It was as if the whole world stopped, the house became silent as Amor (diagnosis: Global Developmental Delay) reached for the angry birds play doh that Ian meticulously created and squashed them!
We have been teaching 5-year-old Ian (neurotypical) to choose to be happy (the son-rise attitude) and understanding towards his siblings with special needs. He hates it when kids destroy his masterpiece. Who wouldn’t? This was the test…
…silence as everyone looked at Ian and waited for his reaction…
Ian exclaimed, “Hurray!” Then nanny and mommy give a bigger celebration, “Hurray! Ian chose to be happy!”
I’m loving parenting the son-rise way!
Nathan’s Special Education Teachers have been doing some son-rise and “joining” Nathan at school, connecting with Nathan and seeing his spontaneity. In the past few days, they have been excited to share their moments. This was written in his communication notebook:
Sept 24, 2013
Nathan has a good mood today…every time Ms. Sam imitate him, he laughs and giggles…He also joined our games, passing ball to another person and he liked it.”
Sept 20, 2013
Hurray! Really thank God. Nathan joined with us in music and movement. At first we let him flap his cardboard. Then he suddenly stood up and said, ‘I want to dance.’ He held my hands. So we danced and clapped hands. He is so happy.
I bumped into Nathan’s Occupational Therapist yesterday. He was so excited about telling me how well has been doing at school. Nathan is very responsive, no longer gets frustrated when activities change and greets all his teachers by name!
Amazing how spontaneously Nathan is picking up words :-). He has been asking more detailed requests.
Like, when I didn’t put enough meat on the spoon, in his next bite, he asked, “I want BIG meat.”
When his hands were slippery with shaving cream, he held the swimming cap (ism toy) and asked, “I want to PULL (open) please.”
Adjectives and verbs are hard to teach to kids with autism. Unlike nouns, it’s not easy to show them on photos. Kids with autism might look at big-small flash cards and say “elephant-mouse” instead. When Nathan used to look at “pull” flash cards, he used to say, “wagon!”
But now he understands and can demonstrate that he gets it!
That’s today’s miracle!
If Nathan is really in an ism mode, can you imagine yourself joining for almost the whole hour? Can you imagine joining for months?
I am reminded of a son-rise story when all the volunteers did daily was run round their room with the child…for 8 months. I imagine some must have thought, “Are we getting anywhere?” Or “Will he really improve if we simply keep running with him and not teach him anything?”
After the 8th month, the body, who did not have speech in the beginning, started talking. Soon he pulled string of words together and even sooner he constructed sentences independently and spontaneously.
So the answer is “yes, when you invest time joining, the child becomes confident of your love and acceptance and will progress much faster.”
As I write this I can hear Tita Kitch becoming more and more comfortable joining and Nathan starting to ask her for things 🙂
When Nathan’s doctor reviewed his brain scans at 2 months of age, he suggested Nathan may never walk. Nathan has cerebral palsy, affecting his brain’s ability to control his trunk and leg muscles.
Look at a little stuntman today! He keeps daring to challenge his balance.
Never say never. There is more time for Nathan to learn to run, jump or even play soccer if he wants.
When I discovered the son-rise program, I threw out all the rules that made me control Nathan’s movements and behavior. With Son-Rise, for as long as Nathan was safe, I gave him full control and allowed him climb chairs and stand on table tops. In a month, even his physical therapist said, “It looks like Nathan woke up new muscles.” His posture was much better.