Hi. I’m a Son-Rise Mum and I have been running a programme for 5 years. Has it been hard? Yes. Has it been glorious? Yes. Is my daughter still autistic? Yes. Did I hope otherwise? Yes.
So many Yes’s.
But the hardest one has been Back to Basics.
You see, when we started, my daughter was so “high functioning”, she could already talk. So I could tick that one off the list. Did she already have eye contact? Yes. Was her communication normal and her eye contact normal? No. So we had a lot to work/play on…. but my daughter responded quickly, loved the Playroom, loved the one-to-one contact with her playmates. We even got onto “Advanced Friendship Skills”. From one loop conversations we were up to 10 minutes. Interactive games could last an hour!!! I was so proud. “I’m doing this properly. I can Be Happy”.
And then it all changed. My daughter stopped sleeping, her behaviour changed and her progress in the Playroom skidded to a halt. In fact, it slid all the way back to way before we started the programme. She was struggling to survive, her (teenage) body was putting such demands on her.
My volunteers and I were confused. What to do? Of course it was obvious – back to basics- but Oh! we resisted…..How we tried our favourite interactive ploys -nothing….How we introduced new games – nothing….How we tried to make conversation – nothing….
We mourned. In one meeting, we had to face the fact that our dreams (“We will make K. better”) seemed to be crumbling. “Choose to be Happy”. Mmm. Seemed a long way away.
So of course we went Back to Basics. Joining, joining, joining. The 3 e’s. Celebrating. Although we had never stopped doing these, we were rusty on doing them so purely, for hour after hour, especially joining. Luckily, my daughter’s main ism is tearing bits of paper, which is quite soothing…..
My mentor, Bryn, asked me. “If she was like this from now on, could that memory of that connection be enough? Could you celebrate her for how she is now? Can you be with her now with absolute abandon?”
And the answer was Yes.
Was I doing Son-Rise wrong? No. Is my daughter going through hormonal challenges (she is 16)? Yes. Does joining work? Yes.
Thank you for Back to Basics. I need to go and do some tearing now…….