the autism centre

Parents Area

Frequently Asked Questions

Parents often have a lot of questions regarding Autism spectrum disorders and about the Delacato Method. Here, we will attempt to answer the most commonly asked questions.

What is Autism?

Autism is not a disease, it is a description of the strange repetitive behaviours and stereotyped non-goal directive behaviours exhibited by mild to severe brain injured children. Autistic children generally have limited communication skills and often very little social skills.

What causes brain injury in children?

It is the contention of the Delacato organisation that brain injuries may well be acquired during pregnancy, during birth, and in the first few months of life. In pregnancy mothers can pass infections to the foetus, during birth lack of oxygen is a major factor. Birth complications which lead to overextended procedure, and emergency caesarean section. Older mothers are more likely to have children with neurological problems than younger mothers.

What is Delacato clinic?

The clinic is held three times a year January, May and September for 1 week each month in Cirencester. Parents of brain injured children visit by appointment to have consultations with David Delacato and Antonio Parisi and recieve instruction how to rehabilitate their children at home. More Details >>

What is the Delacato Method?

The Delacato therapy is based on the principle that the brain can be retrained to accept new experiences using physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and education. By this method the child can learn from new experiences via the senses: hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and touching.

What sort of results can the Delacato Method produce in Autistic Spectrum children?

With some children we achieve wonderful results, with others we achieve noticeable success. But remember, the success lies with the parents, not with the child, as the more work the parents do with the child, the quicker the child changes. In the medium to long term, children with limited speech can recover speech, children with learning delay can achieve a good education. Beyond that it is very much a unique process for each child.

How long is a Delacato programme likely to take before improvements can be seen?

In the age range 2-10 we have seen children make noticable progress where these children are "high functioning" on the ASD spectrum within 8 months of commencement of the programme, and expect at 16 months to see major significant improvements. We have had children starting the programme at 2-3 years and to commence primary school at age 5 reading and writing well. These are the "mildly brain injured" children. Often there can be observable improvement after 4 months.

For the more seriously affected children, we expect some changes in the first 8 months. More eye contact, better attention span, better behaviour, some ability to recognise letters and numbers, maybe words, maybe some simple maths. Better coordination,some ability to manage feeding. After 2 years of the programme we would expect to see a more independant child.

The Doman-Delacato Method advocated intensive cross-patterning with the child for up to 8 hours a day using 2-3 people to carry out the exercise. Does this remain the current practise?

It is true that the original Doman-Delacato Therapy practised in the 60's was an 8 hour programme patterning programme administered to mobility impaired severely brain injured children. However today, after many years of research and development by Dr Carl Delacato, behavioural and learning delay children can be neurologically rehabilitated with an average daily programme of 2-3 hours, whilst the more severe brain injured children with mobility concerns still require some patterning as part of an holistic programme.

What are the differences between Autism and other neurological conditions?

First of all we have to list the conditions that are commonly associated with neurological dysfunctions(read brain injury):

At the mild end of the spectrum those with very mild brain injury or delayed development are frequently labled ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia. These are the "active", busy children,and in the case of Dyslexia, have reading and writing problems. These children have speech, are sociable but are difficult to educate.

In the middle range, we associate Asperger syndrome with medium brain injury. These children are sociable, search out contact with other children, are very precise in their outlook, very methodical to the point of being pedantic, and can memorise railway time tables. Their speech is often repetitive and echolaic.

At the serious brain injury end of the spectrum we have Autism. These are the children whose apparent normal development up to 18 months stops abruptly. Any speech acquired totally disappears,c hildren become withdrawn and shun contact with other people. They close off completely from their world and environment as the brain injury seriously disrupts their sensory systems and makes them unable to cope with our normal busy noisy world. Their perception of our world is different to that of non brain injured individuals.


Principal Facility: 26 Gwscwm Park, Burry Port, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire SA16 0DX, UK
Tel: 00 44 (0)1554 83 69 60

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