No Limits

Mastering the mental edge

Coach Mike's Blog

Mom Got Her Son Back.

September 12, 2013

Ryan was diagnosed with Asperger disorder when he was 9 years old. Asperger disorder is a disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication along with developing repetitive patterns of behavior.


Despite being a great young athlete and hockey player, Ryan’s parents said that he increasingly shut down in his communications, his interactions with family members and friends, and he spent much of his time alone in his room.  And while he still played hockey, he was losing interest year after year.


After the diagnosis, he was put on expensive and powerful prescription medication, with many side effects—and stayed on those meds daily. Yet, despite being on the medication, he didn’t socialize much, didn’t interact with his parents much, and was in trouble quite a bit at school along with having failing grades in many of his classes.
At 16 years old, he was introduced to me and the No Limits program, sort of by accident.  I met his his mom at a social event and she asked what I did for a living.  I told her and she responded with, “Wow, that’s interesting, I wish you could help my son with Asperger’s.” I replied, “I probably can, let me know when you want to get started.”


She laughed—(I didn’t)—and she assured me that medication was the only way to manage the Asperger disorder.  I then assured her that it wasn’t, that Asperger’s is a behavioral disorder and many of those can be reversed. While researchers say the cause of Asperger’s is unknown so it is probably genetic, I believe that Aspergers can be developed by many things including stress, fear or internalizing difficult circumstances as a youngster.


So, I began working with Ryan and at first I noticed he was pretty shut down.  He wouldn’t look at me or anyone when he spoke. He gave one or two word answers and showed no enthusiasm about anything. He desire was to play video games and eat snacks which was obviously an escape for him.  He was open to working with me but was pretty closed off to the idea of change as he too thought he had to take medication to feel better.


We worked together a couple of times a week and while results were slow at first, I noticed he was beginning to show some interest and ask me questions about what was possible and what he might be able to do.  The more I made him realize that he was in control of his experiences, his mental health and his life–that he had a choice–the more he accepted those truths and began to show signs of improvement.  After a few weeks he started to commit to the daily mental work and No Limits techniques but didn’t tell anyone what he was doing.


We worked–then he worked.


Within a couple of months, Ryan became more social and started to show his true personality which was playful, warm and friendly.  He showed signs of interest in sports and outside activities, something he hadn’t done in years. Within three months, he was no longer taking any prescription medication and his grades in school went from D’s and F’s to trending A’s, B’s and a C.  His parents were getting letters of praise sent home weekly from teachers including one that said they “had never seen a more remarkable turnaround in a student than with Ryan.” After failing some classes in semester one of the school year, Ryan was one class short of the honor roll by the end of his junior year and went on to making the honor roll his senior year.


Ryan took up hockey again, spent two years at a junior college before going on to play hockey in college for a D1 university where he recently graduated.  More importantly, I remember a conversation with his mom about a year after Ryan’s turnaround.  She told me that she had a particularly tough day at work and when she came home, she just collapsed on her bed in exhaustion.  In walked Ryan with his now usual witty banter and asked his mom what was wrong and she replied…”tough day.”  He proceeded to give her a hug, spent the next hour making her laugh and even offered her a foot rub to make her feel better. Not bad for a kid who was branded as unable to show emotion a year earlier.


She told me that it was one of the nicest memories she’s ever had as a mom and it was then she realized how a tough day was nothing compared to having her son back.


Many times, just like with Ryan, something more can be done.  It’s so important to never give up on anyone.


No Limits Nation was formed for this very reason, to give kids (and parents) the simple tools to live their true life—a life of happiness, passion, fun, excitement and fulfillment.  And, with No Limits Nation, kids can learn many of the same techniques that Ryan used in his turnaround.


Let me be frank: Kids need this program—now more than ever. Parents need this program. This is the class they don’t teach in schools.  Every challenge can be overcome and in many cases, medication isn’t the answer.  More importantly, giving children these tools and head start before the incidences start is crucial instead of putting out the fires later.


- Coach Mike

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