Join Dr. Steven Gutstein and co-host Kat Lee as they continue their podcast series on Dynamic Intelligence. In this episode, Dr. Gutstein speaks about why Dynamic Intelligence is SO important for all people, whether you are on the spectrum or not, and the correlation between DI and future quality of life.
Dr. Steven Gutstein: So I would tell any parent, that if you really want to, the treatments that have been developed up to this point does not address what we know now from years of research are the problems that prevent people with ASD from having success. They may sound good but when you read the research they don’t correlate with those things. And what we’ve done is we have very specifically created a match between the things that people with ASD are going to need to be successful and the things that we start to work on from a very early age to make sure that they are able to do those things and are able to have success and don’t have to go through life handicapped. So that’s what I would say to someone starting is that this is the way treatment should be conducted. It should be based on what those people need to be successful. Umm
Kat Lee: You know I think one of the things that is so amazing is that this all starts so young in the development of these little humans and I think parents might not, as you know I have a daughter that developed typically and a son who did not and so with her it was just kind of was happening but you know I wasn’t thinking about what was happening and I think that’s part of the reason why it’s hard to realize all that you just talked about started in her, almost in her beginning.
Dr. Steven Gutstein: My 2 year old grandson is already doing self communicating, he’s sub direct regulating, he’s planning, he’s considering goals, he’s starting to make decisions. He’s already starting to do these things at a rudimentary level . He’s using his imagination effectively and so the research shows you have to start as early as possible in these things. These are not later things you do and when you miss out on them earlier, you have to do them later, it’s just more and more things, then you have to undo a lot of things as well. And the other thing that research shows is how important parents are as guides. Not necessarily directing or instructing all the time but guiding, making sure the child has an environment where they can grow, making sure they have the right materials and making sure that your involvement is at the right level to facilitate what they’re doing. Also building the motivation for them.
Dr. Steven Gutstein: One of the things that you know gets lost in the literature is the importance of intrinsic motivation and there’s been such an emphasis on external motivation, reinforcers and upwards (?) that what happens is that you start to see children who may have a bunch of little discrete skills but they don’t have any of the motivations to sustain life long learning, growth, development, mastery and expanding their world.
Dr. Steven Gutstein: And of the things we have to emphasize is the first thing we do is we build those intrinsic motivations, we build that desire that’s there, we make sure it gets activated, we make sure that all of our children are engaging with us because they are very motivated to do so. We don’t have to use rewards or reinforcers. We know how to develop those intrinsic desires for relatedness, for personal agency, being able to have more and more influence in your world, for seeking growth, for challenge and mastery for autonomy. Those are the critical things that have to be developed along with abilities and also habits too. The habit of stopping to reflect and learn from your experience, habit of thinking before your acting. You know there are a number of habits that have to be more dramatic(?) along with motivation and along with mental abilities that we call mental tools. And it starts early, you’re absolutely right. The earlier we can, in our program it’s actually nice because it is based on individuals, we can access each individual’s readiness and build from there. Whatever the next step is for that person, we start with very basic foundations that’s needed and we can go all the way up to very complex..functions…
Dr. Steven Gutstein: So when a new person, a new child, a new family comes in we can assess and determine where we need to begin and what that means too is that we can provide this service with the dynamic intelligence program for children with a variety of issues or with no diagnosis at all for enrichment. It’s not just for children with autism, although they were the inspiration for this for what we have found is that these abilities aren’t taught to any children, they’re just expected to have them. And many children who don’t have autism aren’t good at some of these either and it hurts them, it handicaps them in their life and so if you’re a parent that wants to give their child the best head start, the best preparation for success, I think this program can have a lot of benefit for you. To teach you what we call a mindful guide.
Kat Lee: I think it’s hard when parents are doing these diagnoses at two and three years old because they become very vulnerable to a quick fix because of the fear of the future and I think sometimes what their seeing kind of on the outside of their child is not what their not doing right, really what’s important, their just seeing their child might not be speaking yet or something like that.
Dr. Steven Gutstein: And the problem is with the people who offer those things, they’re not, they’re underestimating these children. Most of these children go on to speak anyway, almost all of them will and so it looks like you’re a miracle worker when your clinical therapy leads to them speaking. They’re not even offering these higher level abilities or the foundations and some of them don’t believe they can have them or that they can do them. So they’re sort of selling them very low and their training parents without even knowing it to accept very little for their children and we want them to think big and we want our parents to think, we want to raise that bar and say look my child can have all that , They can be successful in the real world, not in the clinical autism world and we’re going to prepare them for that and we’re not going to accept what people are trying to sell us which is this very low level of functioning that they’re working on.
Kat Lee: I always say that we will certainly rise to the low bar if set the low bar Exactly. That’s where we will go.
Dr. Steven Gutstein: Exactly and that’s what these programs, these early intervention programs so often set such a low bar for the types of things that they’re developing. The other thing they do is that they don’t look at the developmental readiness of each child and say what is the next step for this particular child? They are just very programmatic, everyone gets the same thing whether they’re ready for it or not and it’s very much of an assembly line type of intervention which I think is not, medically it goes against everything that I have been trying to do. To me, you have to utilize based on that person’s, what they’re coming to you with, what abilities they have, what developmental foundations are in place and then looking for what the next step is for that person and you personalize your intervention. And these treatments don’t do that. Their manuals and you know when someone comes in the door they just get the manual, whatever it is. I think that’s really bad treatment.
Kat Lee: Well as a mom I want my baby to be an individual!
Dr. Steven Gutstein: Yeah of course, you want your child to be treated like a person and you want to know that their needs are being met, not that they’re being treated as a member of some large group and who are all the same somehow.