One of the most controversial topics in today’s meeting with my twins teachers and therapists was the son-rise principle of giving the child FULL CONTROL.
But think about it. Even as adults, we attend management seminars that teach us about our circle of influence and CIRCLE OF CONTROL. Focus on that and we become better managers. We are taught to be IN CONTROL or CEOs of our life. When we are IN CONTROL of our life, we become more effective. Don’t we love it when everything goes our way? And when things get out of CONTROL in one aspect of our life (like we lose our job, break up, fail in school, etc.), it affects all aspects of or daily lives.
We decided to put Amor in a special needs school precisely because she would get a better sense of being in CONTROL. When she wants to sing at big events, teachers readily give her the mic. When she wants to he the teacher, her teacher readily gives up her chair. Those are the things that help Amor learn faster and boost her self-esteem for later challenges in mainstream school. If we force mainstream school on Amor now she has to deal with following rules she cannot comprehend on top of her sensory issues. But we would rather help her learn to be IN CONTROL of her environment first, despite her sensory issues.
For Nathan’s case, a child with autism, giving FULL CONTROL seems much harder…probably more for the person giving it. But we choose to say “YES” to Nathan ALL the time. And this is what some therapists seem to have a hard time accepting.
When we always acknowledge the child affirmatively, the child realizes that he makes a difference. Example, when we say “Yes, I’ll get your toy immediately!” The child learns that his words are useful and will keep trying his best to use them.
Typically, a child with autism is usually seen as misbehaving and is always told what not to do….like getting someone’s fries at the fast food, picking his nose in public, flapping his hands, running around, saying strange sounds. So parents have to keep correcting and correcting. But what if for once the child is free to do what he want? Like…What’s wrong with picking my nose, it’s itchy? I’m happy, I want to make funny sounds while running! What’s wrong with being free to express myself? who decided what is norm anyways? Im happy I’m IN CONTROL of my life!
Of course the most simple thing to do to be able to still give FULL CONTROL is simply avoid the incidents (or provide alternatives) that you do not want your child doing.
Is giving FULL CONTROL forever?
No. Already we are seeing that Nathan is becoming more flexible. By saying “Yes” to him all the time we have taught him to accept times that we need to say “No.”
Giving FULL CONTROL is an investment for now. In the future, kids will readily go your way if you allow them to go their way first.