A Story of  Hope

Thomas is a 20-year-old boy now, and I knew him when he was five. Remembering the time when we first met, his mother held him tightly as he could not remain seated. Thomas, climbed up and down the chair, ran around the room, shouted out loudly, and spin himself. After a while, he went to my side, held onto my legs tightly with his arms, like a koala hugging a tree. His mother was embarrassed; raised her voice and pull him away from me. Thomas was silent, neither was he crying nor laughing. His mother was exhausted after years of trying all possible methods to improve Thomas’s conditions, yet he still could not speak or control his temper. Thomas’s mother asked me “Professor Chan, could you help?”

Hence, I began to study the feasibility of Chinese medicine as a neuropsychological rehabilitation in 2002, because there was no Western pharmacological intervention available. Thomas became my first research participant. In 2003, I studied and found there was positive effect of cutaneous stimulation on treating autism, nevertheless I decided to stop from further investigation because children cried painfully during the treatment. After that, I studied the effect of a set of mind-body exercise, yet it was not quite effective. Then, I studied how stimulation on the Dan Tian region affected the brain activity level, but the progress was insignificant. Despite repeated failures, Thomas’s mother remained supportive, worked with me side by side, and she was willing to let Thomas to be the first participant of my many newly discovered methods. We tried and failed, but we had never given up each other for five years!

Five years later in 2007, I began to learn Shaolin medicine. Thomas remained to have limited language ability, and uncontrollable emotion and behaviors. Given that his uncontrollable behavior caused harm to other children at school, he had to take psychotropic drugs to stabilize his mood and behavior for two years. Thomas, just like before, was my first client to try practicing the Dejian Mind-body Intervention. Six months later, he no longer needed psychotropic drugs, and his self-control ability had largely improved with no more beating and biting acts. This is Thomas’s mother description in the progress record:

“When he made error in the piano class, he was able to follow the teacher’s instruction of sitting on another chair and awaiting teacher’s correction. Whereas in the past, he would instantly run away once he left his seat. Today, he sat aside waiting for the teacher to finish demonstrating, before he played the musical piece. This is the first time when he could pay close attention to the teacher’s guidance.”

“In the past, he reacted with temper outburst when he made an error in his painting. Today he painted the stairs in the wrong color, then he thought about it for a moment, and corrected the painting in his own way.”

Thomas loves to paint. He can express his inner world on a drawing paper. The following are recent drawings from Thomas, and in 2015 we held an exhibition of his paintings at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.