I was reflecting on why we work so hard to get volunteers for Nathan’s Son-Rise Program. Aside from the fact that it is highly recommended by the Son-Rise program, here are my answers:
1. Volunteers add hours to Nathan’s therapy. The more hours the better his prognosis.
2. Because they have volunteered, these people really want to help and will really learn to love and accept Nathan no matter what his handicap is/are. Being loved and accepted is the foundation of growth.
3. As our child is loved, we parents are also encouraged. If I may speak for others, it is common for parents of special needs children to feel incarcerated in public, especially if their child with autism is not behaving according to social standards more so if the child is always having tantrums in public. I used to hate getting those stares from people judging me for being a horrible mother and not being able to keep Nathan quiet. The worst was when traveling and being stuck in a plane for 4 hours with a tantruming Nathan and not being able to walk out of the situation.
4. The more volunteers, the more fun and creative game ideas. The crazier the idea, the faster the child learns.
5. Volunteers (in any circumstance) have personal reasons for doing so. If and when their personal questions have been answered by their volunteering, it enhances their lives an they in turn enhance the lives of the people they volunteer for.
6. To put it quite simply, it makes the world a better place. Too many times, special needs children and adults are misunderstood. Working with a special child and seeing the world through their eyes, with the help of the son-rise program, help people understand and appreciate them better. If this generation has a hard time understanding autism, hopefully the next generation won’t. That will make the world a better place for Nathan and so many more kids being diagnosed every day.
Back in Japan, Marie was such a wonderful volunteer. When we left for Singapore, she continued working…more like playing…with another child in the spectrum. She loves what she does so much, she has even invited friends to join her. I know Marie will touch so many more lives, especially those of kids who really need it most. I feel fortunate to say that Nathan makes up part of the reason why she has and will do more amazing things!