I met Àlex Gómez Máximo in October 2008 when I was working at “Attention Service Carrilet (ASC)” carrying out treatments as a psychologist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Àlex and his family were looking for a entity that could explain to them what was wrong with their son and help them understand and take charge of the difficulties their child had. I did the diagnostic process which confirmed that Àlex was a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and once the therapeutic objectives were explained to his parents, we started the weekly treatments.
The process carried out with Àlex was complex; the work was done together with the family and the ordinary school, always moving forward jointly and coordinated. We were all very involved so that Àlex could have a better quality of life and would develop the necessary skills in order to communicate, interact and express himself in a better way, being connected to his environment.
The evolution during the treatment was very good. Individually, Àlex started learning how to regulate himself, to understand and communicate, to express his love and needs, to feel loved and to love in a more peaceful and safer way. He started being more self-confident and feeling capable to grow up, to do every day more things that made him feel happy. With his family we started to work their personal process as Àlex’s parents, to understand the difficulties and to learn how to join and contain their child in suffering. Finally, we coordinated and monitored with the ordinary school to ensure that Àlex’s school environment was the best. This task was done in a more specific way by another psychologist of this service who also cooperated in the monthly follow-up with the family.
It should be pointed out that Àlex started with a medication treatment in order to help him regulate his disruptive behaviour which interfered in the psychotherapic treatment, in the relationship with his parents and in the school. From the beginning of the pharmacological treatment these behaviours became more contained making the process development easier and more positive. This task was done by a psychiatrist from this service carrying out a psychiatric and pharmacological monitoring of Àlex and counselling with his parents on a regular basis.
My part in the treatment came to an end in July 2010, when due to employment issues I stopped working at “Attention Service Carrilet (ASC)”. The farewell was quite, serene but with pity and longing. From then on, Àlex was attended by another psychologist of this service as the necessity to continue working with him was reinforced, because of the difficulties he still had, but also because of the positive development he was doing and the great amount of resources he was getting capable to display. There was still a lot of work to do, taking advantage that Àlex was profiting from a psychotherapy space. And so it was done.
When I think about Àlex’s story, his origins, his encounter with those that would be his parents, his internal journey, the impacts he suffered in the first months of his life… I feel that he is a fighter, that he is very brave. I believe he will accomplish anything because he deserves it and his parents too. I remember how they came every week to work with me; they came committed, confident and grateful. They have had this attitude until now and they must continue like this. Excitement, hope, confidence and belief are essential props for Àlex’s good development.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the sooner they are treated the better is the prognosis. And the end of the treatment does not have a specific objective. Parents’ expectations regarding the improvement in their son’s quality of life has neither limits nor end. Àlex’s parents have always struggled to know, learn and give their son everything that was good for his development. They keep doing so.
Àlex has changed a lot since I met him and he needs to change even more, he needs support. Space, treatment and therapy must be offered to him to continue encouraging his resources and abilities. It would be unfair if it is not so. For this reason, the family told me about the difficulties they were having to carry on with the treatments as before. Together with all the professionals who have taken part in the care and treatment of this child, I decided to write this document. I wish it would serve as a witness, a call of protest, to find and gather the necessary support to help them go on, and we could feel happy that it was worthy, because fighting is always worthy.
As a psychologist and psychotherapist I ensure that it is very important for Àlex and his family to have the necessary resources in order to continue working and treating the difficulties that Àlex suffers as a consequence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Aina Pijoan i Mas
Psychologist and psychotherapist
Collegiate number 14056
Barcelona, January 18th 2013