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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