As I look at 5-year-old Ian’s front rabbit teeth, I’m reminded…
Me: Hey! Kuya Nathan’s big-boy-teeth are coming out!
Ian: (excited) I want to have his tooth so I can have money! (He just read a book about the tooth fairy).
Me: What are you going to use the money for?
Ian: For Kuya Nathan’s son-rise!
Ian knows we’re raising funds to bring big brother Nathan to the U.S. for a week-long training on Son-Rise.
He has always been the sweetest little brother…and a fantastic fund-raiser for his brother!
Son-rise teacher,Gerd, advised, “Give full control except for 2 things: (1) the son-rise playroom door, which should only open at the end of the session, and (2) if child’s or facilitator’s safety/well-being is at risk.”
So I have been asking volunteers to keep Nathan in and despite his wanting out in the middle of the session. We used to give him control of the door and invite him back in…oops 🙂
Today, Nathan wanted to exit the playroom early. I was so amazed how how persistent Nathan was. In so many ways he was trying to explain:
I want to go out.
I want to go out PLEASE.
(Volunteer’s name), open the door please.
I want to open the door.
I had to go in for a minute to explain that he will keep playing with his volunteer until time is up. He didn’t complain at all and session continued.
I love Nathan’s persistence. He was trying his very best to make his volunteer understand what he wanted as he kept reaching for his goal! He has demonstrated his persistence several times throughout his son-rise journey. I know that persistence is a tool he will use…or already uses…to become successful in life!
Today, as I “flex” my “fascination muscles,” I recall the days before Son-Rise, when Nathan was so passive, he never even tried to be heard. He never tried to voice what he wanted and simply cried when he couldn’t communicate his needs. My little boy is amazing!
Sometimes, we believe our kids with autism won’t be able to follow instructions simply because they are not good communicators.
Yesterday, I started with that belief as I played with Nathan and a plastic balloon. But then I decided, I will give him instructions and believe that he can understand it despite his urges to pop the plastic balloon. Instructions were: The plastic balloon is very fragile. If he squeezes it, it will pop instantly. He has to hold it gently to be able to play with it.
Without me controlling his hands (or stopping him from squeezing, which I was sure would happen) he held the balloon ever so gently!
Nathan was crying this morning. I thought maybe he was bothered by his morning colds or maybe he was hungry (he didn’t want to eat breakfast). I though his volunteer would be spending the whole session just trying to soothe him…
…the moment his volunteer walked in the door, Nathan smiled 🙂 crying was done and he was ready for son-rise.
I told Nathan that he was teasing me, he smiled so I gave him a tickle as he laughed his heart out.
When Nathan moved to his new school, most of what was written in his communication notebook were about crying, cannot wait resulting to tantrums, biting someone, etc.
We have since been influencing Nathan’s teachers to adapt Son-Rise and they have made big adjustments.
Nowadays what’s written in his communication notebook is: he is always happy, teacher is not worried that he will tantrum anymore, other children (mainstream) also join and Nathan starts to play with them, teachers have been joining him and in return Nathan spontaneously answers their questions or tells them details and concepts on the photos, it is so easy to get Nathan to answer what’s on 3 flash cards in a row (his attention is longer), etc.
I know if I didn’t find Son-Rise a year of school and conventional therapy would be the same from beginning to end. OT notes would tell me that Nathan forever needs hand-over-hand assistance because he is too “distracted” to follow instructions.
When we celebrate our kids the son-rise way, it’s not to modify behavior. It’s to sincerely express gratitude. Despite the fact that our kids have difficulty with social skills, for example, we express gratitude that that glimpse at us, which is a big effort for them.
This helps is cultivate within ourselves a deep sense of gratitude for our child.
It’s not about them, it’s about us.