An Asperger Experts mom tells her story
As a member of Asperger Experts, I had seen a mention of Holly Bridges’ book "Reframe Your Thinking Around Autism". In my quest to find ways to help my daughter (now 21 years old) who has always had to work so hard to function with High Functioning Aspergers issues (sensory overwhelm, social difficulties, food aversions, disconnect of body and mind, inordinate amount of restorative sleep, black and white thinking), I bought the book. That day was life changing for me as a mother. I read the book from cover to cover having “lightbulb/aha” moments throughout! The vagus nerve? Dr. Stephen Porges? I had never heard of the vagus nerve or Dr. Porges previously. How is it possible that in all my years (at least 15) of guiding and supporting my child to accommodate all these issues, none of my research, reading, knowledge of Aspergers, therapy interventions… none had the same impact on how to help my child as did this one small, easy to read, sensible book! Polyvagal Theory, Brain Plasticity and Holly Bridges take on how to use this knowledge to help my child opened a new path for us.
After reading this book, I had to contact Holly. As disappointed as I was to learn that Holly lives in Australia and we are in the U.S., I forged ahead. What great news it was to find out that Holly does work on Skype and I could talk with her face to face. I set up a Skype session to learn more and find out if this modality could help my daughter. The Skype session was relaxed and comfortable. Holly explained her protocol of exercises, gave me visuals, taught me the basic simple exercises that I could teach to my daughter. And then she left it to me to decide if this work is something we wanted to pursue. I took a long time to think about it. I thought about how to present it to my daughter. I thought about the expense. I thought about flying to Australia and living there so that my daughter could do this in person with Holly (that was definitely out of the question!). I waited so long that Holly recontacted me and asked if this might be my daughter’s cup of tea. Sadly, I had just delayed and delayed because I was fearful that my daughter wouldn’t want to do it, would think it was some “new-age, woo-woo, magical-find- your- inner peace” protocol and she wouldn’t be open to it. I am so thankful that Holly reached out. She honestly wanted to help. Shortly after that Holly explained that she had developed a “5-consecutive day” Skype program that she had had success with. I explained it to my daughter. I talked to her about the vagus nerve, the science behind the method, how her body and mind were not hooked up in a strong way and her difficulties were through no fault of her own and I wanted to offer her a way to live more fully and easily without all the restrictions she needs just to function. She was skeptical but interested enough to go for it!
Now here is the best part…the first Skype session was absolutely amazing! My daughter said she felt like she did as a kid…happy and smiling, but not even knowing why! She said she realized why so many things have been so difficult for her for so many years (going back to learning to tie her shoes, riding a bicycle, being in a dance class and being the last one to learn the routine, not running as fast as her friends because she would be afraid she would fall because she had to be so aware of where her feet were by thinking, being in crowded places and feeling overwhelmed by sound and activity…the list goes on and on)…she felt a connection between her body and mind. She was relaxed. She said she felt like she could even meditate. She said she felt her spirituality reappearing inside. She glowed. The experience was so positive and affirming that every day for the next 4 days, when it was time for the Skype session, she looked forward to it, got herself set up and enjoyed the time with Holly. Each day after the session, she reflected on more things that made sense to her. She recognized many experiences that she had had growing up that were hard for her and now she understood why…and how things could be different from now on. It felt magical because it was so easy and simple.
Holly was kind, peaceful, acknowledging, intuitive and ultimately a very skilled guide. As Holly says she doesn’t do the work…you do the work, you are the one who makes the changes. It was very empowering to my daughter to know that she has everything she needs inside to move forward successfully. She has the knowledge now to use the exercises throughout her life. My daughter was concerned that somehow doing this work and making changes would make her a “different person”, that somehow it would take away her personality and her individuality. She now recognizes that that did not happen. She is the same person…but without the overwhelming struggles. She is living more easily. And as my daughter explains, it’s not that she doesn’t feel things that used to overwhelm her, it’s that she feels things now and they don’t overwhelm her.
I am so thankful to have found Holly’s book, connected with Holly and took the leap of faith that the protocol could work. I am thankful that I found a way to afford to provide this to my daughter. Yes, it was expensive. But in the scheme of things, the expense was a drop in the bucket compared to the benefits my daughter has experienced. As a mother, seeing the joy in her eyes, the relaxation in her body and hearing her tell me how good she feels and how she wants to feel like this always…is priceless!
I highly recommend Holly Bridges and the work she does. She has a gift to share with so many who are on the spectrum, who struggle with everyday life, who are trying countless methods to help their children, help themselves. My wish for you is that you are able to connect with Holly and that you will find solutions and success in living life with more ease.