular processes at brain and immune levels, (3) effect of anti-psychotics on biomarkers and other predictors of response, and (4) impact of gender on response to immune activation, biomarkers, and response to anti-psychotic treatments.

 

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Global Autism Solutions