Just looking back at photos from our trip to our Son-Rise Intensive. We were so happy Nathan did so well in this 13-hour flight. The stewardesses were so understanding and accommodating, I had to approach them to thank them for their great customer service…then take a photo
Though Nathan had a bit of crying on the other 3 flights to and from NY (all from the same airlines) I would have to say all the staff were very good about dealing with a special needs child…and his parents A stewardess, Elly, even gave me so much comfort as Nathan was crying. Later I learned she has a niece with autism and understood exactly what I (the parent of the crying child) was going through.
23 hours to get to/from NY and Singapore. For a journey with a boy with autism, that was a good trip! Definitely flying Emirates again, especially when with the kids.
Thank you Emirates for being so accommodating to us and our son with Autism during our long flight.
Nathan never stops to surprise his teachers. His therapist called me just to tell me what happened in school.
Nathan asked for “put your left foot in …put your left foot out”.
“Oh,” said his therapist, “Let me look for that song on my iPhone.” But Nathan did not seem to want what he offered and moved away.
After a minute, Nathan gathered his persistence again and asked, “I want it to load.” Nathan did his best to describe what he wanted, “I want…put your left foot in, left foot out…in the orange hat.”
“Ok.” replied his therapist, as he went to check if that song was on his VLC player. To his surprise, he saw that the VLC player showed an orange traffic cone that looked like a hat 🙂 “This is it for sure,” the therapist thought. When he turned on the Hokey Pokey music, Nathan started laughing and requested further, “Ok, I want to swing now.” That’s his favorite place to be, when listening to music.
A child with autism, being so persistent, asking someone to get what he wants and spontaneously picking his own words to communicate! That doesn’t happen everyday.
The orange hat gave the clue
Last Monday, Nathan was crying in his session with Tita Aldhel. Aldhel handled the crying very well:
1. She was really calm thus, not rewarding/reinforcing the crying.
2. She was a good detective, based on what preceded the crying, her best guess was that Nathan wanted to share an experience about riding the air plane, smilie faces in the mirror, etc. but cried when he could not express more.
3. She presented many alternatives to Nathan like sensory squeezes, toys or a glass water.
To add to the list, we were given more tips on crying and whining at the SR Intensive:
1. Move SLOWLY. Just as Aldhel was very clam, don’t make the crying/whining move you.
2. Yet, maintain the “YES” attitude. We always want to be user-friendly in order to continuously build the relationship. For example, you can express, “I really want to help you but you know what? I cannot understand you want when you whine. If you use your words I can understand you better and I can get you what you need right away!”
3. ACT LIKE A DUMMY. Example, you can offer “Nathan when you’re whining, I can’t understand what you want. I really want to help. Is it a glass of water that you want?… Maybe you want to squeeze?…”
4. Use a lot of EXPLANATIONS and PAUSE to give Nathan time to process what you said. Explain and believe that Nathan can understand what kids his age are told. I believe he can. The child facilitators noticed that it took 8 seconds before Nathan responded to their requests.
5. As soon as Nathan uses words or shows a good attempt, move FAST! Let him know that his words are very effective and can get him his needs fast while whining is less effective.
Though it may seem brutal, I wouldn’t blame these parents.
I know when Nathan was 4, as he became more aggressive and would bite or pinch me whenever he could not communicate his needs. Or when he simply could no tolerate a sensation in his body. I had bruises all over my arms. At that time, I did think of the future and worry about what would happen when he got older and stronger.
If I was not helped, I could easily have gone down this path, choosing to confine an aggressive child, if there was nothing else I knew I could do. I’m sure even if this child is taken away into a home or institution, if his care takers do not understand the challenges of autism, they too will think of ways that may look brutal to others.
I’m blessed that I found The Son-Rise Program, which has helped us understand autism by looking through the eyes of the child. It has helped us find peace during Nathan’s aggression, so we learned to handle it more effectively. Son-Rise has greatly helped Nathan express his needs. Today he chooses language and gives up aggression as a form of communication.
I am also blessed finding the community of parents who have done all the research and understands the causes and ways to alleviate autism. A big part of the autism puzzle is gut health. Healing the gut, through diets and other biomedical interventions has helped Nathan’s body and mind.
Sending out prayers to parents still trapped in the dark about their children’s autism.
Sending out prayers to people who judge parents of kids with autism. We all try our best. We just need more help and compassion.
Ian: Mama, I think if you bring Kuya Nathan to Son-Rise (Intensive) one more time, he will be normal.
Me: What do you mean “normal”?
Ian: He will be like other children no more autism.
Me: Why? Do you think he has changed since we got back from Son-Rise? (Excited to throw back a question he asked me as soon as we got back from the Intensive)
Ian: Yes. When I sang a song like this….(sings one of Nathan’s songs but changes some lines and inserts funny words), Kuya Nathan laughed at me.
So amazing that Ian noticed the change!
