The other day she was a bit upset that left her doll in school. The following day she had it in her hand and proudly said, “Look I got my doll back!”
This morning she told me, “I will remind my teacher that I have music today.” A few weeks ago her teacher forgot she had music on Wednesdays and needed to stay back in school. Amor was sent on the bus home and missed her lessons.
In her early years, Amor’s Occupational Therapist talked about something wrong with her “working memory”…stuff you need to be able to comprehend a story book or a movie. True enough, when her younger Brother could, Amor still couldn’t sit through a long children’s movie and would get distracted easily.
Today, she not only watches through movies (children’s or even movies for us parents), she also shows us how amazing her memory and comprehension are, and the responsible decisions she makes!
Blessed with Son-Rise®
Nathan’s volunteer, Zirah, still thinks Nathan’s teaching her autism words when he’s speaking English this time 😉😍
(They go on for 5 rounds then finally…)
Nathan: (looks with approval and lesson ends)
Zirah: dambilion! (Confident she said it right!)
(They keeping going for several rounds)
Nathan: (in a much louder voice, but still patiently teaching his volunteer) dandelion!
(Nathan’s look on his face: that’s not quite right. But he is not complaining)
Nathan: I want to sleep.
Nathan: (louder and clearer) I want to sleep!
Zirah: Oh you want to sleep! Thank you for telling me (as she prepares a makeshift bed). See photo.
LOL. Did Teacher Nathan get tired of teaching this morning?
In the Son-Rise playroom, Nathan is the teacher and his volunteers are his students. He teaches them to enter his world of autism first, before accepting their invitation to come out to our world of social interaction!
Nathan lies down for few minutes while Zirah reads a book for him. He stays attentive as Zirah reads. Just as Zirah demonstrated her attentiveness (as best she could 😇) while he was teaching, Nathan chooses to be attentive while Zirah reads! See second photo.
Did I tell you that Nathan had zero attention span before we found Son-Rise?
I’m so proud of Zirah who’s such a awesome student! 😍
While Amor does very well answering all questions thrown at her, that is NOT a CONVERSATION, that we parents hope our special kids will achieve. That’s an INTERVIEW. It’s a good skill to have for job applications but not for our kids to make friends and build relationships.
I asked Amor’s Son-Rise® volunteer about her conversations with her best friends. “You probably don’t ask each other much questions, what are your ‘conversation starters’?” I probed.
“We gossip,” she chuckled.
“Perfect!” I affirmed. I know that’s what I used to do as a youngster hanging out with my good friends 😜. I continued, “It would be great to model a conversation to Amor, not by asking questions but by offering the craziest, funniest ideas, that you both can build upon to create an amazing conversation!”
As a quick reminder, here’s a poster I put in the Son-Rise room:
In the past few days Amor has been putting different dolls on the sofa. Today she told me “I’ll put Matty (her lamb) in the sofa so that when I come back from school, she will be waiting for me.”
When she gets back she gets the comfort of her expectations being met.
Predictability: This is why it’s easier for special kids to play with toys rather than other kids.
So what can we do about it? Son-Rise® teaches us parents and volunteers to be more predictable for the child so that they enjoy playing with us more than the very predictable toys that they can control.
It seems counter intuitive, but being more predictable for the child (that is, is letting go of our need for our child to follow us), is the best way help the child be more flexible and let go of their need for predictability.
While we help Amor to become more flexible, Matty, Amor’s ever so loyal lamb, is here to provide Amor’s predictability-security for as long as she needs it!
I remember the early years when I used to take Amor shopping for shoes but had a very hard time. When I wanted to buy her rubber shoes she demanded to get dress shoes; when it was time to get sandals or slippers she cried to get a second pair of rubber shoes; when it was time to go home she hard time transitioning; she would shout “No!” many times, as if the world would follow her demands if she shouted louder. The sales people couldn’t understand why she was always irritable. I would tell them she had special needs hoping they would somehow understand.
For a number of years, it was easier for me to leave Amor home and I would go out to pick clothes and shoes for her.
These days are very different. I love that Amor has developed her own taste and preference for shoes and clothes and she can enjoying picking them with me. Isn’t this every Mom’s dream…to go shopping with their Daughter…can’t say Papa and his credit card agrees…😜
I love that Amor no longer gives me a hard time. Dates with her are fun not frustrating. She is such a sweetheart and sticks to our shopping plans and goes home when it’s time.
At the end of the day Amor said her prayers thankful for her new shoes and her date with Mama.
Life is blissful!