How to teach a child that he can choose to be happy (That’s the heart of the Son-Rise Program for autism)

Ian, my 4-year-old neurotypical, always gives way to his brother, Nathan (6-year-old, Autism) but not so much to his sister, Amor (6-year-old, diagnosis: Global Developmental Delay).

Amor looks like a typical child but seems to be angry or irritable all the time. Her personality issues are mainly due to her overloaded sensory system and many people, including her younger brother Ian,
have a hard time understanding this.

Tonight, I tried explaining to Ian that Amor simply likes getting him angry and when she achieves that, she wins. Like many 4-year-olds, Ian hates not being the winner. So I told him, if he wanted to win, he should do the opposite of what Amor expects…be happy. We even practiced. I was Amor and I would grab and throw Ian’s toys….and Ian chose to be happy all the time. We were having so much fun practicing that Ian requested for more “practice”. At the end of the night, we settled and agreed that was the plan for tomorrow in case Amor would bother him. He was so excited as he whispered to me “That’s our secret ok?”