In the photo, big brother Nathan and one of his best Son-Rise volunteers, 5-year-old, monkey Ian…even if their son-rise sessions last for only about 5 mins at at time :-D. Ian’s turning out to be the comedian of the house 🙂
I’m taking a deep breath recalling everything I have done in the past and thinking about what I will need to do therapy-wise and biomedically to help our twins with special needs.
Instead of sulking about the enormous task ahead, I’m taking this time to celebrate myself.
I’m celebrating the wisdom gained from closely monitoring the kids and researching every supplement/ program. I’m able to see the immediate results with every change. Examples:
– I know which supplement got Nathan to sing song he has only heard but never sang before.
– I know valor essential oil immediately gets him to stand upright making him more ready for the challenge of climbing.
– I know which essential oils effectively helps with common ailments.
– I know aggressive detoxing will not work for the overburdened immune systems of the twins. Slow and steady detox is better.
– I know energy healing (JSJ) is helping clear Amor’s skin and resolve gut issues. Nathan too.
– I know “joining” the son-rise way is the most effective way of getting the brightly lit face, strong eye-contact, smiles and laughter from not only Nathan but all my kids.
Mostly importantly, I know I should be seeing improvements immediately, not months after, or else the program/protocol is simply not worth continuing.
I’m celebrating the fact that I have tried so many options. Some if them were effective some were not. Though I have made many, many mistakes in the past, I celebrate that I tried those options and that those mistakes led to a wealth of learnings.
Many parents have figured it out and have actually gotten to full recovery of their kids. I don’t know if I will ever find all the puzzle pieces and unlock Nathan’s autism. But I celebrate the fact that ALREADY The Son-Rise Program has helped me become a better parent for all my kids. And ALREADY, I have found many alternatives to better health.
I have a big task ahead of me that could be overwhelming. But I celebrate the fact that I have tools that I need to help me through.
It feels good to choose to celebrate rather than let the situation control what I feel.
When the twins were younger, we were at the doctors all the time because of simple things like colds. It was urgent because those colds quickly turned to cough and fever. My greatest fear was fever could trigger seizures. Nathan once had a febrile seizure at age 2. Amor had myoclonic epilepsy at age 4 to 6. I was always on my toes whenever the twins got sick.
Eventually I learned to use anti-allergy (Zyrtec) as soon as Nathan would sneeze. If I could stop the colds early, I would have avoided another round of antibiotics, cough and fever medicines.
However, the more anti-allergy I used, it seemed the more Nathan needed it to ward-off colds. Eventually we were consuming a bottle of Zyrtec a month. The twin’s health were evidently spiraling downwards and conventional medicine was just making things worse, covering up symptoms and not getting to the root cause.
I have been using essential oils for some months now. It is great at preventing colds. And even if it progresses, essential oils works well with cough and even sticky phlegm.
The big difference is that when we were using anti-allergies, it would resolve the cold but the more we used it, the more we needed it for the next round of colds. With essential oils, the body is strengthened. After some time, we use less and less of it.
Now-a-days, when Nathan starts to sneeze, I can dismiss it and sure enough, sneezing will go away without getting worse.
The twins immune systems are definitely getting better with alternative medicine.
Nathan was such a trooper! No crying whatsoever during our 13-hour flight from New York to Dubai!
We practiced everything we learned from our Son-Rise Intensive. I decided before boarding the plane that I would be calm no matter what happens or how people responded. In the past Nathan could cry almost throughout our flight.
I explained to Nathan everything that was happening. When something might be unpredictable for him, like taking the earphone in the middle if his movie (before landing), I explained and gave him few seconds to process. I removed the earphones after about 10 seconds. He was fine with it. Imagine that?
The Son-Rise Intensive helped me realized that Nathan understands fully everything we tell him. We just need to give him some time to process and respond to our request.
Also, Nathan responds to how we feel. The calmer we are about flying, the calmer he is!
I never stop learning from the Son-Rise Program. I used to think this would give me the best tools to help me teach my son with autism social skills. It is! but beyond that, Son-Rise really helps me understand and acknowledge the things that are stopping me from loving my son deeply, wanting to be with him unconditionally, being present and enjoying every single moment with him regardless of him being fully engaged or “isming” (going into his comfortable world of autism by doing exclusive, repetitious, autistic behaviors).
Really, the only way my son will choose to want to create a relationship with me, is when I am overflowing with excitement to build the relationship with him first!
Loving this healing journey!
I’m so amazed at the awareness level of my 5-year-old neurotypical son, Ian. When we returned from the Son-Rise Intensive, he asked if his big brother, Nathan has changed.
I told him, Nathan is still the same. He still has autism. It’s Mama and Papa who has changed. We now know better how to play with his Kuya Nathan.
I told Ian, it will be fun and if he wants, he can help us help Nathan. With a bright smile on his face he answered, “Yes!”