Case Studies

The Frozen child – Wai Chi (2)

Just to prime your memory of our last issue,we had a 20-year-old young adult with autism, Wai Chi. He was a heartening college student who would strive his best and do anything in hope of improving his own communication skills. 
During last summer from July to August, Wai Chi came back from the United States for holidays. He attended a total of 12 days of therapy at PDA, with 90 minutes training each day. Training areas were as follows:
I.              ‘Mindful Healing Touch’ to release fear and anxiety accumulated within his body and muscles, so as to relax his body and mind. In doing this, his self- defense system will transform from increasing ‘Fright, Flight Freeze Stress Response’ to ‘body actions’ and ‘social interactions’ self- defense system. This will also activate the flow of energy in his whole body but not be bundled up in his brain. 
II.             ‘Self- Consciousness Awakening Therapy’ to open up his vision, hearing and body sensation, as well as to train his eyes to look and his ears to hear and making use of his ownbody to respond to the environment.
III.           Communication skills
So, what are the effects of these trainings on him?Let's find out in this issue!
Social Skills and difficulties prior to training:
Wai Chi longed for interactions with others; however, he showed extreme nervousness and anxiety, presented with stiff body and slow motions in social situations. Also, his head down posture led to a narrow vision field down front, which prevented eye contact. For his listening, he was able to hear the sound but showed no intension for further processing or often processed with wrong implications. He hadself- talking behaviors and slow, out-of-context responses  created barriers in communications and interactions.
Trainers’ observations after training:
Even though the changes in Wai Chi were gradual and subtle during the training, what we observed after the training was a huge transformation, no matter in his body, eyes, ears consciousness and ability in communication.  
First, Wai Chi’s body is now much more relaxed, with increased, faster, more natural and fluent responses. While he is walking, he is able to raise his head to look at the front and the surroundings, and no longer only stare at the floor. His eyes seem to glowwith confidence, and he has increased natural facial expressions, such as a conversation, his responding speed is two times faster than before. The waiting period improved from initially 7-8 seconds to 2-3 seconds, answers produced were comparatively more relevant, and more fluent in expressing himself. He was also able to maintain a topic for a few turns, and at times uses words to praise others. The relevance of his responses upon a topic has improved!
The most encouraging improvement is his new ability to identify whether the information is seen with his own eyes, heard by his own ears, or his own heartfelt feelings; and whether the information is just his thoughts. This shows that Wai Chi’s conscious sensations and self- consciousness have successfully set off its journey for development!
Mom’s view:
After training, we had a chat with Wai Chi’s mom to know(interview?about Wai Chi’s performance prior to and post training. She responded with smiles, she felt that Wai Chi now has more appropriateeye contact with others and speaks more fluently. He can now express himself more appropriately and less self- talk happens in a conversation. Moreover, Wai Chi has an improved range of topics with richer context, unlike how he used to have repeated topics, he can even at times create humors himself!
Moreover, she also realizes that Wai Chi is starting to develop his multi-tasking ability. For example, he has minimal responses to his conversation partner while using his computer. Looking back, there was no way that Wai Chi could produce a response whenever he was focusing on a task, despite how hard you tried to call him to get his attention. Through observations, on the day when Wai Chi was checking- in online for his flight, we observed his improved participation in conversations. 
All in all, Wai Chi's autistic behaviors have reduced a lot!
Two months after Wai chi flew back to North America for study, we invited Wai Chi's parents to update his condition to check if there is continual development in his behaviors. We received a prompt reply from mom. This is what she wrote in the email:
“ Wai Chi is now striving hard on his study, he also requests me to do the touching(Mindful Healing Touch) for him. He said he felt relax after the touching on his head, neck, upper body and back, arms…..Wai Chi said that he felt very relax after the touch. His mind will not stuck w stone. …. 
He is more initiative to approach other people though his way of expression may not be 100% make sense. Response time is quicker, though it still takes 3-5 seconds [1 ],I tell him it is better at 1 second. Now he takes initiative to ask his classmates together for group study which is a good sign. “ [2] 
After reading the email, all of our trainers yelled 'Great!' It felt like Wai Chi and his parents have started a new life; we felt truly, deeply excited   
for them......even Wai Chi has sensed his own changes! He wrote a hundred-word-letter to us on the comparison of himself before and after training,' After a month and a half training with Miss Chan and Miss Cheung, there are slight improvements in my communication skills, thinking ability and body sensations.'[3]He wrote two examples as proofs too. 'I used to take at least 5 seconds to respond to my relatives, but now, I can respond in 3 seconds.' [4] Before I went to eyes was only open to very few things.... I used to only be able to pay attention to very limited things, but now, I can look in various directions to look at objects and things happening around'. [5]
In addition, Wai Chi also felt that his brain, body and mind are much more relaxed than prior to training. He wrote that:
'After working with Miss Chan [6] for one and a half months, I am able to appropriately relax myself. My chest and brain used to be tensed, my thinking was slow and I was not able to relax myself before I went to PDA'. [7]
All these 'slight' improvements in Wai Chi’s eyes are in fact a huge leap for the trainers!
All in all, Wai Chi has become more relaxed, a richer vision, and a fuller hearing experience to receive the world with greatly improved sensual reception; Opening his hearting for him to step out of his mind and body, this allowed him to use his eyes and ears for information intake from the real world. This has helped his body and mind to efficiently communicate and develop relationships with others.
Is it fair to say the training was effective and successful for Wai Chi? Of course that different people may hold different views, but I guess you would also agree that Wai Chi's social skills was back onits righttrack of development, and it is moving forward!
From my observation, when a frozen body and mind is relieved, one's hidden vitality will triggered andthe child's potential will then kick start. Consequently, the child's changes and growth will become a natural and fulfilling life process!
It is grateful to have Wai Chi for giving us such a beautiful testimony. We wish him and all others who are in similar situations with Wai Chi to be continuously enlightened in their social skills!
1. It used to take him 7 to 8 seconds to respond
2. Extracted from Wai Chi's mom's email to PDA (11/2013)
3. Extracted from Wai Chi's letter to PDA (mid 8/ 2013)
4. ditto
5. ditto
6. Miss Chan refers to Miss Cary Chan, the Child Development Trainer who did Mindful Healing Touch on Wai Chi 
7. Extracted from Wai Chi's letter to PDA (mid 8/ 2013)
PDA Newsletter 2014 April (10 Edition)