AAMP/amt Learning Studio Inc. is a Non-Profit Organization serving the autism community and providing a community outreach. We use Autism Movement Therapy which helps jump start the brain. Our class benefits children diagnosed with autism and special needs or any child that needs help with speech, behavioral, motor or social skills.
My name is Erica Matthews, and I'm the owner and lead instructor of the Autism and Movement Project in Pana, IL. The handsome guy in the picture is the whole reason why I started AAMP/AMT. His name is Connor, and he was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 1/2 years old. I first met Connor when my mother was his aide in Early Childhood. Connor had little to no speech, many behaviors, TONS of sensory issues and trapped in his own world.
Here is this child putting together 25-50 piece puzzles, pointing to sight words on request. How can such a brilliant child do all these tasks but can't form a sentence? It boggled my mind, and from then on I was very interested in learning more about autism. Every summer I would help with summer school and our connection grew stronger! Connor and I had a funny relationship. When we would be alone and playing, I was the most important person, but out in public he didn't know I existed.
Over the years, Connor's speech turned into just echoing and more OCD behaviors occurred. I heard about a program in Charleston, IL called Dragonflies. I talked his mom into taking him every Saturday to the class. After two months we noticed some changes, mostly him being so calm after class. I bought the DVD Aut-erobics that was created by Joanne Lara. We started doing the DVD every day after school.
After two weeks of fighting and constant positive reinforcement finally started to a pay-off. I walked into their house and Connor was sitting at the table. I asked, "where's mom?". Only to expect him to echo me, but instead Connor looked at me and pointed up and said "she's upstairs." I stood in disbelief. For the first time in 8 years, he FINALLY spoke his first sentence!!! That is the reason I knew I had to do this! Connor is in regular ed. classes and pulled for resources. He proved people wrong that said he would never speak or be able to stay in regular class. This is why I love what I do and why I BELIEVE in it!!
“My son's coordination has improved to the point that he has earned an upper rank in hisTae Kwon Do. His social skills have progressed as well. He is beginning to understand social cues and interacts with others much more reciprocal manner than before. As a parent, I am thrilled that we have resources such as Erica and the AAMP program in our small town.”
I truely believe in this project. I have been blessed to be a part of these kids lives. It is absolutley amazing the results.