Jackie Zaldua has been my family’s consultant for a few years. Her knowledge and expertise has improved our lives greatly. She guides me in accommodating my son Iven’s challenges with autism, and she teaches me what methods and strategies to use in order to encourage Iven to understand better and interact and socialize more. Jackie understands the rationale behind his behaviors. She teaches me how to protect myself if Iven does get aggressive and how to lessen the frequency of unpredictable behaviors. Time and again, Jackie has gone out of her way for our family. She is one of the most passionate and devoted consultants we’ve ever had.
Allie Tyner has been Iven’s tutor for nearly one year. He is seventeen, a teenager with unpredictable behaviors. It is difficult to find a tutor to work with a teenage boy with lots of challenges! Allie works with him on RPM, reading comprehension, journaling, and math. She is patient and understanding. Even though my son can be difficult to work with sometimes, Allie always overcomes any obstacles in a professional manner. She is also open to new ideas and suggestions. My son enjoys his close and professional relationship with Allie. Under her tutelage, my son has improved so much these past few months. Allie, thank you for your dedication to your students, especially to Iven.
When we started Occupational Therapy with Chris, we had gone through 2.5 years of all sorts of therapies for my 4 year old son, who has autism, developmental delay and severe dyspraxia. I still remember the first session, when my son walked in, ignoring everything in the OT room, and just lay on the mat while we were talking… I told Chris “this is what he always does” and I explained how rewards, encouraging words or even pressure could not get him to move. Fast forward a year later, my son walks into the OT room with excitement in his eyes, purposefully choses a swing that he wants to play with, problem solves to put it up (with help of Chris), pays attention as Chris changes the equipment, and is confident enough to try all different activities and different ways of playing. We have seen great progress in his motor development. As his posture improved, he started to use his arm and hands, then he learned how to throw, and how to steer a tricycle; his coordination is much better, and he is beginning to run with proper bilateral coordination. Overall my son is more regulated and more aware; even his school teacher commented that “his processing time is much shorter”. He now has longer attention span and great energy level. Chris is incredibly warm, professional and enthusiastic. His professionalism, depth of knowledge and how he integrates RDI principles into his therapy has helped my son to develop physically and emotionally. Working with Chris has been a true pleasure and we highly recommend Chris to anyone in need of OT services.
When our family began RDI parent training at TAG in 2010, our then 8-year-old son had been diagnosed with ASD for 6 years. During that time we had invested in many therapies and programs: ABA, occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision therapy, and many biomedical interventions. Many of these had helped a little, but none of them seemed to get at the core of the problem, our son’s inability to handle dynamic situations, the messiness that is life! We could teach him many rote skills, but we could not make him desire to engage with the world, or help him navigate unpredictable or changeable situations, especially human interactions. We were discouraged and very stressed as we saw time passing with so little improvement in his core deficits. RDI completely changed the way we thought about our son’s diagnosis and gave us new tools and our son a do-over and chance to learn what he had missed in his earliest years. Since we were homeschooling, we had lots of time to practice the new communication and the incremental and carefully planned but natural and dynamic activities that helped him begin to make discoveries about himself and the world around him. As we continued, he used his new skills to explore the world around him and this had a snowball effect of his picking up many skills and understandings we did not teach directly. He learned better how to learn. Because this is a family-led program and we were continually trained and guided as parents, we now have ways of interacting that enable us to maximize his discoveries in the future. This has greatly reduced family stress and normalized our lives. I cannot say enough about the effectiveness of RDI and the excellent training, guidance, and resources that have been provided by our consultant and the rest of the staff at TAG.
