Hello my Friends,

I am writing to you today directly from the Autism Treatment Center of America in Sheffield , Massachusetts. I wanted to share an experience I had with a beautiful boy with Autism who is here this week for his week long Intensive Program. I am going to share with you the beauty of joining.

As I entered the playroom today this little boy walked over to me and immediately noticed a tool box I had in my hand so I celebrated him and put the tool box on the table. He began to explore the different toys and immersed himself in what seemed a most amazing experience. People who don’t know the Son Rise Program may simply sit and watch this little boy play in his own world of wonder and excitement or they may walk away to do something on their list of chores since “he doesn’t notice we are there”. Here at the Autism Treatment Center of America we do something quite the opposite of watching or walking away. WE JOIN THEM!

This amazing little boy held the tools in his hand and twisted ed and torqued the screws while saying “this is a great way to work with tools”. I too began to do the exact same thing he did; I twisted and torqued the screws while saying “this is a great way to work with tools”. Once in awhile he would give me a look so I celebrated these special moments. Then, it happened, he looked at me, smiled, and then looked at my hands as if he wanted to be sure I was still with him in his world of wonder.

This little boy and I went on for several more minutes as if we were both in a harmonious dance. Then he stopped what he was doing and took my hand. He placed it on top of the tool bench and directed me to turn the screws with the screwdriver in the way he had been doing for minutes before. He looked with a smile and said “Now it’s your turn!” I did exactly as I was told in this moment and recited the words he had been speaking “this is a great way to work with tools!” He looked my way again and began to ask questions and give me directions on how to build a bridge. Before you know it we were completely connected and enjoyed a beautiful game together.

While the game was fantastic and fun, the most important element was building the connection through joining. I believe this child felt my presence as I joined him and it was this action that developed rapport.

It may take minutes, hours, or even days, but joining is truly an integral aspect to the Son Rise Program. Having fun joining-It really is a beautiful experience!

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