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Physical Developments

Last week Nathan had another developmental assessment (for the nth time) just to establish baseline (again!) for our new Singapore Neurologist.

At the assessment, the Physical Therapist said that Nathan does not look like he has cerebral palsy (limited mobility of legs) at all . She said, “He may be tip-toe walking from sensory or accustomed/patterned walking. But a child with CP wouldn’t be able to do that “…as she pointed to Nathan climbing into a hamper. Nathan also showed-off other skills like walking backwards, with assistance.

I didn’t know if I should be upset because I wasn’t confident in her ability to diagnose. I mean Nathan was born premature and needed a respirator in his first 3 days of life. Oxygen deprivation affected the area in his brain responsible for walking. All his doctors and therapists in Japan and the Philippines have confirmed his CP.

On the other hand, maybe I should be super excited that Nathan has progressed so much that they cannot detect his CP anymore, other than tip-toe walking???

A few months back, in Japan, Nathan’s Physical Therapist did say it looked like Nathan woke up new muscles after his Son-Rise Program. With more time and constant use it those new muscles, improvements would be inevitable.

More proof that son-rise can fix anything neurological! Yes, there is a mountain in front of me, but slowly I shall chip it away until it flattens itself!

Son-Rise elements that helped:
1. Give child full control.
Whenever Nathan wants to climb in table tops, so be it (just ensure safety). By giving full control, the child learns, “I can achieve anything I set my mind on doing.” Many times autistic kids are stopped from doing many things: touching buffet tables, getting some else’s fries, running around, flapping their hands, etc. They aren’t given enough control and encouragement to pursue further.

2. Kids always do things (“isms”) for a reason. If you spend enough time joining them and investigating what it is they enjoy about their “isms”, you will soon discover how those “isms” benefit the child. In Nathan’s case he needs extra sensory input (from climbing and standing on table tops) to help his brain “recognize” his legs and thus improve balance and muscle tone.

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Playing with Amor

Last night at bed, Amor was playing with Nathan and I was watching them with amazement.

Amor wanted Nathan to sleep next to her. He kept on getting up and Amor kept of pulling him to lay down. She laughed when he giggled. She kissed his hand as he felt her face. At times Nathan would put his arm around Amor, in the hug-to-sleep position. They must have played for about an hour.

It’s a scene I’ve long been waiting for my twins to exhibit.

Usually, what would happen is Amor normally tries to play with Nathan. She unintentionally becomes rough as she pulls him. In response, Nathan’s only way of defending himself from his perceived danger is by biting her. She would then shout or cry. Then Nathan’s sensory issues would kick in, because of Amor’s crying, and he’d become even more aggressive, then the vicious cycle would continue.

As I watched last night, I was waiting if I needed to intervene in case Nathan got irritated. It wasn’t necessary at all.

It’s day 7 out of 14 days of anti-biotics and anti-yeast treatment. The DAN doctor did day to expect better temper and less aggression. Let’s hope we solve a lot of issues with this treatment.

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Gaging Progress

Looking back: We started Applied Behavioral Analysis (a conventional autism therapy) in 2011, when Nathan was 5-years-old. In early 2012, Nathan’s ABA therapist recommended that we target teaching Nathan a useful skill that he could use. We identified: To teach him to point by August 2012 (before our move to Singapore). A six-month target, which they believed was reasonable. Prior to that, Nathan had never pointed in his life.

Simultaneously, Nathan’s speech therapist targeted for Nathan to speak with intention. At that point, Nathan was highly verbal, but many times I would wonder if he meant what he said or was simply pulling out quotes from TV or songs. The speech therapist wanted Nathan to intentionally say “I want raisins” and this would be indicated by Nathan picking up a raisin flash card.

Those therapist were of course wonderful people, trying their very best to help Nathan.

Continuing with the time line…on February 2012, I attended the Son-Rise Start-Up and got our program running soon after, as best as I could. We were lucky to have a hand-full of great volunteers. We all really learned (and continue to learn) as we went along.

The results of the Son-Rise Program:

By March, Nathan all of a sudden points accurately, several times in one day. From that day on, pointing became his regular gesture, used to aid his communication. ABA targeted 6 months. Son-Rise achieved in a month. In fact, it was not even a target but a result of helping Nathan learn better social skills the son-rise way.

About 5 more months after, Nathan begins to communicate his needs. His communication is not only confined to “I want (food)” as targeted by his speech therapist. Now, 7 months after we started Son-Rise Nathan can tell us exactly what he needs: I want to eat, the book, to turn off the lights, go to sleep, take a bath in tub, go in the big pool, do 1-2-3-jump, mama to carry me, piggy back ride, take off my shirt…the list is limitless. He can even plan now: I want to put on my shoes, ride a wheel chair, go outside. He even tells us how he feels: sad, angry, funny (when laughing).

