From Amanda: Hello Amazing Son-Rise Program® Friends,
As you may know, or not know, what makes the Son-Rise Program® unique to other programs is the concept of joining our children when they are exclusive. We join our children in their world as a way to form a relationship and build connection with them, so we can then lead them into our world and inspire growth. It truly is a beautiful experience!
What happens though, to the Son-Rise Program® without the concept of joining? Read on and you will learn.
Last week, from May 25th – May 29th, a team of 7 child facilitators (including myself) and 3 teachers from the Autism Treatment Center of America went to the Autism One Conference in Chicago to provide childcare for children on the Autism Spectrum so their parents could attend the conference. This is the largest conference on Autism in the Nation and we were given this amazing opportunity to care for these beautiful children. We were all incredibly excited. In doing the childcare, we recognized that we would not be doing our typical Son-Rise Program®, which is different than we have ever done before. We would not be able to join these sweet children in their world as we do in the Son-Rise Program® due to the large number of children as we wanted to be present for all of them and available for all of them in each and every moment. We could however, love each and every child as fully and as deeply as if we were doing the Son-Rise Program®, and that is exactly what did.
Throughout the week, we showed these beautiful children how excited we were to be with them; we loved them and cheered for them. We were play-full with them and noticed the wonderful things they did in their world and in ours. We blew bubbles and laughed; we gave rides on blankets and laughed more; we listened closely for language and celebrated; we read stories and felt a calm; we sang songs and danced; we watched the children line up cars, look in the mirror, count numbers, circuit the room, or sit and stare, and we LOVED THEM. We were doing the Son-Rise Program® in our minds and in our hearts and our children responded.
While at the Autism One Conference, our team solidified just how important the attitude of love and acceptance is for our children, all of us in fact, and how the attitude flows into them like water when we model this to them. Wow! Even without doing the full Son-Rise Program®, parents were seeing changes in their children. Changes they had never witnessed before. One parent said her daughter had been with same babysitter for 2 years and cried everyday for most of the day, yet she only cried briefly on transitions to the childcare room and the rest of the day she playfully popped bubbles, and laughed from her belly as she received loving tickles. Her parents said she appeared calmer and happier. All this because we loved her, laughed with her, accepted her, and cheered for her on all day long.
I remember working with a little boy whose name was Eli. He was lining up cars and once in awhile looked up at me. When he looked up, I excitedly celebrated him for his looks, at which point, he too smiled and then went back to playing with his cars. After another minute or so, he looked at me again, so I cheered and clapped, and he clapped with me. Soon this turned into a great game, and then at the end of the game, he came running to me for a giant hug. Even without joining, I was able to be with Eli in this way. I decided to love him, accept him, be present with him, and enjoy him. He in turn gave me a huge green light.
Almost every child who came into the Son-Rise Program® childcare room had a parent who commented on the changes they witnessed in their child. They were calmer, smiling more, sleeping better at night, talking more, easier with transitions and more. I believe this was possible due to the full expression of love and acceptance we offered their children and the joy we felt when we were with their children. For 5 days we treated their children as if they were our own. It was truly an unforgettable and amazing week.
Thank you to all of our little friends at the Autism One Conference for helping us to create a memorable experience.
With love, Amanda