ABC Nightly News - Autism Breakthrough | GemIIni - Speech Therapy Programs for Children with Autism

Author: GEMIINI DVM

This is ABC 30 Action News, live at six. After an autism diagnosis where can parents go to find help? I'm Margo Kim in Fresno. I'll show you a revolutionary new therapy many families are doing at home.

It's making a life-changing difference for autistic kids. A revolutionary treatment for autism is showing promise for children around the world. It was all started by a mother who was searching for a way to reach her autistic children.

She traveled to the valley to speak exclusively with Action News anchor Margo Kim, and shows us why the therapy is working for children when other methods have failed. Therapist: [indistinct..] Therapist: "Can you put a red caboose on there?" As the Clinical Director of the California Autism Center and Learning Group in Fresno, Dr. Amanda Adams looks for promising ways to treat children with the disorder. And it's at its all-time high: one in sixty-eight.. Speech therapy is one in the center's services.

But the therapist could soon get help with a new system of videos created by a mother of seven. My twins were diagnosed with autism and they did not respond to therapy. Desperate to find a treatment for her children, Laura Kasbar used a method called Discrete Video Modeling to create the GemIIni system.

ABC Nightly News - Autism Breakthrough | GemIIni - Speech Therapy Programs for Children with Autism

[Girl on screen] "Cat, cat, cat". The secret is in the simplicity of showing words and associations, allowing autistic children to focus on learning. Kasbar travelled from her headquarters in Spokane, Washington to talk to us about the program. GemIIni brings the child out of themselves and actually appears to be restructuring some of the neurology in their brain. Watch Laura's own dramatic example how her once-nonverbal son began to communicate. [Laura]: "Hey, Max! Max! Say 'cheese'" [Max]: "cheese". [Laura}: "Max, how OLD are you?" [Max]: "Three".

[Laura]: "What's your NAME?" [Max]: "Max!" Dr. Adams supports the GemIIni system. A tool that should be in your toolbox of many other things combined. And so, along with good behavior intervention and a good school program, and all of the other pieces still in play, this tool I see as a supplement.

Dr. Heather O'Shea with Autism Therapy Provider ACES, which has a Fresno office, says GemIIni shows real results. We're very excited about it. Again, we are starting to implement it, the research gives me great hope.

[Margo Kim]: Even after an early diagnosis of autism many families have to wait for the referral process and insurance coverage approval to start services for their children. But Laura Kasbar says, with the GemIIni system parents don't have to wait to start the videos right at home. The videos are accessible on the company's website and can cost as little as a dollar per hour of therapy. Laura's autistic twins are now thriving in college, and she hopes GemIIni can help many more children become successful learners. Margo Kim, ABC 30 Action News. Hello, I'm Laura Kasbar, and when my twins were two years old they were diagnosed with autism. With intensive therapy my daughter began to speak but my son wasn't getting it.

After months of therapy he still didn't know one single word. He was 3 1/2 years old with the language of a 10-month-old baby. My quest to learn how to reach my son let me do adults on the Spectrum who could explain to me how they perceive the world.

From those conversations I developed the filming method that has become Discrete Video Modeling, or DVM. The first day my son saw these videos he said his first word. In a few weeks he was learning 30 words a week. This is a graph of Max's language before we started GemIIni. Here is the language acceleration of a typical child, and this was Max.

A the rate he was going he would be lucky to have language ability of a two- year-old when he was 10. Now, this is what happened when we started using GemIIni. You can see that Max's language took off, he crossed the average mean when he was seven and crossed the "Gifted" line when he was 14. Here's a video of Max just before we started DVM, and then again a few weeks later. [Laura]: "What are you doing , Max?" [Laura]: "Hey, Max! Max! Say 'cheese'" [Max]: "cheese". [Laura}: "Max, how OLD are you?" [Max]: "Three". [Laura]: "What's your NAME?" [Max]: "Max!" [Laura]: "What's your LAST name?" [Max]: "Kasbar".

[Laura] "Good job!" : "What do you WANT?" [Max]: "I want..house.. HOUSE!' [Laura] "Okay, go get the house! Here it is!" That video was fourteen years ago, and you may be wondering how the story ends. The twins entered college at 16 and are both very verbal. They attend news legislature events and participate in public speaking. They still need a little more support than others may need in some classes. But for the most part they are pretty independent. Now, autism is a lifelong disorder, but that isn't going to stop them from having a happy, independent life like anyone else. Our first group trial was a pilot study in a classroom with eight children with autism.

Six of the children were low-verbal and two were nonverbal, despite three years of therapy. These two children had no language at all, not even a verbal imitation of sounds. The trial was started in September and by January all children had improved greatly. And the two nonverbal children were speaking in complete sentences. This gave me the proof I needed that my little Max was not just an outlier, that I had something that could work what most kids.

We have since had trials with the Los Angeles County School District at Inglewood, California, Gonzaga University, the Eden Center at Princeton, Spokane public schools and internationally in South Africa. Just like little Max, GemIIni has shown to be successful even in reaching people who have not previously responded to other sorts of therapy. Our trials have shown us that GemIIni isn't just for autism.

