WHAT IS IMTI?
The Intensive Multi-Treatment Intervention program is a unique and powerful approach to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that integrates a variety of treatments into a single program. Every IMTI program is customized to address the unique challenges and needs of each individual child.
The IMTI Program begins at home and transitions into school or life-skills to work-based education and support. Individual programs are supervised and directed by Jonathan Alderson, Ed.M. and led by parent(s) who are provided with monthly training, step-by-step guidance and the support to effectively run and administer their child's customized treatment program.
Intensive Multi-Treatment Intervention focuses on three main domains:
Over the past decade, there has been an abundance of research and investigation into the underlying biological causes of the symptoms of autism and related disorders. Not all, but many, individuals with autism may have biological imbalances and sensitivities that compound their challenges in learning, feeling comfortable and their ability to focus. A vitamin deficiency may, for example, lead to vision problems and consequent reading challenges. Many examples are not this simplistic but involve multiple interdependent factors.2) Behavioural and cognitive education
While the IMTI Program is not medically based and our staff are not medically trained or certified, we can help parents to learn more about the connections between physical health and cognitive function, learning, and behaviour. We empower and educate parents to make informed decisions about choosing suitable biological treatments that fit with their children's' specific needs and family resources.
As there are currently dozens of supplements, diets, drugs, and elixirs that are promoted as "cure-alls" for autism, it can be important (and economical) to invest first in some basic base-line observation and testing to explore and determine what your child actually needs. Success stories abound, yet as with anyone, autistic or not, what helps one person may not help another or to the same extent.
We do not recommend that you begin restrictive diets immediately or buy a soup of supplements in hopes of making the right guess before reviewing family biological history and your child's physical symptoms. Working with a DAN! trained doctor or your preferred physician who is familiar with current biomedical protocols for autism will be important to ensure that your child's biological treatment is professionally directed and monitored by an M.D. If you are ambitious and want to learn more about the physiology of autism, we recommend Dr. William Shaw's book Biomedical Treatments for Autism and PDD or Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless's book Children with Starving Brains.
The field of autism treatment can be overwhelming! There are hundreds of treatment options, dozens of theories of causes and explanations of symptoms, and very little consensus between professionals. Behavioural interventions are strongly promoted while at the same time parents most often recognize the importance of socialization and play therapy. Over many years we have studied, researched and explored as wide a range of treatment options as possible with the understanding that each child on the spectrum is entirely unique and therefore requires a unique set of supports, tools, and education.3) Family and therapist Attitudinal Fitness training
The IMTI program specializes in working with families and other professionals to design education and therapy that promotes the strengths and abilities of an individual with autism while addressing their challenges. Specifically, while we believe in the multi-treatment model, we take time and consideration in designing the order and timing of the variety of strategies, curriculum, supports, and techniques we may use.
From classic behavioural strategies to on-the-floor play therapy to sensory integration techniques and Brain Gym principles, using the H.E.L.P. curriculum incorporating Montessori, Enki Home Schooling and computer-based learning, our list is limitless. While we are committed to remain open to new programs and ideas, at the same time we prefer research- and evidence-based methods.
Our attitude impacts how we behave. Unhappy emotions, fearful thoughts, and negative beliefs can become part of your relationship with a child and will get in the way of you being the most effective parent or therapist you can be. When you are impatient, angry, or upset, your behaviour is negatively affected. This connection may be obvious, yet very few strategies or programs exist to train and support people to choose more positive and accepting attitudes toward people with autism. Attitudinal Fitness helps to move you from simply knowing that a positive attitude is good to learning how to and practicing daily a positive attitude.
The IMTI Program teaches parents and therapist that attitude - how you feel and what you think- is perhaps one of the most critical and powerful factors linked to your ability to foster communication and interaction and learning.
Attitudinal Fitness is a key component of the Intensive Multi-Treatment Intervention program through which families and therapists learn to feel more comfortable and capable of handling the challenges that children with autism might present.
Phase 2: Expanding Activity Repertoire
Phase 3: Curriculum and Table Work
Phase 4: Peers and Play-dates
Phase 5: Transition to Public Environments
Phase 6: Transition to School Setting
The underlying belief that drives IMTI is that the factors contributing to your child's behaviour, communication and learning challenges are multifaceted; therefore, treatment should be multi-faceted as well. Single-focused treatments such as behavioural therapies, play-therapies or diets alone are simply not able to address all of your child's needs. As represented by the puzzle symbol, PDD and autism are complex disorders. There is no single cause that yet explains all of the behaviour and challenges of these special children, and no single treatment that addresses all of their needs.
According to the National Research Council's summary report Educating Children with Autism (2001) on the state of autism treatment in North America: : No single intervention has been shown to deal effectively with problem behaviours for all children with autism (p.118). Current research and the most recent government reports in the U.S. suggest that the most effective treatment programs are those that combine a variety of approaches that are customized to each child's needs. A review of anecdotes and parent-told stories of autism recovery supports the NRC's finding that programs which include and combine more than one treatment approach can help children to achieve their maximum potential and development; IMTI does just this! The IMTI motto is: Treatment as unique as your child.
There are 6 broad development phases of an IMTI program beginning with Free-play and Relationship Building and ending with Transition to a School Setting. Children typically learn best at first in a non-distracting, safe, and accepting environment. Beginning in the home, we generalize outside and then into school.
"Home-based" does not exclude pre-school or other educational settings. If your child is indeed thriving and learning in a particular environment, it may make sense to incorporate this into his/her program. Programs are designed in conjunction and cooperation with the parents according to each family's individual needs, goals, beliefs and resources (time, finances, support, etc.).
Undergraduate and graduate studies in educational and developmental psychology as well as a Masters in Education provide Mr. Alderson with a solid reference and frameworks from which to design programs. However, it is his experience working with families and their children with autism for over 13 years that he draws upon for inspiration and the best of what works. His formative training and 8 years of work at the Son-Rise Program in Massachusetts provides much of the foundation of the attitudinal training parents receive. This is unique among other treatments in North America.
A typical home-based IMTI program will run between 18 to 24 months. Some programs may run longer.
Currently, in his private practice, Mr. Alderson accepts a limited number of families at any given time as he provides customized and intensive training and communicates regularly with parents. Each family is scheduled a minimum of 1 full training day (6 hours) per month for as long as they want / need input.
For further information and a personal consultation please click here
"Two years ago, we began working with Jonathan to put together a home program for our son diagnosed with autism. At that time, Liam was completely non-verbal and frustrated to tears many days. He had digestion and bowel problems and was uncomfortable daily with a bloated stomach. Through the IMTI Program, we were guided to address Liam's needs from his health to his education.
Liam now has an amazing imagination and shares his detailed stories, using full sentences and lots of animation. He was a child, who barely looked at us. He now sits at the table anticipating new activities and curriculum. And most importantly, he has a playful relationship with his baby sister and expresses his love to his father and me often!
The IMTI program that we implemented to help our son educationally and nutritionally, has not only had a tremendous impact on him, but on us as well. Thank you, Jonathan for touching our lives in such a profound way."
Nancy and Bryan B., Son: Liam, Age: 5, Ontario, Canada