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We’re playing Name-that-tune again!

We’re back! In 2.5 months MMS has been giving me back what I have been missing for 4 years!

Last night, Nathan was playing “Name that Tune” with me! He would give me key words and I would sing the songs for him. This time his selection of songs were from nursery rhymes and some pop music he enjoys.

When he was 2-years-old, we played the same game with his favorite nursery rhymes. However, after that age, Nathan stopped playing, he did less singing and more humming, he had more blank stares, lost eye-contact, became withdrawn, he became echolalic, started stimming, lost interest in people…and finally the autism diagnosis at age 4. At age 5, his Developmental Neurologist assessed his cognitive level to be equivalent to that if a 1.5 year old. What happened? I have always known that something was causing autism and it can be reversed. We have a long way to go but were certainly on the right track!

In the last 2 years, 85 kids have recovered from autism using MMS…one day Nathan’s name will be on that list!

What we have been doing:
Biomedical intervention
1. MMS (MMSAutism.com)
2. Gluten-free, casein-free, sugar free diet (GFCFSF)
3. Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet…just starting.
4. Trace minerals for Nathan’s cerebral palsy (Preemie Growth Project)

Therapy of choice:
Son-Rise Program! (Autismtreatmentcenter.org)

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Nathan teaches me to teach him

Kids with autism can be very good at identifying objects but a lot of times have difficulty grasping concepts (action words, adjectives, adverbs, etc.) because they cannot see it.  So concepts are some of the things we try to teach Nathan during our Son-Rise sessions.

We use Nathan’s motivation to boost learning.  Nathan’s current motivation/ism (exclusive or semi-exclusive, repetitive, autistic behavior) is asking me to move the fan while he puts his hands on both sides and enjoys the sensation of the fan hitting his hands.  So I wanted to use this to teach him the concepts of fast and slow.

I would move the fan slowly while saying “slow” and faster while saying “fast.”  Well, it hasn’t been going as I thought it might.  At times he’ll ask for “slow” when he really wants “fast” or he will simply echo “slow or fast?”  Oh well.

But once he made a mistake and said, “Fast or STRONG?”…or maybe he said “strong” intentionally 🙂  I thought that was a good idea.  So I had to come up with an idea to show him the concept of “strong.”  As I moved the fan fast, I made my face look like incredible hulk was about to come out and crush the fan.  He looked at me and giggled.  I stopped fanning.  He asked me again, “Make the fan strong please!”  Incredible Hulk did it again and Nathan enjoyed the show and started laughing.  I of course was laughing at how silly I might have looked and rewarding him for the great job for asking exactly what he wanted.  He asked for “strong” several times and looked at laughed at me.  In an instant, Nathan learned the concept of “strong”

I really need to get more energy, excitement, and enthusiasm (3Es) into the Son-Rise room to get more learning!

So when playing with your kids with autism, use the Son-rise Principles:

  1. Motivation, not repetition, is the key to learning.
  2. Use 3Es (Energy, Excitement, Enthusiasm) to encourage learning.  Be as crazy as you can imagine!
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JOIN, JOIN, JOIN!

Our Son-Rise volunteer, Buddie, asked a great question, “Is it productive spending a lot of time just JOINING* Nathan’s autistic, repetitive behavior?”

*JOINING a child with autism by imitating his exclusive, repetitive behavior is a unique practice of the Son-Rise Program for autism. It is the best tool we can use to truly understand their world. As
We join, we find reasons why they have to do those behaviors.

In the first hour, Buddie was asked to JOIN by imitating and trying to learn Nathan’s autism language. Nathan chose to play with a banana peel by waving it around and watching how it moved with the flipping motion of his hand. Buddie too followed and waved his banana peel. Like physicists, both were understanding the movement patterns made by matter acted upon by gravity and the optical illusion such movements made.

That was as interaction. When we say we want an interaction with a child, initially what comes in mind is that child is talking to us and responding to out questions. knock, knock, autism here.

