Nathan misses his Grandmother

My Mom left early this morning so she couldn’t say “bye” to the kids. She was Nathan’s roommate while she was here.

After breakfast, Nathan said, “[I] want to go to the bed room.” Papa asks, “Do you want to sleep again?” Nathan replies, “Want visitor, [I] want Lola Dolly.”

This afternoon Nathan goes to the bedroom again and says, “I want to sleep na. I want Lola Dolly.”

Nathan really misses his grandmother 🙂

Party time…or not

After Nathan’s shower, I turned off the water.
Me: Nathan let’s go.
Nathan: to ride a taxi.
Me: Where are we going?
Nathan: to a party.

First of all that is clearly a spontaneous 2-loop conversation! Secondly, I didn’t realize how much information he as been absorbing. Amor is off to a special-needs & neurotypical play date, Ian is going to his classmates party later this afternoon and Nathan feels he’s going too.

Unfortunately, we have decided it’s too early for Nathan to be going out to extremely sensory-overloading environments. But one day, when he has progressed, he will. It is precisely because he is home in a distraction-free, nurturing environment that he will one day be able to go out and enjoy neurotypical parties without sensory issues.

Son-rise is like growing seedlings in a protected nursery. When they are sturdy enough to withstand the heat of the day, coldness if the night, dryness or excess wetness of the weather…people staring, over-stimulating lights and sounds, noisy crowds, fear of not knowing what will happen next, the pressure of waiting in line, etc…. Then the seedlings can be planted in open fields and Son-Rise kids and their families will enjoying life the way it should be!

Game ideas

Pick a toy and identify simply games you can play using it.

The cabinet:
1. When Nathan says he wants to go inside. Role play that you are climbing a mountain. Start with offering your hand to step on…oops that doesn’t work. Then ask Nathan if he wants a chair (or table) to step on. If he does not respond go ahead and get one. If he does and still has his green lights on, invite him to help you pull the chair. Back to role playing, climb the mountain cheering with every effort made, “Nathan is climbing *UP* woohoo!” Give a big cheer when he gets to the top and waive his conquering flag-the wedding gown!

2. Once on top, play hide-n-seek. Close he door and say, “Nathan, where are you?” As you find him, “there you are *IN* the cabinet!” Close the door again and do variations. “Oh no, Nathan is missing…I wonder if he’s *IN* the cabinet?” …..”I found you!”
Another variation, open the door which he is not behind and pretend you still cannot find him.
Next variation, turn your hand into a searching snake, open the door slightly so snake can peek in, maybe snake can even take a closer look and tickle Nathan while at it.

3. Play peek-a-boo.
Close the door and quickly get your props: wig, glasses, scarfs, swimming cap, etc.
Put on an item and knock on the door. Give clues about who’s knocking on the door and change voices ever time you change identifies. Like put on the swimming cap, pinch your nose then say, “Hey, there’s a penguin *OUT SIDE* Knock, knock, penguin wants to come *IN*…open the door please.” As he (or you, if he does not respond) opens the door, do a peek-a-boo gesture. Remember to watch his reaction and adjust your peek-a-boo celebration if Nathan thinks its too loud or too fast and surprising.

Celebrate what they got right!

This is something I should always remind myself.

We spend a lot if time correcting our kids. But what do we do when our kids get it right?

Do an experiment. In a day, tally every time you correct your child (or mom or friend or office mate or subordinate, etc.) versus every time you celebrated that right things he did. Which list is the longest?

Why not spend more time celebrating what they are doing right than correcting what they are doing wrong?

As I watched Eric with Nathan, I noticed Eric stopped correcting Nathan’s “W” sitting position to “Indian sit” position. The “W” sit is really bad for his knees. Eric did this to simply be more of a “friend” and gain Nathan’s trust…not a bad decision considering how he assessed the situation. However, I also saw Nathan independently do the “Indian sit” at least 3 times during the session.

Why not celebrate what he did right? Eye’s wide open (like you just saw a rare treasure), with big body gestures say something like, “Oh my gosh! You did an Indian sit all by yourself! Amazing!”….or whatever celebration comes naturally to you.

Kids, or everyone for that matter, become more motivated when they are told they got it right, rather than when they keep on feeling they got it wrong.

Thanks Eric, your session was an eye-opener for me.

ATEC improvement

ATEC (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist) is a simple but effective tool to measure the effectiveness of various autism treatments. An ATEC score below 10 indicates the child has no autism. The higher the number, the more autistic.

Before MMS (December 2012), Nathan scored 81. Now, 4 months after, his scores 71! A 10-point drop! We have a long way to go but we are certainly on the right path!

Most of Nathan’s gains are in the social skills area. Nathan is always excited about his son-rise volunteers coming over. He guesses who is coming for the day. After I confirm who it will be, he will keep anticipating, “(Volunteer’s name) is coming!” When our volunteer finally arrives, Nathan’s face always light up as he escorts them to the son-rise room. Even after sessions, when I’m talking to the volunteers, Nathan will come over and sit next to his volunteer.

