Helping Amor use the right words

It’s been such a roller coaster ride at the playground!

Amor has a habit of grabbing scooters and other toys from anybody, complete with a loud “MINE!” Early on, 3 girls, about her age seemed like they were ganging up on her saying, “She (Amor) just grabs. I told her ‘no’ so many times and she keeps grabbing. Doesn’t she understand what ‘no’ means?” It could have broken my heart seeing kids unable to understand that Amor had delays and sensory issues.

For a while I stood watching, not knowing what to do. I put on my thinking cap, trying to recall Son-Rise Program® techniques and how on earth I was going to apply them at the playground with so many kids. Luckily a boy came over and offered his scooter. I went over and told him I appreciated his act of kindness. I explained further that Amor and her twin brother were born premature, as a result, their brains did not develop as well as typical kids. She is still learning to use the right words. I told him that when he did something so kind, it was a BIG help for Amor. When people are kind towards her, she will learn to be kind too. Kids learn easily but Amor needs more help. We have to keep trying. By the time I ended my explanation, the 3 girls were listening in and got the idea.

Next time Amor grabbed, I would tell the kids that that was an opportunity for them to help Amor use better words. So they waited and listened attentively for Amor to say, “Can I borrow your scooter.” And lent their scooters (or toys or balls) as soon as this magic words came out. All ended well and I was happy with the outcome of those first few playground trips. What could be more complicated than that?

The playground on a Sunday afternoon! Peak hours! This time there wasn’t just 3 girls, there were 3 sets of 3 girls, probably more. While some were ready to forge partnerships and help Amor use her words, some have never met her before. Some where too young and not ready to lend Amor anything. Some just turned away as soon as they saw Amor coming. There were just too many kids. And I was just too tired to keep trying. I was glad to get back home after that playground trip!

Today is one of those better days. Again those 3 little girls came running towards me, “She (Amor) took my scooter!” I asked if Amor used the right words. The youngest replied, “She said ‘Can I have please?’ ” LOL! I said, “Yey! She used the word ‘please’! Now we can teach her to include ‘borrow'”. Three bright lights lit on top of their heads. Next, I saw them running towards Amor then running back with Amor (can I just say, seeing my daughter actually being included in a game by neurotypical kids is so breathtaking). They led her to a surprise…a scooter! Amor said, “Can I BORROW please?” With 3 big smiles on their faces they handed it to her :-). I told them they were so fantastic, they did it! They helped Amor use her words! I’m sure that praise will inspire them to keep helping Amor.

Then comes little missy saying, “But she still doesn’t know how to return it properly. She just throws it on the ground.” I reply, “Hey, that could be your next mission! What do you think you can do to help Amor learn to give back toys nicely?” Sure enough one of them makes a plan based on how she deals with her younger brother, puts the plan in action and viola, Amor returns the scooter ever so nicely! Now that was a good day at the playground!

In the photo, Amor and a ball she grabbed from a kid at the playground 🙂


Son-Rise parenting

It was as if the whole world stopped, the house became silent as Amor (diagnosis: Global Developmental Delay) reached for the angry birds play doh that Ian meticulously created and squashed them!

We have been teaching 5-year-old Ian (neurotypical) to choose to be happy (the son-rise attitude) and understanding towards his siblings with special needs. He hates it when kids destroy his masterpiece. Who wouldn’t? This was the test…

…silence as everyone looked at Ian and waited for his reaction…

Ian exclaimed, “Hurray!” Then nanny and mommy give a bigger celebration, “Hurray! Ian chose to be happy!”

I’m loving parenting the son-rise way!


Brother’s love

Ian is such as sweet brother.

This sticker system is mostly for Ian. His Papa promised a surprise after he gets 20 stickers. So Ian keeps reminding us of his good deeds 🙂

After he finished all his food he said, “Mama, can I have 2 stickers?” I thought maybe he felt the did an extra good job independently eating all his food so why not? Then he continues, “One for me and one for Kuya Nathan!” Aww, he was worried that his big brother wouldn’t catch up with the stickers.

Later Ian asks, “Mama, if Nathan doesn’t win, can he get a toy too?” Now Ian’s concerned about how Nathan would feel once Ian gets the surprise Papa promised.

What a blessing!


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?”

Ian my neurotypical

When you have kids with special needs and your neurotypical excels, it’s the most fascinating feeling!

Here’s my 4-year-old neurotypical, Ian, who just got a Certificate of Excellence for listening well and always doing his best!

I am fascinated because I do not spend so much time with him as I do for my son with autism. So Ian excels, almost all on his own. The only investment we put in is when we tell him how proud we are of him, we praise him for how good he is at following instructions, how kind he is whenever he gives way to Nathan and Amor (most of the time 😉 )
and that we feel so blessed because we have him!

I’m so glad I found Son-Rise because it has taught me how to raise my whole family.


In His Time

Some of my trying moments:
3 years ago, Nathan and I went to China for radical stem cell injections. We were hoping it would not only help him walk better but also alleviate autism.

During those trying periods, we asked for prayers. Knowing that autism would be a lifetime journey, I asked friends to pray that we be guided to find the best schools, best teachers, best therapists and best doctors to help us bring out Nathan’s maximum potentials.

God did something better than that…He lead us to the Son-Rise Program and told us that WE are our children’s best resource. With the right tools, we can encourage our kids and pull out their social skills.

Son-Rise also helped me link with a network of amazing friends, all doing their best connecting with their kids, some have even helped their kids overcome autism. Every child moving forward is hope that my Nathan too will one day overcome autism.

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 🙂

My little angel, Ian

I was telling Ian (age 4) the theory about babies picking the parents they would be born into. Then I asked, “Ian, when you were a baby in heaven, did you pick Mama and Papa?” He nodded yes! I asked again, “Do you remember?” He nodded yes again 🙂

In the afternoon, I picked up the topic again and asked, “Ian, I think you picked Mama and Papa because you knew Kuya Nathan and Ate Amor (preemie twins age 6) needed help?” Ian affirmed, “Yup, I picked Mama because Kuya Nathan Ate Amor needs MY help.”

Grandfather is son-rising Nathan

Lolo tried a little son-rising today. Nathan did some “isming” with the slinky at first but glanced at Lolo frequently as Lolo “joined” him holding his own slinky. When Nathan dropped the slinky, he didn’t try to get it again. Instead he looked at Lolo and watched Lolo play with the slinky. I explained to Lolo that Nathan was more interested in what Lolo was doing rather than withdrawing into his autistic world. Since day one, Nathan showed a lot of interest in Lolo.

Lolo also started reading a son-rise book and agrees with all the principles in it.

He recalled, as a kid, how peers used to hate schooling. One even stopped schooling. He wonders if they too needed help. Could they have been given better chances at coping in school had their parents know about son-rise or even just the basic son-rise principles?