The Son-Rise Attitude that helped:
Nathan’s words are powerful, it moves Mom (and volunteers). No matter how wrong the sentence or even if the word was only approximated, celebrate! and reward immediately by giving him what he wants.

At the start, when Nathan would say “cookie,” I would burst out of the son-rise room (celebrate!) and get that cookie from the kitchen as fast as I could (reward). It really made a big impression. In the first few months I found my self running to get stuff from the kitchen (or books from the shelf)…and praying all the time that our kitchen had all the stuff he requested for.

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For the record: What doctors say

Even our DAN (Defeat Autism Now) Doctor told me that the chances to Nathan making a full recovery are slim. He attributes this to his cerebral palsy caused by PVL, a brain injury when he was born premature which limits movement of his lower extremities.

He says some kids (about 30%) can recover with biomedical intervention but Nathan seems outside that 30% because of his CP.

I want to put this on the record and revisit it few years down the line,
after our son-rise journey.

This is not the only prognosis setting limits on Nathan. Doctors have said:
He may never walk (Nathan started to walk at age 3).
He will have a learning disability.
He will need help in high school…He will never make it to college.

“Doctors said, I would not be able to walk. My mother said I would…I listened to my Mom.”
– Wilma Rudolph, the fastest woman in the world (1960)

But while it is so important for me to see my Nathan make giant leaps. I love him just the way he is. If I could go back in time and change things. I would not change a thing about having my special Nathan. He has given me so much more than I could give him.

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Responding well at the pool

We went swimming with Nathan’s uncle, Tito Rico.

Tito Rico was pleased to see how responsive Nathan was in the pool. Nathan kept asking Tito Rico to help him jump, to blow bubbles, to carry him, etc.

A few years back I remember Tito Rico saying that Nathan needs more energy. He was referring to how unresponsive Nathan was. That was before we got Nathan’s autism diagnosis.

Now, seven months after we started Nathan’s son-rise program, we can already see how much more responsive he has grown.

Elements of son-rise during the swimming pool moment:

1. Child will response well in a one-on-one environment
2. Learning comes easy when if its fun and exciting
3. Facilitator is a good listener and responds quickly to what he child asks for. This helps the child learn that his speech is powerful and he will continue to use speech and eventually master it.

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Autism Treatment Center of America

Papa is at the Autism Center of America (ATCA), home of the Son-Rise Program, attending the Son-Rise Start-Up seminar. Same as the one I attended 7 months ago. Nathan has progressed really well since we started.

I can already feel the boost with Papa trainings. He’s excited to get back and go full throttle with Nathan’s and to start Amor’s Son-Rise (daughter-rise) Program. He’s even making sure that along the process, our youngest, Ian, won’t feel left out.

Attached is a photo of Papa at the ATCA gate…it truly is a place for miracles!

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Son-Rise as a Parenting Tool

On my twin’s first birthday, my friend Nenette, gave me a really good parenting book: Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte

It details:

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilt.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have goals.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and those around them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

—–

This is certainly the recipe for raising a successful child.

Four years down the line, I discover the Son-Rise Program for autism. I realize, it teaches all the above elements and helps us apply them, when playing with autistic children. It is the best parenting tool whether you have an autistic child or not. It creates miracles only because it helps us remember to do the right things all the time.

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Poop in the potty!

Yesterday I heard Nathan fart. I followed him to the room to check if he wanted to poop.

Trying to get him to poop in the potty is simply not in my priority list, since we have to work on his walking/balancing and pulling down pants, climbing up the adult-size potty, etc. first.

Nevertheless, I asked Nathan, “Do you want to poo-poo in the potty?”…no response. I held his hand lightly and guided him towards the toilet. Before going in, I let go to see if he would enter the potty on his own. He did. After showing his willingness, I helped him pull down his pants and sit on the potty.

Then, lo and behold, he poops in the potty with no complains at all!

Son-rise principles:

If child resists, don’t force him. They learn most when they are willing to do it. If potty training has been causing stress for both your child and yourself, drop the subject first. Resume after weeks or a month when it’s not an issue anymore.

Talk to your child knowing they fully understand what you’re saying, either by the tone of your voice or your body language or your words.

If you want your child to potty train earlier, find what interests him and use that to motivate him to sit in the potty.

More advise on the son-rise web page:
Www.autismtreatmentcenter.org