The Autism Group changed our lives. When we began RDI with our son Adam, our entire family was in crisis mode. Although Adam had participated in an intensive behavioral program for several years, we certainly didn’t see progress in the areas that were most important to us. While he was learning to follow instructions, keep his hands quiet and other static skills, we saw no gains in the dynamic arena of socialization, interaction, desire, motivation, etc. We began to believe that progress in those areas must not be possible for individuals with autism. When we met Brooke, she assured us that indeed, Adam could and would begin to make gains in the deficit areas that caused him and his family so much pain, loss and longing. When Adam began making eye contact because he WANTED to, not because he was asked, we couldn’t believe it. When he brought me the mixer so that we could make cookies together, I was astonished. Today Adam is a bright young man who initiates daily interactions. He enjoys cooking, helping with laundry, taking long family bike rides (and because he can co-regulate now, he’s safe while doing so), dancing with anyone who’s willing, going to the movie theater, taking trips to Costco and anything that involves a partner. Adam’s possesses very strong opinions and preferences and makes those known several times a day. Thanks to RDI, Adam has also become incredibly curious and motivated to learn in the academic arena. He’s now learning to read and spell, among many other things. I think it’s so critical that parents understand that you can’t TEACH motivation and curiosity. They must develop naturally, which is what RDI allows to happen. Because RDI is based upon the tenants of typical development, it misses nothing. There are no holes and gaps. Objectives focus on true development, rather than rote and static tasks. Thanks to TAG and the many knowledgeable, honest and compassionate professionals here, we are anxiously engaged in Adam’s development every day and have every reason to be hopeful regarding his future.
“Throughout this year we are amazed at our son’s ongoing growth in this program. Not only has he strengthened his confidence in developmental areas addressed previously, he has established new areas of development as well…He now understands his role of being a partner and being able to do what I do to keep our fun game going. We never thought we could feel so much enjoyment of our son playing simple games that came so easy to other children…We never imagined 2 years ago how different our son would be today. We have enjoyed every moment, watching him meet milestones we never thought would come. We are believers that he can have a more independent future…We are always thankful for those who support us in our journey. We are equally thankful for our RDI consultant, Amy Olts, who continues to guide this family on a successful path.”
“We have known Brooke for 3 years, after our son was given a diagnosis of autism; She has been there every step of the way, for us as parents and for our son. We met her when he was just turning 3 and she has been a true guiding force for our lives. Brooke is very smart, knowledgeable, kind, warm, funny and loving; she encompasses every trait that we need and love! She is tremendous at IEP’s and speaks her mind very intelligently. My son (+ 3 kids) all adore her and look forward to each time she visits. Our son is now in Kindergarten and is doing awesome; we owe so much of this to Brooke and her expertise in her field. We adore her, respect her and hope that it’s a lifelong relationship!!!”
“We cannot begin to express the depth of our gratitude to The Autism Group Inc. for helping us with our son. When we started with Relationship Development Intervention our son had no concern to connect with my husband or myself other than to get his basic needs met i.e. food, drink, toys. Now he loves to interact with us only to laugh, smile and play. We now have hope that our son can and will be able to live a life like everyone else.”
“We love RDI and have found working with Brooke critical to keeping us focused and on target with our objectives. Her feedback and support are helping us shape our son’s future which is getting brighter by the day. It’s so empowering to work together as a team and see results in our son’s engagement and enjoyment with interactions.”
Last spring, I had my daughter tested for some learning challenges that she was facing. The results were that she has a processing disorder and had a difficult time comprehending and processing information. Chris Vinceneux was recommended to my family from a fellow teacher at the school where I teach so we started seeing him twice a week for the remainder of the school year and through the summer. My daughter still sees Chris Vinceneux once a week and is making tremendous improvements. He is so patient and kind. Homework and schoolwork is no longer a battle and she LOVES going to see him. We have even had my younger daughter go into sessions with my daughter to work on ways for the girls to interact in a more constructive manner and work together. Chris is truly amazing and I cannot say enough positive things about him.
Our son at around 2 years of age started exhibiting behaviors that were different and unexpected – he bit, was aggressive unexpectedly, was extremely sensitive to noise, smells, and light. He started having social problems at his preschool and started stuttering. A psychologist had been recommended to us, and our son had been a patient there for almost a year with absolutely no improvements. A friend then told us about Chris Vinceneux and that he had helped them with her daughter. At first we were very skeptical, given our previous experience with the psychologist, but we were desperate to help our son. From the start, it was clear that Chris understood our son and his frustrations better than any of his teachers, his psychologist, or even his parents. Our son was on the autism spectrum and had sensory processing issues that were the root cause of his frustration and behavioral problems. Chris provided an extremely safe place for our son to learn essential life skills, and how to cope with the dysregulating sensory inputs that are a part of every day life. But even more importantly, he started to educate us as parents to understand our son and how to start teaching him ourselves. The sessions Chris scheduled with us as parents were important to give us a basic education, but his insistence that were involved in every therapy session with our son taught us how to use this education in practice. As far as I’m concerned, the reason this therapy works is that the therapy continues at home after the sessions with Chris end. Over 3 years my husband and I learned invaluable tools from Chris – it truly was an education. We continue to use these tools on a daily basis; however, the progress our son has made over the last 3 years is tremendous. He went from an extremely insecure and angry toddler to a happy energetic child enrolled in a normal classroom in a normal school. He has learned to express himself and apply the many skills that Chris has taught him. We wholeheartedly recommend Chris, and we only wish had started earlier. Chris has forever changed our lives.
