Chris and her family have been blessed with many improvements in their twins. She has made it her purpose to help other parents who are still looking for more resources to support the growth and development of their special needs children/adults.
Chris is a mother of twins with special needs. Her son, Nathan, was diagnosed with classic autism and Cerebral Palsy (CP), and his twin sister, Amor, has Global Developmental Delay (GDD) and developed seizures.
In the early years, Chris spent much time researching therapy and intervention options. Eventually, she left her career as an Environmental Manager to pursue another career in Nutrition and further enhance her twin’s growth, health, and development.
Research and her chosen interventions have tremendously helped Chris’ twins. At age 5, Nathan was oblivious to people, he did not respond to his name, he had zero eye contact, and did not have any intentional speech. Today, he is aware of the people around him, he smiles when his name is called, he speaks with intention and enthusiasm and interacts with visitors. He has also grown stronger despite his brain injury affecting his ability to control his legs.
Similarly, the health of Chris’ daughter has improved tremendously such that she has overcome seizures. Gains have corresponded with cognitive and physical improvements.
Chris has put together a team who will share ways to help children and adults with special needs.
This time Amor was the one actively inviting her Son-Rise volunteer, Tito Albert, to sit and talk to her, she was asking all the questions, keeping the conversation going, she played and she sang songs with him.
She drew this favourite activity, singing with her volunteer. At the end of the session I asked them to pose and re-enact what she drew and she happily did it!
In the photo: Amor and her awesome volunteer, Albert, doing what she loves to do singing duet!
To increase Nathan’s repertoire of speech, we have been modelling what to say for him. That was one of my biggest take away from our last Son-Rise Program Outreach and it has been helping tremendously with more spontaneous speech from Nathan.
Today, as we got to the playground, I thought he would need me to model more words for him…
All the swings were occupied with kids younger than Nathan (it’s easier asking a grown-up make way for Nathan to swing 😜)
I watched Nathan walk towards the swings to choose which swing he wanted and who we were to deal with. From all the kids, he had to pick youngest child! She probably did not even understand the concept of sharing yet.
Instead of modelling words for him, I just told him, “Why don’t you ask her?”
Nathan chose his own words and appropriately asked, “Share the swing please?”
Woohoo! He approached a child and picked his words so appropriately and spontaneously! He probably didn’t even need me to prompt him to ask.
Not bad for a child who regressed so deep into autism and had not intentional speech or even eye-contact at age 5, before we found Son-Rise.
The young girl understandably didn’t want to give up her swing. The second blessing was when her older sister on the next swing stood up and offered her swing to Nathan! I feel so blessed to have such nice neighbours!
I try not to take photos of kids in the playground because I don’t have parent’s permission to post. But here is happy Nathan on his favourite swing.
I sat in front of the taxi so Aunty taxi driver got a chance to interview and interrogate me 😜. After seeing Nathan from the wheelchair and fidgeting/whining in the taxi, she started her round of questions. I happily answered. I embrace every opportunity to promote autism awareness.
She soon found out that I ran home-based, Son-Rise programs for my twins, Nathan and Amor. She asked me what my background was and if I was a professional. “Yes,” I smiled, “in a totally different field: Environmental Science.”
Seeing my that my career shifted from managing the environment to home-making, she replied with a heavy sigh, “You sacrificed your life.”
My mind went on flashback mode… because of my special twins I learned what was more important in life. Because of them, I found the Son-Rise Program®, my life went from great desperation to hope that something can be done about autism, I was given a chance to believe and witness miracles. All autism “experts” offered no hope, but only autism “management”. I was given a desire to share this hope to other families. I was blessed to be in a team of autism parents wanting to share hope for other families thus Embrace Autism was born. My life has changed because I was blessed with my special twins!
I didn’t sacrifice my life…Nathan and Amor has given my life so much more purpose and meaning! I wouldn’t exchange it for the world.
I almost gave up on this program, thinking it was too taxing and time-consuming.
But as Amor grows older, her spastic muscles are becoming tighter. And Nathan’s cerebral palsy continues to pull and tug his muscles in wrong directions…Besides, it’s summer break and there is nothing better than using the time to creep, crawl and strengthen body and mind!
…come to think of it, asking the twins to creep and crawl is a lot easier than asking them to do physical therapy. And the results, based on other parent testimonies, are miraculous. Already, Amor’s hips have stopped snapping. Osteopathy and stretching didn’t seem to ease the snapping, which happens where she moves that joint. But snapping has greatly minimised with just 3 days of creeping and crawling.
In the photos: Nathan and Amor creeping and crawling at our “Olympic oval” 😉
I told Papa Gil that I would walk ahead with Nathan. Amor walks slower so they were walking way behind. But Nathan kept looking back.
Nathan: (looking back) Papa, Papa…
Me: (turning the wheelchair back so Nathan was facing Papa) Louder so Papa can hear you.
Nathan: (complied) Papa!
Me: (say) Come on Papa!
Nathan: Come on Papa!
Me: Do you want to be with Papa?
Nathan: I want Papa.
So they walked hand-in-hand. ❤️
That night I was tucking Nathan to bed, enjoying our last bed-time games. Then he asked for Papa.
Me: Do you want me to call Papa?
Nathan: Call Papa.
Me: Ok, say good night then and I’ll go call Papa.
Nathan: Good night Mama, I love you. ❤️
I was so excited to call and let Papa know that Nathan eagerly asked for him.
What a blissful day! During Nathan’s #autismregression years, when he reached 4-years-old, he became so oblivious to everyone, including his Father. Another year passed and nothing happened. I thought that he would never connect and I felt like we “lost” Nathan. Praise God for The Son-Rise Program® which taught us parents how to play and connect with Nathan!
When we go out, our objective is to help Amor be able to navigate and ask people for help.
Her current motivation is Avengers and she has been asking for another avengers book.
We happen to pass by a bookstore but it wasn’t our agenda and we didn’t have time to search every shelf to find her book. So I told her that we only had a minute to ask and go straight to the book. For today, we couldn’t spend time to look around. That means she really had to ask the staff for help. Usually Amor would push back and ask me to talk to other people.
With the choice to leave or asking for help, Amor mustered her courage to ask. Timidly she walked towards the staff but requested that I be right behind her.
Amor asked for a marvel book. the polite gentleman didn’t understand what she said so he looked at me to clarify. I told him that Amor was practicing how to ask. He understood and looked back at her as she tried to explain more. Soon enough she was able to explained and he directed us to the book she wanted!
Big celebrations for her first time to ask. She was so proud of her accomplishment and readily agreed to do the cashier transaction herself.
On the taxi Amor proudly declared, “I am 11 years old now and I can buy books by myself!”
What I like about this Breakthrough moment is that I know I will only have to refer to it, to encourage her to confidently do it again and again!
In the photo: in taxi, Amor excited about her new book.