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Nathan welcomed his Grandfather to Japan

Lolo came to visit us in Japan. The last time Nathan saw his grandfather was 6 months ago during Christmas break.

Nathan was excited to see his Grandfather/Lolo. He pointed at Grandfather and asked, “Who’s that?” Then answered his own question, “Lolo Hermie.” to Lolo’s surprise. Nathan then pointed on his cheeks and said, “That’s Nathan!” Still with his thinking cap on, he continued, “Nathan Gil Yu Perez!”

Without a lot of prompting, Nathan does not normally answer the question, “What’s your name?” So watching all that was really exciting for me. To think he was really shy in the beginning. He would look at Lolo, hide his head under my hug, take a peek again, hide again, etc. Warming up took about 10 minutes. Then he was ready to interact.

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Visit Oji Zoo

We went to Oji Zoo the other day. Nathan was very attentive and named the large animals. He couldn’t care less about the sleeping or camouflaged animals. But what was more amazing was how he got the whole theme park mapped out. He knew exactly what ride he wanted and how to get there. This space ship was the first he asked for and he walked right towards it. He did the same with he planes and train, despite so many other rides that were as noisy and distracting. Now, who said kids with cerebral palsy are bad on orienteering? So many mis-conceptions to straighten out.

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Dedicated to our Japan Son-Rise Volunteers

We’re moving from Japan to Singapore in 2 months. We’re going to miss so much in Japan, especially all the folks who dedicated so much time for Nathan. Thank you so much. You will always be part of Nathan’s miracle story:

Mart
Tito Mart has been volunteering for Nathan even before I went to the Son-Rise Start-Up seminar. He has seen both Nathan and myself mature in this process. Tito Mart has taught me a lot about patience and perseverance. His own patience inspires me to move forward and take each day a step at a time.

Annette
From day one, Annette instinctively knew how to deal with Nathan. I loved her soft and gentle voice as she sang to Nathan or showed him an imaginary world. She gave him so much attention yet never expected for anything in return. But Nathan did want to give back. Nathan would always stop what he did to take a look at what Annette had to offer him. Short glances soon turned into interaction and expressive communication.

Marie
Marie is the sweetest! She had such pure intentions…to simply play with Nathan and never to force him out of his comfort zone. Truly the son-rise way of doing things! And Nathan feels her intentions and shows it. Marie is the the only volunteer Nathan greets with hug, with no prompts whatsoever.

Priyanka
Just when I was thinking of strategies to move forward with our son-rise program, Priyanka would be there to verbalize my thoughts or ask the right questions. I love the way she studies her own sessions with Nathan and always tries to figure out how to make it better the next time. Furthermore, Priyanka is really good at observing and listening to Nathan. And Nathan knows it! Nathan expects Priyanka to listen to every word he says. If she dares misses his words, he will reach for her lips as if saying, “Hey Priyanka, that was your cue…say it.”

Jack
Jack is Nathan’s youngest volunteer (10 years old) and it is precisely his age that helps him understand Nathan better. What amazes me is that despite his age, he makes so much wise decisions. This was evident the first time I met him. He came up to us as soon as we made the church announcement seeking for son-rise volunteers and he immediately knew he wanted to do it! Also, when playing with Nathan, Jack knows to follow his instincts and give Nathan what he wants.

Kristine
Tin’s is a story of giant leaps. When she first volunteered, she was unsure of her abilities with children but wanted to help. She tried the first few times and thought about her decision twice (maybe more?). But one day, to my amazement, Nathan just looked so comfortable with her. He went ahead and interacted with her asking her to get him toys several times. It was as if all barriers fell and Tin dove into the very same waters she was afraid to thread in few days prior. Her story shows me how much our spirits can accomplish in such as short amount time. It’s the same kind of leaps Nathan amazes us with.

Edwin
Tito Edwin is really great with children. If he was a cup of energy, his would be overflowing and I would be catching all the excess and keeping some for myself! There would probably be so much excess, we could pass it around! Nathan loves that energy when they play.

