I was recently working with a Mother who is doing The Son-Rise Program with her child.
An issue she had was that her child kept asking to go out of the playroom. He’d turn off the lights, stand by the door and rattle the door handle several times.
This wonderful Mother who is working on language with her child would ask “What do you want, tell me what you want?” To which he would say “I want out”.
Then she would let him out because she wanted to show him the power of his language by giving him what he had asked for. Then the session would be over.
If this sounds familiar to you then here are some ideas.
1) At The Autism Treatment Center of America, we believe in setting clear boundaries for our children. We know that boundaries are useful and will help our children in their lives. One boundary we always set is that when we are in The Son-Rise Program playroom the door stays shut and locked. This is because we know that working with our child in this one to one environment with no distractions for us or our child is absolutely the best way to help them.
2) That it’s ok if our children are going to the door or wanting to get out, the idea is not to try and distract them away from the door but to help them see that in life you don’t always get what you want and help them to work through that.
3) That we can still work on language and celebrate them for talking to us. So even if they are saying “I want out”, we can say “I love that you are talking to me but the door will still be locked because I love you and want to help you”.
4) Offer an alternative. Maybe your child is wanting something that is outside that they don’t know is in the playroom, always ensure that you have fresh snacks, a drink and a way for your child to use the bathroom in the room and have fun showing them all of these things and offering them what they might want.
5) Feel comfortable, loving and assumption free even if your child whines, cries, shouts or tantrums about the door staying locked. If when you don’t open the door your child does this, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is unhappy, they are trying to communicate with you and see what might work to get what they want and they also could be seeking a reaction from you so that you eventually “Cave” and open the door.
6) Having the door shut and locked is an act of love. In this playroom I can accept my child, join my child, give my child much more control than outside of the playroom, I can celebrate my child and teach my child in this room.