Going beyond limits

Many friends and colleagues would attest to what a lousy writer I have always been.

I have heard comments like:
“We like reading your letters [with spelling and grammar mistakes], they’re funny.” – at age 11.
“You write like Chris, I can’t understand what you’re trying to say.” – of course my colleague was offended to be compared to me.
“Can Mels do the write-up?” – in other words, “Chris, please don’t be the one to write this article.” 🙂
“What happened to your English?” – after writing a long update e-mail to my friend.
“You’re writing so much better now.” – Says my sister as she monitors my blog. In other words, “It was bad before.”

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that I have some mild form of dyslexia or something. I mean no amount of proof reading will get rid of typo, spelling or grammar mistakes. Can you spot them in this post? Thank goodness for spell check!

It’s interesting though, how I’m so inspired by our Son-Rise journey. My self-assessed-handicap will not stand in the way of telling the world about how amazing son-rise is. Inspiration really goes a long way. Not even in my wildest dream, could I imagine being told, “You should write a book” or “Beautiful and poetic!” But I have. Thanks Mhyles and Ate.

It’s the same thing for kids with autism. Yes, they may have a handicap, but there is always a way of finding the motivation and using it to help them GO BEYOND THEIR LIMITS.

Loving our son-rise journey!

To Ruby, my best friend, I wrote the most letters to you (and there was no spell check back then). Not once did you pick on my writing. Love you Ruby!

It’s a family endeavor

At the end of the day, the son-rise rooms turns upside down, especially when all the kids are back from school…well, the whole house turns upside down.

This morning Papa was up early and cleaned all the toys in the son-rise room. Finally, Nathan’s favorite slinky is found! I couldn’t find it yesterday.

In his own little ways, Papa finds ways to inspire me to keep going. It’s more fun in an OC-organized son-rise room.

Love you Papa.

Special School and Son-Rise

How exciting! My twin’s teachers and principal just accepted our invitation to talk to them about the Son-Rise Program and how it has helped our twins. Hopefully we can come up with ways of integrating Son-Rise in their practices in school.

Getting better at following instructions

Nathan is getting better at following instructions and better attention span.

This morning he said he wanted to eat. To check his following instructions, I asked him to go to the kitchen and ask Ate Juliet. He followed. After Juliet offered to wash his blueberries, I told Nathan to come back to the son-rise room and wait. He followed again.

Before he would probably cry at the second instruction, maybe because he did not understand the concept of waiting.

Love and acceptance

I think I have finally matured. If Bears asked me yesterday, I would still resist and say, “No! I will keep climbing until my son recovers from autism.”

Today, I can honestly say :

Nathan, I love and accept you for who you are.

I love that you follow me around the house just to be by my side. But even in the moments when I can’t reach you, I love you .

I love how you smile and laugh when your eyes catch my glance. But even when you don’t seem to notice me, I love you.

I love that you can sustain a second round of questions. But even if you can’t answer correctly at times, I love you.

I love our physical contact games like tickles and piggy-back rides. But even if we can’t play appropriately with toys because you mouth them, I love you.

I love that you’re becoming more persistent and wanting to be heard. But even if at times you don’t seem to hear me, I love you.

I love it when we connect. But even during the times that you are lost in your isms, I love you.

I love your smiles and laughter. But even during your tantrums, I love you.

Son-rise moms and dads know what I’m talking about.

To the other folks…This is where miracles begin…Count your blessings and so much more will come.

Cough and cough medicine

Nathan has a bad cough :-(. I thought I’d never have to use Dr. Nakazawa’s cough medicine since we moved to hot Singapore. I guess he just has a hard time regulating his body when swimming.

If I don’t give him medicine, he will never be able to clear his sticky phlegm. If I do, (which I did) it really magnifies his sensory issues. Right now he’s extra irritated and aggressive :-(. Then again, I’m not certain if its the medicine or the cold and cough or both that makes him cranky.

Younger brother learns to son-rise

I just had the most amazing bed time. Since Ian (4 years old) delights in making Nathan (6 years old) laugh, I thought it was about time to teach Ian to son-rise his big brother.

