More responsive 

Last Christmas, when Grandfather came to visit, he was worried and would always ask me, “Why is Nathan not responding?”
This year, he’s back for Christmas and to his surprise, Nathan keeps asking him for everything and anything like:

– Lolo (Grandfather) push the wheelchair please (That’s a Nathan’s wheelchair, when we go out).

– Lolo, blow [fart kisses] on Nathan’s tummy please.

– Lolo, play jump around please (Nathan’s favourite music).

– Lolo, make the music louder please.

– Lolo, piggy back ride please (Nathan’s probably just testing if Lolo’s back is just as strong as his fathers 😉)

– Lolo, sleep next to him (that’s “me”. Nathan still needs to work on his pronouns) please.

– Lolo, lie down in bed please (so Nathan can sleep next to him).

– Lolo, take of your shirt please…

…and my most favourite of all…

– Lolo, lift your shirt please. Nathan wants to rub your tummy (see photo of Nathan rubbing/tapping Lolo’s jelly belly 😆).
Well, Lolo Hermie, you were asking for Nathan to be more responsive, and so you have it! 😉 See you again next Christmas! I’m excited to find out what will change then 😄


Generalising Social Skills

Typically Nathan is ready to play with volunteers who have been trained to respond the Son-Rise way. He is generalising social skills that he has acquired in his Son-Rise playroom, and applying to other non-Son-Rise people around him.
Grandfather, Lolo Hermie, is spending Christmas with us. I was surprised to see Nathan giving him a big smile, asking Lolo to blow fart kisses in his tummy, then asking for a piggy-back ride. That’s Nathan’s way of saying, “I want to play with you, come play with me!”

He is surely taking steps out of his world of autism, into our world of social interaction! God is Good! 


Play date 

Amor has been talking about her favourite classmate, Ethan, so I finally arranged for a playdate! She was looking forward to this date the whole week!
She calls Ethan her Boyfriend 😆…unless Papa comes reminding her that he’s her Boyfriend until she’s 21.

She treats Ethan like her baby 😉 and holds his hand a lot. I still don’t know if the feeling is mutual 😆 hehehe, but it makes me happy to know that Amor boldly expresses how she feels. After all, love is the best part of life! Ethan’s Mom says she asks Ethan who his Girlfriend is and his reply is of course “Amor”.😄

When Amor was younger, it felt like the gap between her delays and her peers was getting larger and larger. I started to feel that she wasn’t going to be able to do many things in life. I feared, she might never get married and have a happy family life. 

All those changed once we started to embark on our Son-Rise Program(r) Journey. Amor’s social skills are catching-up fast. And today she has a “Boyfriend”😉. Today, I’m confident Amor will do amazing in life!  


Sweet kids

What a blessed playground session.
Amor asked a 9-year-old if she could borrow her bike, she generously said “Yes” and her younger brother also offered, “You can borrow my skateboard too.” When asked, the older brother gave up his bike too. Soon, the girl was offering to help Amor balance on the skateboard then invited her to play with her animal rescue toys with her. All three kids were so polite, friendly and generous. Such a powerful way to help Amor acquire those same wonderful qualities.

Typically, Amor looks like an irritable, non-compliant child at the playground. When another child does not share (and of course no body can blame them), it unfortunately triggers Amor’s amygdala (the fear-center of the brain) creating havoc 😜. The amygdala is usually overactive in kids with special needs. But polite kids send happy signals to the brain and keeps the amygdala calm, as it should be. That’s the perfect environment to help Amor grow.

One measure of Amor’s triggered sensory issues is her difficulty transitioning, i.e. her difficulty following me when I say “time to go home!” But today, since she was so calm at the playground, she peacefully led me home after I rushed her to beat the rain. She even gave me the sweetest smile. See photo.

Feeling so blessed seeing more and more generous kids at the playground and hoping we bump into them again.


It’s about us now

Amor is very consistent now. She makes sure she finds out where are are going when we leave her at home. When we return she is sure to greet us, “Hi Mama, how was your meeting?” or “Hi Papa, how was your gym?” or “How was your party?”
It used or be all about her. She used to greet us with “I want your iphone!” or “I want a toy/present. What’s in your bag?” Now, she’s excited to know more about others.

What has worked for Amor:

– Much thanks to her Son-Rise team and Papa who leads it, they make her session all about her for as much as she needs us to focus on her. By modelling and giving her her social needs, she has learned to give back and think about others too.
– Celebrating. Whenever she greets me, I always say and show her how excited I am that she was thinking about me and asking me how my day was. Authentic Celebrations with Energy, Excitement and Enthusiasm (3E’s) is sure to get repeat performances!
In the photo is Amor who greeted us last night with “How was your party?” and came over to give me the sweetest hug.


Overcoming impulsiveness 

Here’s my impulsive daughter. Every time she sees a gift, she just had to open it. Sometimes her younger brother has to be the understanding one and allow her to open some of his birthday presents just to minimise the temper tantrums she used to throw. Or her Uncle would bring an extra gift for her, even it was not her birthday, because it broke his heart seeing her tantrums.  

But today is different. Here she is, overcoming her impulsiveness and ready to deliver her presents to her Teachers and therapists. Based on our wonderful conversation this morning, I’m confident all the presents will still be wrapped before she delivers them.

Note: The way we chose for Amor to overcome her impulsiveness was NOT through discipline and reprimand. We decided instead to chose to understand her behaviour FIRST; to understand that she needed predictability of what would otherwise be a chaotic world for a child with special needs. We “gave” her predictability first and allowed her to do what she was expecting in her brain. We waited for her to be ready, to give up the her need for things to go her way.  

Today, she is compliant not because she HAS TO follow my demands, she will do it because her need for predictability has loosened up and because she WANTS TO do it.