When we first came to Chris with our son, Keoni, we were close to hopeless. Our son was hyperactive, biting, shoving, hitting and spitting at his friends, slamming doors, having bought of diarrhea then constipation, unable to sleep, not listening to his teachers, etc., etc. When we would ask our son WHY he was doing these things at school, he would always say he did not know. When we would ask, “Why did you hit your friend who did absolutely NOTHING to you?” He would reply, “I don’t know! I really just don’t know!” At times, he would be in tears. At other times, he couldn’t reven remember the incident. I realized at some point that he was in pain as much as we were and that he was telling the truth. He really did not know why he was behaving this way. He was sent to the office so many times, and calls were made home, and many meetings at school took place. He was close to being kicked out of Kindergarten. We did not know what to do. I knew my child did not want to get bad behavior cards or go to the office and he truly could not explain why he was doing the things he was doing. I did a lot of research and came across a syndrome I had not heard of, but seemed to fit my son’s symptoms. It was called, “sensory integration disorder.” My sister-in-law who has 2 autistic daughters, referred Chris Vinceneaux to us. I thought at the time, that I was not sure if an occupational therapist would be the answer. We had decided that nothing else seemed to work, so why not? We were able to curb some of the behaviors by removing gluten from my son’s diet (the constipation and diarrhea) and with acupressure, but the behavior problems still remained quite prevalent.
Chris became our new hope and new best friend. He was AMAZING with Keoni. By watching Keoni play and construct, while problem-solving, Chris was able to ascertain how Keoni thinks and responds to his environment. Every week, Keoni seemed to improve. Chris was able to help Keoni realize his actions and then talk him through solutions. Little-by-little, Keoni began to recognize when he was feeling hyperactive or getting overly stimulated, which would cause his actions to be beyond his control. After a while, Keoni was able to learn how to calm himself with breathing techniques, a chewing device, using his muscles to redirect the energy in his nervous system, or wearing a weighted vest at school for a different form of stimulation. Chris also utilized special music that helped my son’s brain to focus and become more calm.
I cannot even begin to thank Chris and Therapeutic Approaches to Growth for my son’s AMAZING transformation. My son is now in 2nd grade, has been getting all good behavior reports and will be tested for the gifted program in February or March of this year. He is thriving at school and at home! Not only did my son change, but we changed as parents and have learned to be more understanding of our beautiful son and his needs. Thank you, Chris! You area blessing in our lives.
When our family began RDI parent training at TAG in 2010, our then 8-year-old son had been diagnosed with ASD for 6 years. During that time we had invested in many therapies and programs: ABA, occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision therapy, and many biomedical interventions. Many of these had helped a little, but none of them seemed to get at the core of the problem, our son’s inability to handle dynamic situations, the messiness that is life! We could teach him many rote skills, but we could not make him desire to engage with the world, or help him navigate unpredictable or changeable situations, especially human interactions. We were discouraged and very stressed as we saw time passing with so little improvement in his core deficits.
RDI completely changed the way we thought about our son’s diagnosis and gave us new tools and our son a do-over and chance to learn what he had missed in his earliest years. Since we were homeschooling, we had lots of time to practice the new communication and the incremental and carefully planned but natural and dynamic activities that helped him begin to make discoveries about himself and the world around him. As we continued, he used his new skills to explore the world around him and this had a snowball effect of his picking up many skills and understandings we did not teach directly. He learned better how to learn. Because this is a family-led program and we were continually trained and guided as parents, we now have ways of interacting that enable us to maximize his discoveries in the future. This has greatly reduced family stress and normalized our lives. I cannot say enough about the effectiveness of RDI and the excellent training, guidance, and resources that have been provided by our consultant and the rest of the staff at TAG.