Tonight I told Ian to join Nathan’s isms by echoing what Nathan said. With each echo, both boys laughed. I was mesmerized by all the laughing they exchanged. Ian was so proud of himself. Getting Kuya Nathan’s attention and making him laugh used to be a rare occasion, tonight it has become a breeze for Ian. They were playing a modified game of Simon Says! If it wasn’t so late at night, we would have kept going.

At the end of the night I had to bring Nathan to his room. I asked him to say goodnight to Ian. He said, “Good night Ian, sleep na.”

Son-rise principles:
First, enter the world of an autistic child, speak his language by joining with his “isms” (exclusive, repetitive behavior). After you have learned to communicate with him, pull him out into our social world.

Love, love, love our son- rise journey through autism!

My first impression of Son-Rise Program for autism

When I first encountered the son-rise program, I thought, “What a crazy type of autism therapy!”

A unique quality of the son-rise program is joining a child’s “isms” (autistic, exclusive repetitive behavior). I thought, “Why would I want to copy the exact behavior that I want to eradicate?” I mean if today you were to watch my son-rise sessions with Nathan, you would see Nathan tapping a Lego on his face and I would do the same and see how that would feel. If he spins the wheels on a car, I would follow. Then you might ask, “Ok, which one was autistic again?”

Luckily, it didn’t feel bad about joining Nathan’s verbal isms. If he said the craziest thing like “alimtayao”, I copied him. Hey, what did I have to lose? To my surprise, he smiled at me. I kept on copying his crazy language and I got more laughs and good eye-contact in no time. In about a month Nathan started social referencing. Something he has never done before. He would go do something mischievous but right before doing it, he would turn around to check if I was looking, then he would do it and laugh knowing that I was paying attention. What a delight for me. Eye-contact and social referencing, giant steps after just a month of copying Nathan’s crazy language. How could I not want to learn more about son-rise?

We asked for the son-rise starter’s kit. As I read through many of their books and listened and watched their CDs, everything was making sense…and making me cry. I was crying that something so wonderful as a possible cure to autism was out there! Nathan was 5 and it took me that long to discover it.

Attending the son-rise start up got us embarked on a wonderful journey through autism. My world changed from worrying what would be of my son’s future when my husband and I pass away (would his siblings take care of him?) to knowing that Nathan would do just great!

The results of joining an autistic child’s “isms” are immediately evident. Autistic kids start to crave for social attention. Plus they will give us so much more because we have not demanded anything from them. Work on social skills and everything else follows.

Seven months after I attended the son-rise start-up, my husband also attended. Nathan’s autism recovery changed from being just my sole responsibility to a family endeavor. Another big burden taken off my back. The road ahead made easier. And the thing is, my husband enjoys son-rising Nathan.

Does son-rise take away time from other kids? Quantity-wise maybe, but it actually enriches relationships with them. Because we have learned to be fully attentive to Nathan and his needs during son-rise, we know to do the same for the other kids. Traditional, I would brush them aside like, “hey, you’re smart enough, go do that by yourself.” Now, we learn to pay more attention to their needs and figure out quality time for them.

Loving our son-rise journey through autism!

Today’s Miracle

Today’s miracle

I though this morning’s son-rise with Nathan would be another “joining” session. But towards the end of the session, he asked, “[I] want the Legos.” This was a reason to celebrate because usually, it is me who offers him Legos. He doesn’t show interest in them or toys in general. He has asked for tickles or piggy-back rides, stuff that makes him laugh, but never Legos! We have built something once before, but Nathan will typically take the Legos and bang them together in various ways exploring how each position change will result into a corresponding sound. Or he will tap Legos on his cheeks, lips, teeth, etc. also exploring how slight changes results to very different sensations and sounds.

…Then Nathan said, “I want to make a train.” Woohoo! My son made a plan and he followed through! He allowed me to assist him lay down the Legos and this is what we created in matter of seconds! This calls for a party! I’m the happiest mom today!