Tala
Tala was a new volunteer few months into our son-rise program. At that point, Nathan’s speech had increased and I was ready to push his progress even further. As a result, Nathan shied back into his autistic world. Thankfully, Tala reminded me to simply enjoy joining Nathan and trust that, on his own motivation, he will take big steps. That truly is the best way to go. Nathan enjoys being with Tita Tala and “teaching” her his world of textures and sounds. Tita Tala shows him she can be his perfect student.

Papa
One of the bothering signs of Nathan’s autism was when he lost the Father-Son bond. But this whole son-rise process has brought it back again. There nothing more exciting than watching father and son play together! It took a year of slow regression for Nathan to lose interest in Papa. But it took only a few months to regain it! And every day their bond gets better and better!

Monica
Monica started volunteering for Nathan before I attended the Son-Rise start-up seminar. At that point I could only give her basic instructions from the information I learned online. And mixed information from other autism therapies. Nevertheless, Monica always had things figured out and always managed to find Nathan’s motivations and engage him.

Hannah
Hana also volunteered before my son-rise seminar. Though she did not stay until after I attended the seminar, I truly appreciate her willingness to volunteer as soon as I asked her. A lot of regrets I life are not about the things that we did do, it’s about the things that we did not do. I know Hannah is the type that will have few regrets in life.

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Less “isms” more communication

We are now going into the 4th month my 5-year-old son’s Son-Rise Program for autism.

I’ve realized that Nathan’s “ism” (exclusive, repetitive behavior) has greatly diminished. Nathan used to enjoy flipping the pages of a book on his face so he could feel the breeze. The Son-Rise Program embraces these autistic behaviors instead of try to extinguish it (like some conventional therapy). Son-Rise recognizes that these behaviors have importance for the child (sensory input, sense of security, calming effect, etc). At the start we all joined Nathan and flipped pages to feel the breeze on our lips. I used to spend 2 hours of book-flipping before getting a good interaction from him.

Now, he does not need to flip pages anymore. If ever, he will have momentary “isms”. For example, he will come by an attractive book, flip it once on his face, then put it down and move on. It doesn’t take too long to get interaction from him anymore.

Old “isms” go as kids no longer feel the need for them, then new ones come along…Now Nathan enjoys feeling the shower on his face and body. The good thing is:
1. He verbally asks me that he wants to take a shower (btw, he mastered his “I want” communication skills in the 2nd and 3rd month of our son-rise program)
2. I use this motivation of his to teach him self-help skills like taking off his clothes. Nathan also has cerebral palsy (limited mobility of legs). I have always delayed the target of taking off his pants. But with his bathing motivation, he can easily take of his pants, with minimal assistance. I’m sure we’ll be getting a lot more practice because he keeps on asking to take a bath.
3. His “isms” seem to be improving from being completely exclusive to something more engaging…like, he wants to feel the water on his face but he knows he can’t get there with out mummy’s help. Of course I take advantage of that by asking for a kiss on my lips, cheeks, forehead, nose and then a big hug, which he gladly complies with 🙂

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DAN (Defeat Autism Now) Doctor

Finally a DAN doctor! I couldn’t find one when we were in the Philippines or in Japan. But there is one in Singapore where we will be moving. We already got an appointment with him.

For now we’re starting with megadoses of vitamins and minerals and probiotics for his poop. Later on we’ll do the rest of the DAN protocol and determine potential causes of autistic behavior.

One reason to be excited about moving to Singapore.

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More alert

We were busy toilet training when Nathan’s younger brother, Ian, came running and crying about how his blanket was not spread properly. Ian has an obsessive compulsive personality, like his Papa. Nathan was listening to what was happening and said, “What happened to the blanket?” After I explained he said, “Angry…Ian is angry.”

Nathan is showing that he is more alert about what is happening around him. He is also starting to express feelings more (his and other’s).