Music Therapy – now also like people behind the instruments

Nathan has always loved music and instruments. Now, he’s starting to show interest in the people behind the instruments. Watch how he touches the pianist’s face. He also verbalizes his wants more.

After drumming with his hands, he asked for drum sticks (I didn’t get that in the video). What was amazing was he resisted mouthing the drum sticks. His drum sticks at home are filled with bite marks. I guess this is were joining his mouthing “ism” is now paying off. Watch also how he gets excited at he goes for the lady’s face.

Making choices

Nathan is really learning to make choices. He used to simply echo the second choice of what you offered him. Tonight he showed how he clearly grasps the concept of choices. He said, “I want to go to the son-rise room…” paused and realized he was sleepy, then continued, “…or go to the bedroom first.”

Practically his first toys

Nathan is 5 and has not really learned to play with toys. He’ll usually mouth it or if it has wheels, he’ll spin it. This week, he’s been asking for the toy animals. My highlight for the week was when he asked for the animals. As I gave it to him, he said, “There are lots if animals at Oji (the nearby zoo) Zoo.”. Then he looked for the hippo and as he found it he said, “Can you open your mouth like a hippo?” I cheered while granting his request. Then he picked up the lion and said, “Can you roar like a lion?” we roared as I cheered! Then he took the tiger saying, “Here comes the tiger.”

He did put those pieces on his lips after but I consider that great progress.

Pointing (Mom)

They say child not pointing is one of the early signs of autism. Nathan never pointed. So I’m a bit surprised at the amount of pointing he did today. He pointed and insisted to go to 7-11 (which I now have to avoid because of gluten-covered fried chicken), he pointed and insisted to touch the fire extinguisher, he pointed and asked for his book from the shelf, he pointed and asked for the next batch of raisins as soon as he gobbled previous batches. It’s as if his “pointing button” has just been turned on.

Feb 19-24, 2012: Son-Rise Start-Up Seminar

I finally attended the Son-Rise Start-Up Seminar at Sheffield, Massachusetts, USA. While I must have known all the information during the first 2 days of because of all the information they post online, nothing beats being inspired by all the success stories they provide. Also being with other parents who have been trying a bit of son-rise at home and sharing the amazing progress they too witness. Now, our batch has a fb page where our sharing progress notes everyday is inspiring.

Understanding Nathan’s “Isms”: Letter to Son-Rise Volunteers

Dear Son-Rise Volunteers,

This week, we focused on the importance of joining Nathan as he “isms”. Through the process we learned more about Nathan and how we can better help him. Different volunteers discovered different “isms” and possible reasons why Nathan does so. I have listed a summary so we can all exchange learnings. Please see section on “Understanding Nathan’s Isms”.

As a result of our exercise all the volunteers agreed that Nathan has given them better eye-contact this week.

Next week we will continue joining then proceed to understanding “green lights” and “challenging” Nathan if he gives you a long-enough green light.

Starting next week, I will ask all you to start bringing your creative side. For example, Nathan always “isms” with a book, what imaginary toy can that book turn into? Suppose your answer is a “plane”, the next time Nathan gives you eye-contact longer than 3 seconds, you can suggest, “Look my book can fly like a plane…..(with plane sounds)… Now you try it Nathan.” Cheer for him if he attempts, or cheer for him even if all he gives you is good eye-contact.

You are familiar with with some of the toys/things Nathan isms with: books, balls, his face towel and animal toys (he started enjoying the animals just this week). Please try to think of 3 things each of those items can turn into. Our “challenging” activities will be trying to get Nathan to do imaginary play with his “ism” toys.


March 5-9, 2012: Understanding Nathan’s “isms”
1. Nathan likes to flip pages on his lips/mouth. He enjoys this sensory input of the breeze on his mouth. Like a baby, Nathan’s sense of taste is the strongest. Thus, he still chooses to learn about his environment by putting things in his mouth. When his other sensory systems (sight, smell, touch and hearing) catch up, then Nathan will stop putting things in his mouth. One important development in the past week is that Nathan now also flips the pages and allows his fingers/hand to feel the breeze. This indicates that he is now more willing to allow his sense of touch to dominate over his oral senses.

2. Nathan likes repeating words or even phrases. For example, in a session he kept on saying “favorite”, which he heard in the morning. Sometimes he says words in the right context, sometimes not. That’s fine. Concepts, such as “favorite”, are very difficult to grasp since they cannot be explained through pictures. Repeating words is a good exercise to eventually mastering the use of the word. He more he says it and also the more he hears it in context, the faster he will master the new concepts.

3. Nathan took the pen, put it between his fingers and started spinning it. A lot of autistic kids seem amazed at spinning objects. Trying to see what they see: if you look at a pen, it’s long and straight, but magically, when you spin it, it becomes round…or at least the image it creates becomes round. Is Nathan simply trying his best to understand the laws of physics?

4. Nathan likes to put things close to his eyes and try to focus on it by pulling his eyes together. I now believe he has problems focusing on objects and this is his best way of coping. I also notice in therapy (not Son-Rise), when he is asked to do something difficult for his standards, he will do this “ism” as if trying to get the other person out of focus.

Physical Improvements (Mom)

Nathan is becoming better at asking for things, stringing longer sentences together, becoming more spontaneous. His physical energy and abilities are also dramatically improving.

Considering he also has cerebral palsy (limited movement of lower limbs), standing on a wobbly swivel chair while asking for a toy from the shelf is an amazing feat.

Nathan is also confidently climbing on to all the furniture he can find which is amazing to watch. My heart skips a beat, but I still enjoy watching him.