Imagine this, he has an autism language. It is us who wants to communicate with him. He would much rather stay in his own happy place. By JOINING, we are speaking the autism language and we are communicating and getting an interaction with him. When Buddie waved the banana peel in sync with Nathan, Nathan stopped, looked at Buddie straight into his eyes, exchanged laughs and giggles and exchanged banana peels several times. That’s interaction 101!

If Buddie was a conventional therapist, “forcing” Nathan to follow his instructions and speak his language, Nathan would certainly decide to remain in his own world. And when Nathan stops paying attention, the conventional therapist will use more “force” like call his name in a stern voice, hold his chin up to force eye-contact, remove the banana peel or distracting toy, etc. Such “force” will just turn-off Nathan, which will make him withdraw deeper into autism.

Conventional therapy gives Nathan no control of his situation. No control leads to no comfort/security. In such situations, the best way for an autistic child to protect himself is to retreat into his world and block everything out with exclusive, repetitive, autistic behavior.

Buddie gave Nathan full control and when Nathan was ready, Nathan engaged.

Son-rise JOIN the autistic child’s repetitive behavior while the other therapies on the opposite end (eg. ABA) try to extinguish the “strange” behavoir by stopping it. The difference between Son-Rise kids and ABA kids: Son-Rise kids are more spontaneous. They speak when they are ready. ABA kids are “forced” to learn their therapist’s agenda. Thus, they will respond they way they were “trained” to respond. Thus, they are usually “robotic”. Because their training leads to becoming “robotic”, many still believe that kids with autism cannot recover or be spontaneous.

What about other therapies that do not try to extinguish repetitive behavior but simply set it aside to be able to teach the child? An example would be floor time. This type of therapy would be somewhere in the middle of Son-Rise and ABA. Yes, the child learns from the agenda that the teacher prepares. No amount of time is used for JOINING. That means not so much investment is made to really get to know your child. Joining helps you understand your child and find out what his motivations are. Knowing his motivations (i.e. every small detail that motivates your child, including for example, the fact that your child might like playing with a banana peel more than the yo-yo you got him) and using them will help you PROPEL learnings. And that’s how they learn. Learning can be PERMANENT and EXPONENTIAL even for children with autism. Motivation is the key. Contrary to what conventional therapy says that they will only learn through repetition…no body learns through repetition!

Son-rise simply is the fastest and funnest way to learn and grow.

So after I answered Buddies question about JOINING. He returned to the second half of his son-rise session with Nathan. Guess what? Nathan asked him to get the magnetic pen, draw Thomas Train starting with his head , his eyes, his nose, his smile. Buddie asked if he wanted Thomas ears. Nathan agreed. Buddie challenged again: hands on Thomas, and another yes from Nathan.

Hmmm, did that sound like I was writing about a child with autism? Buddie had invested enough time speaking Nathan’s autism language with the banana peels that Nathan was ready to speak to Buddie in our social language.

The truth is, our targets for the past few months was to make Nathan’s 2-loop conversations more consistent. That is, he should be able to sustain enough attention to have a second round of question and answer (or interaction/comply with task given). Guess what, very spontaneously, Nathan and Buddie did 7-loops!

So JOIN, JOIN, JOIN!

When a child with autism does repetitive actions -> JOIN! Speak his language. Then he’ll speak yours.

When a high-function child says, “I like Thomas the tank, I like Thomas the tanks” again and again -> JOIN! tell him how exciting Thomas is. Then he’ll talk about what you want to talk about.

When a neuro-typical child says, “Play with me please.” -> JOIN! Then he’ll finish his broccoli when you ask him the favor.

When a teenager is having heartaches -> JOIN! Don’t go attacking and demanding answers for yourself. Get into your child’s world first and find out how they feel. Then, they will tell you what you want to know.

