“Let’s go to the playground!”

I asked Zirah to help me bring the twins to the playground. I walked ahead with Nathan while she walked behind with Amor. 
Nathan kept turning back looking mesmerised that Zirah was walking to the playground with us. So I modelled words to help Nathan…he looked back at Zirah and shouted, “Come on Zirah! Let’s go to the playground!” ❤️ 

At the playground Nathan kept looking at her and asked her to play his “Eco-Me” game. See photo. Happiness!
Zirah used to volunteer for Nathan and is understandably business with school these days, but still manages to visit us and play with the twins once in a while. When she does, Nathan is always happy when he sees her! 

Parenting the button-pusher

What to do to discourage unwanted behaviours, like writing on the wall…
When we tell our kids “DO NOT DO THAT!”…and if they are like Amor…they will do it in anticipation the attention that they get and the “exciting” look on your face. That’s Amor, my button-pusher. The daughter I love so much! 
So what do we do?

We do not give vague reprimands or demerits, but we do give a consequence that is closely related to the unwanted behaviour. Example, she wrote on the wall, so she has to clean it and cannot leave the wall until all writings are cleaned…yes, even with permanent markers. See photos of her erasing her drawings.

Another example is when she says unwanted words like “stupid”. That word is never used in the house. Likely she picked it up from YouTube. When she tests our reactions to her new words, we remind her that all words that we use (as a family) are to edify and not to hurt people. She has the wisdom to know the difference. But since she’s choosing to use words that hurt people (and enjoying the shocked looked on our faces when she does), we simply turn off the computer or have no computer for the rest of the day and explain to her that we don’t want her to pick-up more hurtful words. Not watching such videos will help her avoid unwanted words. That has really reduced her use of unwanted words and button-pushing. Yes, once in a while she will try, but soon understand that her tactic is not working.

One important thing that we do is not to add big, “exciting” emotions, like using a big voice or an stern face while giving her consequence. That attention gets her to keep pushing buttons. We tell her about her unwanted behaviour and provide a consequence using a slow, boring, matter-of-fact voice. 

And for the cream on the cake, we always acknowledge all the good things Amor does. At the end of all the rubbing and scrubbing, here’s how we celebrated her:
Me: Thank you Amor for being responsible and cleaning the wall.
Amor: You know I’m not going to write on the wall the again. 😉 (works like a charm)

In fact, celebration is such an awesome technique, Amor boomerangs it back to us a lot! A few minutes later, she celebrated, “Mama, you are so good at helping me clean up.” 😜 (charming me to keep helping her. I had to help her scrub hard since the eraser couldn’t get all the writings out).

We learned all these great techniques from The Son-Rise Program:

Use consequences directly related to the unwanted behaviour and explain why.
Instead of using emotion-filled response to the unwanted behaviour, move slowly in a boring way.

For wanted behaviours, acknowledge and CELEBRATE so they keep doing things we like! 

#SonRiseRocks, it has really helped us become better parents for Amor and all our kids! 

Ever so expressive!

In the middle of last night I woke-up to Nathan shouting from him room, “Mama, I want water!” I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming so I stayed in bed for another minute. Apparently he had been shouting for a few minutes before I realised I wasn’t dreaming. His next shout was, “Mama, give me water please!”

I usually feel tired whenever I have to check Nathan when wakes up in the middle of the night, crying or laughing (and this happens frequently), but last night I had a big smile on my face thinking how awesome that Nathan expressed his needs and projected his voice across the hall to his sleeping Mom instead of crying! 

The other day, I was in the shower, I thought I heard Amor knocking and speaking outside. I listened carefully and it was Nathan shouting ever so clearly, “Mama, [I want to] come into the bathroom please.” He has never projected his voice so loud and clear before.

Imagine that, a child with autism wanting to be heard and expressing it loud, clear and ever so politely! 

#ByGodsGrace #SonRiseRocks

In the photo. Me and Nathan this morning.

Nathan’s Echo-Me Game 

It is such a treat to listen as Yang was echoing Nathan’s words. Nathan kept giving her new words to echo and smiled and laughed as Yang echoed it back exactly the way he wanted! From the outside it may seem like non-sense string words put together, but if you think about it, Yang successfully encouraged Nathan to stay with her in a very long “conversation” that he enjoys, be it in the autism language. 

This enjoyment of “talking” with another person is the foundation of future engaging conversations that Nathan will be capable of holding. It starts with being happy to engage with people! 
In the photo: Yang and Nathan having their conversation with strong eye-contact through the mirror.