Children with Down syndrome and language delay have done even better. We've also used GemIIni to teach reading to young children and to students who have fallen behind their peers. Children go from the bottom of the class in reading to the top of the class in just a few months, using the program.

Although we have a strong research base with language learning we're just beginning studies with the reading program. Initial results are very encouraging, and we'll keep you updated with published studies. In our research we found that GemIIni works with about 90% of people with language disorders, and about 70% of the most severely affected. We also learned that if GemIIni isn't used correctly you may not see any improvement at all. And this is why: half the children love GemIIni and want to watch it all the time. Some children are ambivalent, and about 30% actually do not like the videos AT ALL. If there's one thing I want you to take away it is this: KIDS DON'T HAVE TO LIKE GEMIINI FOR IT TO WORK. My own son HATED the videos, but he learned everything from them for years.

Why do some kids hate Gemini? Well, people with autism generally like to retreat into their own world. GemIIni sort of forces the viewer to engage in our world by making them pay attention to information which is crucial to language. Other kinds of videos, like cartoons, can actually encourage children to retreat. For about 30% of kids the forced attention of GemIIniI can be uncomfortable, and there's the danger of developing an aversion to it. To counter this aversion we suggest that you begin using GemIIni home sessions with your child when your child is eating, so three times a day, twice through at each meal. If they like them, you can expand the time. To accelerate learning it is best to have your child watch in groups.

For little kids, if you can get the school viewing the videos for the entire class, that is optimal. But if not, you can do this simple trick: place the computer monitor or laptop at the head of the table when the family is eating dinner. Have everyone at the table copy the words and animal sounds along with the video.

This will allow your child to actually participate in family time and encourage JOINT ATTENTION, which has shown to be the NUMBER ONE EARLY INDICATOR OF EVENTUAL LANGUAGE FLUENCY. Over time the sessions will move from single-word labels too short phrases. Once your child starts to independently engage with family conversation you can remove the computer.

Don't stay on any one video session for longer than a week, even if it looks like your child isn't getting it. Believe me, he's getting it, and you just run the risk a boring him to death! You can also watch the "Day in the Life of a GemIIni Child" video for more ideas on doing strategies. We have had some children respond amazingly the first week of GemIIni. But others, especially nonverbal children, have taken months to respond. As a parent of kids with special needs myself, I suggest that you try GemIIni for six months before giving up. Also, get the school and therapists involved as much as possible.

It's always best to be used in conjunction with a robust therapy program. But, considering the scarcity of services in some areas, you may not have that luxury. Don't worry. GemIIni can be used alone if need be. If you are fortunate to have one-to-one therapy for your child the addition of GemIIni has been shown to increase language substantially.

A typical hour of therapy looks something like this, with most of the time being spent on input usually using flashcards, data recording, prep time and review. Only about 15 percent of the time is spent on generalization, or getting a child actually USE his language, which is the most important piece. With GemIIni the input on the information, prep time and review can be offloaded to the computer and can be done at home for as long as you want. This leaves the majority of the live therapy session open for GENERALIZATION and getting the child to use his newly acquired language. It makes each therapy session FOUR TIMES as effective.

If your child has less than 30 words of meaningful speech, then click on Quick Start Language, which will get you started immediately. If he needs a more customized approach, then watch the "Create New Session" video to see how to create customized curriculum from our pre-filmed video library of over 10,000 words. It literally takes less than two minutes to create 10 hours of effective therapy time. So in my preschool the kids come for two and a half hours, for four days a week, and as we try and do as much as we can, therapy-wise, in that short amount of time but if parents are following through with this video and we can have therapists following through with this video and it's just consistent... I like a team approach and that's always the most beneficial for the kids. Before GemIIni, DeMarcus was non-verbal and he had a hard time following instructions, so... When we'd say "clean up" he would not clean up, and..

So then, after GemIIni came along, he started to initiate with his peers, he started following directions and he.. I would say "clean up" and he cleaned up and came to circle independently, without any prompting. And also, since he was non-verbal , we were using a lot of sign with DeMarcus (or trying to) and he wasn't doing any of the copying the signs that we were doing. So then after GemIIni, one of the things that was on the video at first was fish and crab... And so he watched the video, and along with the video he was going [gestures] "What does a crab say?" he was doing the signs immediately! So that was really exciting. And then also, that same day, I was doing "Slippery Fish" at circle - which is a song that we do a lot in preschool - and he started making the fish face with his mouth, which is something very hard to do, to get that mouth mouth closure, and we'd never seen it with DeMarcus before.

So he started going [gestures] which is really exciting. So we all cheered and it was a big party. But we've seen great growth with him. [New speaker]: I'm a physical therapist. I come in once a week and I see kids in small groups, so I have children with autism, children with Down syndrome... DeMarcus is a whirling dervish! He is in constant movement.