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Teacher notice Amor’s improvements

I have been seeing improvements with both Amor and Nathan. I wanted to check with Amor’s teacher to confirm. This was her reply:

“We noticed that as well Chris. She is more focused and the attention is there, specially during our circle time. Now she is very consistent, specially during our work time and manage to finish her work without resistance.”

We’re about 7 weeks into MMS.

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Amor learns to read

Amor has vision problems and short attention span so I have never forced her to read is she didn’t want to. At one point I was worried dyslexia might be an issue (still am). Lately in school, however, she has shown so much interest in reading. Now that it’s her motivation, we’ve been using letters and flash cards for interaction and she’s responding very well. Since it’s now a motivation, it can be used to PROPEL her learning so she can catch up with they peers. We’re going to teach her to read the Son-Rise way: lots if Energy, Excitement and Enthusiasm (3Es), lots of encouragement and use internal motivation to keep learning!

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Be a “Yes” Parent

Sometimes it’s hard to ask parents to give their children (whether autistic or not) full control all the time. The only time you shouldn’t is when safety is an issue. Be a “yes” parent.

The first thing the comes in mind is, “Won’t my child grow up to be spoiled?” Or “Why should I give my special child privileges when I want to discipline all my kids?”

But think of it this way. You, as a parent…when you ask your child to stop running around and the child does not follow, don’t you feel that you are not in control? If it happens too frequently, how do you feel? Contrast that to having a great kid who always complies. When you say “stop” your child stops. When you ask your child to wait, he waits. I’m sure if your child is like the later example, it makes you feel like you are such a great parent and it helps you strive to become an even better parent…because you feel IN CONTROL. But if your child is like the former…initially, scolding could be a quick fix, as it becomes more frequent, how will it affect your confidence in parenting?

So when you give your child full control, he will feel that confidence. Having confidence in all situations allows him to strive to do better. Consider how many times a day a child with autism is asked to stop or is told, “no.” A lot of times kids in the spectrum are NOT in control of their situations…so what happens to their self esteem? Each time “no” or “stop” or “don’t” are uttered, the child’s confidence is shaken and it most probably results to tantrums which are really a waste of time that could have been spent learning. Would it have made a difference if “yes” was the chosen answer?

Tips on how to be a “yes” parent:
1) If your answer is really “no”, try to say it in a “yes” way. Example:
Child: I want to eat ice cream.
Mom who wants healthy food into the tummy first: Yes! I’d love to give you ice cream, come on, lets eat the banana then we’ll go get the ice cream (and keep your promise).

2) How to ask your child to wait, if he cannot understand the concept of waiting:
Child: Mom, I want you to read this book [and I want your attention] now!
Mom who is really busy: Yes! That’s a great idea! As soon as I finish washing these dishes, I will be right there.

Remember, saying “yes” when you are inclined to say “no” should not be a lie. Be truthful like telling your child the cup is half full instead of half empty. And always keep your promises.

3) Make your home a “yes” home by removing any unsafe gadgets from reach…including the permanent markers ;-). Some refer to this as autism proofing your home.

4) Let go of your urges. Choose, “yes, you can make confetti” and cleaning up your child’s mess after. Rather than “no, I don’t want to clean up your mess. But you lose time with your child’s tantrum or lower your child’s self esteem or hinder the possibility of building relationship with your child.

Even if a child is tantruming, still say “yes” and give him what he wants but in a very slow manner. This sends the message that he is still in control. His is trying his best to communicate and mom recognizes that. However, this form of communication is not as effective as asking nicely. Asking nicely gets mom to move fast but asking with a tantrums moves mom slowly.

Hope these Son-Rise tips help!

Since learning Son-Rise, I have been a “yes” mom for all my kids , even my youngest neurotypical child, Ian. He passed his terrible 2s (until 3s) stage always being given what he wants (material and emotional attention). Now that his confidence has been built up, he is more willing to give up things and give way to his older brother with autism.

Nathan too, is not as rigid compared with other kids with autism. Many times he will be willing to give up things or routines because he has always been given control and confidence.

I Love Son-Rise!