Nathan heals himself

I love how Temple Grandin puts into words what Nathan might be feeling and how amazing he copes with his challenges.

As a baby, Nathan was always scared of sudden sounds. It did not just startle, it really scared him. His face looked like he just watched a horror movie.

Even I started to hate the sudden sneezes of Papa or Grandfather because I didn’t like the corresponding fearful face on Nathan. If I could stop all of the sudden sneezes, I would have!

But all on his own, my genius boy figured out how to overcome his fear. Through the years, Nathan has been enjoying what I call our peek-a-boo game.

Nathan picks a chain of words for me to echo back but expects me to say it back with a peek-a-boo twist at the end. He knows he will get a surprising loud word at the end but instead of fearful surprise, Nathan waits with happy anticipation for me to say it while looking closely at my eyes and lips. He bursts into laughter after I loudly utter the surprise word. I love this game and the laughter it brings us!

Sudden sneezes sounds don’t bother Nathan anymore. Through the years his peek-a-boo games have have helped his overcome this fear!

God is good! I always used to blame myself for the premature birth of my twins, Nathan’s brain injury at birth, and that I over vaccinated Nathan and he regressed deep into autism…but regardless of what we have done in the past God continues to heal. In fact, from the beginning, He already gave each of us intuition to heal!


Having a conversation with Nathan…

Nathan says “under”, his Son-Rise volunteer echos, “under.” He says “Piccachu”, his volunteer repeats, “Piccachu.” He says words as random as “Hotel”, “Chips” and “Flashlight”, his volunteer happily complies and returns each word back as Nathan requests.

To the naked eye, the exchange might make zero sense. They might even ask, “Between the two, who is autistic again?” 😜

But if you examine it closely:

1. For a good 30 minutes, Nathan looked straight at his volunteers eyes. As he spoke each word, he anticipated her response.

2. He anticipated her response! He maintained his happy demeanour towards her for the whole 30 minutes.

3. The whole echo game was initiated by Nathan. He wants to play with people!

4. At some point, Nathan practiced asking questions like, “Do you want more chips?”

5. In several occasions, if the response did not meet Nathan’s expectations, he patiently guided his volunteer to say the word correctly (note no tantrums). It’s amazing watching Nathan teach his volunteers his autism language!

Nathan has all the elements needed to be able to hold a conversation: eye-contact, initiation, engagement and flexibility. Yes, his language at this point may be far behind…but it’s not bad for someone who did not have intentional speech age 5. Praise God we found The Son-Rise Program® and Nathan learned to speak.

Some people might say this child will never be able to hold a proper conversation…I say he already has the foundations for it! It’s only a matter of time.


Photo: Not the best photo from a one way mirror…but there he is, having a conversation with his volunteer!