Son-Rise Program® Child Facilitator
You know the feeling you have when you’re with someone who just “gets you” … the feeling of being completely understood, fully accepted, and above all just totally LOVED and adored as a person and friend! Ahhh, such a sweet experience to have someone in your life who wants nothing better than to get to know you better and connect with you … an experience which often leaves you with a lasting impression of your time with that person.
Now imagine your child … imagine all the hopes you have for your child to live independent lives full of rich, meaningful relationships … relationships where they have the opportunity to experience the wonderful feeling of being loved, accepted, and understood … relationships where, in turn, they can connect with others and the world around them. But the question is … how can you help your child get there? … how do you help them step out of their world so they want to enter the world of relationships?
In The Son-Rise Program our intention is to create a deep connection and rapport with our child to help them develop their own motivation so they want to enter our world of relationships. When they have this desire they will want to form countless relationships. These relationships will help them connect to the world around them and live the independent life we so want for them.
The best way we can help our children create this desire to connect with us in our world, is to first connect with them in theirs. In The Son-Rise Program we first focus on joining children in their world by joining them in the activities they love. When your child is exclusive and repetitious (“stimming” or what we call “isming”) “join” them by doing exactly as they do.
Let me share a story … last week, I was working with a beautiful little boy who on average interacted and connected with others for about two minutes out of every hour — the other 58 minutes of the hour he was in his own world “isming” away peacefully. When I walked into the playroom I knew connecting with others and interacting was a challenge for him, so my intention was to purely get to know him in his world first. I wanted to send him the message “I get you, and I want to be your friend.” I joined him in his “ism” for almost two hours … he would take his colorful orange scarf and shake it in front of his face. I, in turn, would do the same with my own scarf in front of my face. When he would excitedly say “Eeeee!” , I would say the same, and together the two of us delighted in the sounds and sights of this incredible “ism”. I was not waiting for a game to begin, nor a moment to ask him to say a word or phrase, I was simply getting to know him and sending him the message “I want nothing more than to get to know you right now.” So for those two hours we “ismed” and “ismed”, and “ismed” … and then something very special happened… The scarf he had been shaking became still, he looked up and met my eyes with a huge grin, and came over to wrap his arms around my neck for the sweetest hug ever! He didn’t say the words “Thank you”, but I like to believe that this was his way of saying it. I felt so very connected with him. From that moment forward to the end of our time together, over 45 minutes, we played and played and played — games of bounces, tickles, and puppets. He choose to connect with me in my world.
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why this worked the way that it did and why we join our children when they “ism” · We are sending our child the message I love you and I want to get to know you. Since social relationships are one of our children’s greatest challenges, by joining them in their world we are saying … “I want to get to know you and connect with you in the easiest way possible for you — in your world first.”
· By joining our child in their “ism” we get to know our child much much better… we find out what their motivation is, so we can offer them fun games and activities based on the things we have discovered they love.
· When our child is “isming” we “join” them until they give us an indication they are ready to connect (a social cue such as a look, a verbalization, or physical contact). We do not interrupt their “ism” nor do we try to “make” them interact with us. By not interrupting our child’s “ism” and waiting for them to indicate they are ready to connect, we are helping them build a muscle within themselves …a socialization muscle. Each time they are joined they get the opportunity to practice spontaneously wanting to connect (again, remember we are not interrupting or forcing our child to interact with us in any way). This strengthens their spontaneous socialization muscle. The more we join, the more we help them get stronger in this area!
Wow! When you use The Son-Rise Program technique of “joining” you are your child’s very own personal trainer for socialization.
These are just a few insights into The Son-Rise Program principle of “joining”. For more useful information about this principle and other Son-Rise Programtechniques, please visit our website at www.AutismTreatmentCenter.orgAbove all, have the best time with your beautiful and amazing children!