Thank you to the most amazing Son-Rise team!

Preparing for Son-Rise Sessions

Before entering the son-rise room with Nathan:

1. Think of a theme for the session.
like: at the zoo, having a birthday party, music and dancing, at the beach, under the sea, etc. It can can be based on his current motivations like: drumming/tapping on everything and by everything or 101 things to do with a “wedding gown”

2. Identify 5 toys or activities in the room that you can use as part of your session. Think of simple games you can create. You can be guided by a review the list of Nathan’s motivations or isms against the targets for this month.

3. Always remember, enter the room with the agenda. But the number one goal is to make Nathan feel that you are his “friend.” If Nathan is not up to it, drop your agenda and go back to joining.

What to do if Nathan gives you green lights (not isming) but does not seem to be paying attention?

Advice from a son-rise facilitator and other son-rise parents:

– Give child chance to take in what you are doing. Many times, it seems the child is not paying attention, I find they really are.

– From other parents: It takes our child 45 (some 20 to 30) seconds to process what we are saying…Sometimes even 30 minutes or hours later.

….Let’s try to establish Nathan’s response time.

– Child hears but needs time to think things through…process language.

– Pause, pause, pause, one of my favorite and most useful techniques….if you think you have paused long enough, pause longer!

– We have noticed (child’s) response time was 15 minutes, now it is decreasing.

….I haven’t specifically monitored Nathan’s response time but I do believe it has decreased. Or it is almost immediate if he is happy with the interact. Then it slows down towards the end, when he gets tired and needs a break.

Dyslexia or not?

We just had a good meeting with all of Amor’s teachers and therapists. In the last few months there has been big jumps in Amor’s cognitive skills.

I used to worry that Amor might have dyslexia. I never pushed her to read even if was behind her peers. I know frustration will only make things worse. Her ‘x’ and ‘k’, ‘b’ and ‘d’ were always mixed up. I have been observing this mix up for the past 2 years. Early this year, her speech therapist agreed that dyslexia might be an issue and we were ready to start studying dyslexia management.

However, Amor now shows interest in reading both phonics and sight words. She can answer letter names and sounds precisely. The same speech therapist now says that we shouldn’t look at dyslexia anymore. It might have simply been a mix-up as part of early learning. Amor’s dyslexia issues in 2 years all of a sudden went away in 2 months??

Amor is also doing well with number recognition and improving in one-to-one correspondence. This is something her former speech therapist (back in Japan) was working on for a year…with little progress.

All these seem so simple but these are great strides from someone who has vision issues. Amor also wears glasses.

If I were to plot Amor’s improvements with time, the biggest jumped occurred in the past few months, which of course can easily be explained by MMS.

MMS clears the gut of bad bacteria, yeast and parasites. All these affect sensory processing thus inhibiting the child’s ability to understand her environment and people around her. Clean the gut, remove autism…in Amor’s case, remove GDD.

We are also running a son-rise lifestyle program. I.e. we don’t put fixed hours into her program but use the son-rise attitude and son-rise her in the weekends.

Every “thank you” makes a BIG difference

I was shopping for a traveling bag today. It had to be big with lots of pockets and light so it won’t bother my scoliosis.

At the store I picked, poked and unzipped almost every bag to see which would fit my criteria. Then passed them to the sales lady who had to put everything back. Finally she said, “What do you want a big bag or a light bag?” It was a bit too rude for me but I had to ignore that ticked-off feeling I had and focus on getting myself a good bag. I never have time to go shopping so I’m not going to make this lady ruin it for me.

Good thing she went away. But soon I was followed by another sales man. As he helped me pick a bag, I thought, “Here we go again, can’t they just leave me alone so I can decide which one I want.”

I finally narrowed down to my top 2 choices. Both fit my criteria. It looked like the sales man was quietly watching me make a decision but luckily not up my nose while I was. He then approached me and said that my choice A was stronger than choice B, because it had reinforcement padding (that I didn’t notice because I was only looking at size, pockets and weight). I thought, “Finally! A kind gesture and useful information!”

It was a really different experience compared to the first sales lady so I wanted to somehow reward his kind gesture. So I thanked him for the very useful advice. He smiled with a sense of pride. Then before leaving he said, “Please keep the receipt so that if there are any problems with the item, you can return it within a week.” That’s my winner sales man!

It’s much like the son-rise program for autism. We always reward Nathan and Amor (and even my neurotypical, Ian) for all the accomplishments they make, big or small. Like:
– thank you for looking at me while asking.
– thank you for asking so nicely (with no tantrums while demanding).
– thank you for saying sorry to your sister (that’s Ian, who at age 4, believes he’s always right and doesn’t want to say sorry).

Those little thank you’s go a long way and I see my kids aim higher next time around just as the great sales man wanted to continue giving me useful tips after I thanked him for the first one.