I'm trying to teach him to slow down. To pay attention to what he's doing because he tends to fall and is always is always in forward momentum. Since GemIIni started he's stopping, he's looking at what I'm doing, he's recognizing... Well..

There's a stop sign.. He's recognizing that he needs to stop. He is recognizing that what I'm doing he, for whatever reason, wants to imitate, and that's really cool! The implications of this, for my world, are huge. [Previous teacher]: We have a little boy in a classroom with echolalia and it's very hard to get him to functionally communicate because he's repeating everything that we're saying all day long. And so if I ask him a question he just parrots what I ask, and he does it with videos and with other IA's and with other specialists throughout the classroom. So he watched the GemIIni video about "no repeating" and to try and to stop echolalia from happening in the classroom and in other settings. And we went to circle time and one of the questions that I ask is "What's your job today?" Normally he says "What's your job today?" right after I ask him the question. But that particular day he said, "I'm the weather helper", and it was amazing! He's never done that before, so that was very exciting.

He started pointing out things that he would see outside the window, which he never did, especially unprompted. He just said "Look, there's a squirrel!" And at snack he was requesting... He also has a really hard time with his colors and that's something that we've been working on a lot. And I told him to go sit at the red table, and he pointed it out and he said "That's the red table".

So that was huge, huge growth for him. About two hours from the time we saw the video to the end of the day, and he had accomplished all those things. I have differently abled children in this room and some are severely impacted and some are just here for articulation needs. And so... The program is so great because I can turn on one video session GemIIni really targets it for all of my students, so they are all learning something out of it and they're all really engaged A lot of times I'll turn it on, not expecting that the kids are all gonna go watch the video, And before I know it, all 13 of them are sitting around the screen going "Crab!" [gestures], and even though some of them know that, they're still working on engaging with those nonverbal kids, and they need that peer model.

So it's really exciting to see that happening within the classroom. [physical therapist] Levi is a student with autism that I've been working with for about three years. I absolutely love Levi. Levi is is just one of those kids that you wanna get in their head.

You wanna figure him out, and you wanna help him be successful, because you know that it's there - you just don't know how to tap into it. So we've been working with him and he's making motor gains, but but nothing great. What I'm seeing since GemIIni is, all of a sudden, this child that when things got hard he would start to shut down, now, all of a sudden, he's challenging himself to imitate what I and the other children are doing. That's very exciting for a child with autism, because the implications for his life and his future are huge.

If he can do that and he's engaged, he's making eye contact, he is coming up to me. Holding my hand, taking me over obstacles, it's... It's great stuff. [New speaker]:Things that we have tried to teach the kids in three years.. And in three weeks they're making these gains.

And it's just amazing! It's... It brings me to tears all the time because I can't believe the kids are doing what they're doing. [Previous teacher]: It almost, like, unlocked a door and it made that.. What we've taught them in all those years of hard work... All those things came flooding to the surface.

And they started playing with peers appropriately, and hanging thir backpack up on their hook when they weren't ever... And those videos weren't neces... Those weren't what they were watching. Their skills were what WE'VE taught them. But because of GemIIni they were able to show us what they really knew. As a teacher, when you have a tool that's so easy to use like GemIIni, that can produce results like we've seen, it's amazing. And it really makes you feel like what we're doing has been working.

They just haven't been able to get that out, to show us that they're learning. So through GemIIni we've been able to prove yea! you know... That teachers are working hard, the therapists are working hard, and the kids are learning. I wanna go to school school every single day and see what they're gonna do next because we literally have a party in here every day, and we are celebrating the kids' successes like we never have before. I just have to say, this has been the coolest experience for me. But the last month I was working with a group of kids and all of a sudden my children that absolutely are usually spinning and running and doing all the craziness..

... They were watching what I was doing and they were modeling the exact body movements that I was doing, which are not easy for their bodies. And so I kind of went.. "Okay, something is different.

Something is going on. I need to find out what's what's going on because these kids are are different than they were a month ago". So I go talk to Ellie and she said "GemIIni - GemIIni is what we're doing". And so I went and I watched the videos and I'm like, "There's no way that this video can have this kind of carry-over in gross motor. How's that possible?" But it's possible because it's happening, and I'm seeing it every day now. It's great! [children chattering] GemIIni on the screen: "Elephant, Elephant". [children imitate elephant noise]. - indistinct chatter GemIIni: "Lizard, Lizard" GemIIni: "Lizard, Lizard" [children]: "Lizard".

GemIIni: "Lizard, Lizard". [children making lizard gesture]: "Lizard". GemIIni: "Lizard, Lizard". GemIIni: "Lizard, Lizard". [children making lizard gesture] GemIIni: "Bear, Bear". [children imitate bear gesture] [children imitate bear noise] GemIIni: "Cow" "Cow". [Boy repeats]: "Cow" GemIIni: "What does a cow say? Moooo" [boy]: "Moooo, Moooo" We'd love to hear how your children are doing with GemIIni, so please send us updates and any suggestions for new content that you may need.

Thank you from myself and the GemIIni team.

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