6 Essential Development Stages Children Undergo When Recovering From Autism Treated by Dr. Tomato
One should clearly understand what processes children undergo to return to normal when treated with the Dr. Tomato protocol. Simply considering reductions in children’s stereotyped behavior as betterment or increases in stereotyped behavior as aggravation is wrong. Those advocating for ABA treatment tend to think that betterment should be accompanied by functional changes such as language development and execution of instructions, which is also wrong.
The decisive indicator of the success or failure of autism treatment is the development of sociality. The process through which children develop sociality in a stable manner is not much different from neurotypical children’s sociality development. They follow virtually the same stages and development processes, starting from making regular eye contact with their mother and making social smiles to achieving verbal communication by the age of 18 months. As long as the child’s sociality is developing typically, changes in sensory seeking or the appearance or elimination of stereotyped behavior can be considered trivial. Without this understanding, parents may end up making the ignorant decision to give up on their children, who are regularly developing but finding them lagged behind. To avoid this unfortunate situation, one must clearly understand the six development stages.
6 essential development stages to escape autism
6 development stages children undergo for normal development with the Dr. Tomato Protocol
Autistic children who do not make eye contact or exhibit moderate to severe autism undergo the following six development stages to return to normal. A clear understanding of each development stage is essential to precisely determine if the child is going through the ordinary development course. In particular, it is vital and most challenging to stabilize and establish the first stage (eye contact) and the second stage (motor imitation).
1. Eye contact
Typically, autistic children make no or very weak eye contact. Even if they do, they do so with people very familiar to them and only when they want to do it. With this, they cannot observe people and develop the desire to interact socially. The starting point of autism treatment is to restore natural eye contact. The first noticeable change in treatment following the Dr. Tomato protocol is the restoration of natural eye contact.
Most autism treatment programs recognize the importance of eye contact. Hence they often take a training-based approach to cognitive and behavioral treatment where they teach children to make eye contact. The eye contact ability Dr. Tomato seeks is not trained eye contact. The following three indicators confirm the ability to make stable and regular eye contact.
First, the child should be able to consistently make eye contact with social smiles looking at others in a friendly way/fondly.
Second, the child should observe the world, primarily focusing on people, watching how people move, and naturally making eye contact with familiar people and strangers.
Third, after all, eye contact leads to overall communication abilities. In other words, the child should be able to ‘communicate’ with their eyes and express their emotions and slight changes in feelings. I expect the child to recover to be able to communicate with their eyes (non-verbal communication).
2. Motor imitation
Building eye contact, the child is now able to observe people. Observation arouses interest in how people act and behave, hence encouraging a natural imitation of their behavior. Wild and spontaneous motor imitation implies self-learning abilities for social development, a powerful signal that the child has started recovering from autism.
Typical cognitive and behavioral treatments try to teach children motor imitation, where they are given commands to copy what others do. The imitation Dr. Tomato seeks is not passive. Passive imitation cannot equip the child to respond and live well in a natural society.
Ordinary imitation for social development should have the following three characteristics.
First, spontaneous imitation, rather than passive, the child expresses joy without instruction.
Second, delayed imitation frequently observed among autistic children does not allow them to develop sociality. What leads to social development is instant motor imitation. In other words, the child should immediately copy as soon as they observe what parents, siblings, or friends do.
Third, motor imitation should not be anecdotal but consistent. The child will realize the joy of representation and enjoy copying how others act in their daily lives.
Fourth, once the child has established motor imitation, the child often develops acoustic imitation. When motor imitation leads to an acoustic model, language development will naturally follow.
3. Execution of instructions
Once accustomed to motor imitation, the child will gradually execute instructions, i.e., understanding the parents’ language expressions about what they expect and practicing it in behavior. The stabilization of motor imitation is followed by the execution of complex instructions.
After all, the execution of instructions is a result of the cognitive learning of sociality. As the child repeatedly executes instructions, they will realize complex social rules. The development of sociality will speed up the instruction execution stage. Often people assess response to calling along with eye contact. But in fact, a response to a call appears in this stage. This is a result of cognitive learning that they should respond by looking back when someone calls.
With the appearance of instruction execution, the child also starts expressing their desire about what they expect from the parents or caregivers. Thus, the child starts showing behaviors of giving instructions to the parent. Although, the child’s language development is still delayed in this stage. That is why the child uses non-verbal methods such as body language, facial expressions, and sounds to deliver their request and communicate.
The non-verbal communication stage is critical. This suggests that the child can now communicate with people, hence virtually recovering from autism in effect. The development of non-verbal communication skills will be the foundation for language communication. In this stage, the parents should focus on playing with the child to interact to boost non-verbal communication rather than being impatient about their child’s language production progress.
5. Communication using asking words
Following active non-verbal communications, the child starts making attempts to communicate using language because using language is the most effective way to make their requests heard. Typically, children begin saying titles such as ‘mom or ‘dad,’ but autistic children tend to start with asking words. With desperate desires to make their requests heard, the child overcomes delayed language development and tries speaking things. One should note that it is common that they start developing language skills by asking words.
6. Interaction using language
Once using asking words actively, the child will start making sentences. With the diversification of the use of language, the child enters the completion of communication in the language. At this point, the child has achieved the completion of treatment and has gained victory over autism!