Cranialsacral Therapy is one of those alternative therapies that I have embraced for the sake of my autistic child. My normal cynical self probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere near a treatment which declares that : ‘through the simplicity of gentle listening touch, Craniosacral Therapy offers a distinctive stillness that allows your mind and body to rest deeply and begin to restore a natural balance’.
However, having read of the benefits of Cranialsacral therapy for children with Autism (this is an example: http://www.healing-arts.org/children/craniosacral.htm), I suspended my disbelief and took Ellen for the first time about five years ago. I remember being absolutely amazed that she allowed the therapist to place her hands on her for the full hour’s appointment (she usually dislikes being touched – even by people she knows well). Not only did Ellen seem to enjoy the session but she was keen to go every few weeks and even once requested to go on her birthday!
As Ellen struggles with expressive language I’ve never really got the the bottom of how it feels for her to have the therapy beyond that it’s ‘good’. Today however, in the car on the drive over, Ellen was in a particularly talkative mood. We had been discussing the plaster on my thumb for a few minutes (how I’d cut my finger, on what, where it had bled and how I mustn’t get blood on my trousers etc) and so getting rather desperate to change the subject, I questioned her a bit more on what she liked about going to ‘Janet’s’ (the name of our therapist). To my surprise, without any further prompting she replied that it made her head feel ‘soft’. Janet was absolutely delighted when I told her what Ellen had said. She has two or three other autistic clients, one of whom – a young man with Aspergers – is more able to describe the benefits of the therapy and tells Janet it makes him feel calm and ‘smooth’. Janet is convinced that a lot of people with autism have very tight membranes in their head which can cause headaches and that the cranialsacral therapy helps to ease the tension and promote relaxation.
All relaxed this afternoon, and still working on our co-regulation RDI goal, Ellen and I created a fireworks picture. The beauty of this kind of activity is that we can take differing turns while working together; but there is no script and so anything goes. Most of it went on the floor (to be carried off joyfully by Brian-the-puppy). Still, it is now of no consequence that we won’t be going to a fireworks display tonight – Ellen hates the noise as they go off – we have our own gooey and glittery indoor picture to get us in the right mood. Right….where’s the brush and dustpan…