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Autism – Jenny Roberts Foundation & KidsCode

Details  Directorate: Community

Project Leader: Mike Shade & Carolyn Earle

Submitted Date: ~2009

Status: Completed 2011

Description The Club funded, mentored and peer reviewed a research project of the Jenny Roberts Foundation on alternative responses to behavioural issues.
Heirisson’s role and criticality to success Heirisson supported peer-reviewed research for publication in professional journals including the Australian Journal of Early Childhood (AJEC Vol. 36 No. 3 – September 2011)
Part of a strategic relationship or partnering/alliance? With Jenny Roberts Foundation
What difference will the Project/Program make? The project helped support peer-assessment of the Kids-code approach to sleeping and related disorders in children, especially autistic children.
Other Benefits (Include sustainability of benefits, fun to do, recognition for Heirisson) Jenny’s approach was seen as providing a potentially break-through response to treatment of a range of disorders on the autism spectrum.

Jenny Roberts, Nicole Kingston & Lisa Ford talking about Autism – a developmental disorder affecting communication, behaviour and social skills.

Nicole Kingston  – a trained Psychologist – talked about the conventional treatment ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) for Autism which until now has been regarded as a lifelong disorder. ABA involves 30 hours of therapy each week and is an expensive treatment that gives children a 50% chance of recovery. Nicole met Jenny in Tasmania and at first was very skeptical about Jenny’s method of treatment which was based on a 5 day program involving the entire family of the autistic child. However Jenny demonstrated to her that her technique definitely worked and Nicole discovered that this new skill was infinitely better than ABA. Nicole is now currently training with Jenny to learn the new treatment program.

Lisa Ford is currently doing a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology. She has a background in work on ABA but is now collating data on Jenny’s work to provide a reference and record of her work with Autistic children. To date her analysis has shown

  • Stress level on parents notably reduced after Jenny’s program
  • Remarkable changes in the Autistic children particularly in eating, sleeping and toileting habits
  • Children now able to play with less evidence of behavioural habits attributed to autism
  • General calming prevails over the family

Her analysis has shown a substantial improvement in all children, many to the point where they are no longer considered to be autistic.

Lisa is hoping her results can be published next year and will provide a basis for a new best practice for autism treatment.

Jenny Roberts started her 20 year journey as a trained occupational therapist. She has been dealing with children for over 30 years and says her life experience began with her own family. Jenny found that parents of autistic children repeatedly stated that no one would listen to them and she has discovered that this is now an important part of her process.

Her treatment process involves living with the family of an autistic child for 5 days.  During this 5 day period she is able to give the parents the power to know what to do with their child. Some of the steps in her program are to

  • Sit with the family for extended periods
  • Turn off the TV and remove other distractions
  • Wait until the family has calmed down and are ready to progress with change
  • Wait for the child to ask for something to eat (she has yet to find a child who did not eventually ask for food)
  • Empower the child to know what to do
  • Create a relationship of calmness in the family

Jenny said that there is a lot of waiting involved in her treatment and that she has consumed countless cups of tea in the process. Despite the public exposure of her program and her success, the medical profession has to date been unwilling to learn about her treatment method.

Jenny receives thousands of requests for assistance and is continuing with her treatment program.

Thank you Jenny, Lisa and Nicole for an enlightening presentation.

Updated: 2015-06