From Kate Wilde:Joining is at the heart of the Son-Rise Program methodology. Joining means that when our children on the autistic spectrum are engaged in their repetitious and/or exclusive activities, we do exactly what they are doing. If they are pacing around the room exclusively(not looking at us or paying attention to us) then we join by pacing around the room in the exact same way. If they are repeating a phrase from a movie, or reciting a story to themselves, then we will recite the same movie or story to ourselves.
When we are doing what they are doing we are doing it sincerely, really enjoying taking part in their activity. We do this to be closer to them, to populate their world with people so that they are no longer alone.
What are we saying to our children when we join them like this?
We are saying:
That we love them, even when they do not look at us, even when they do not respond to us.
That we do not need them to change in-order for us to be happy with them.
That we care for them and are interested in what they are interested in.
That we would do anything, even stare at a light switch, or spin in a circle a thousand times just so we can be close to them.
That we respect them and believe that what they want to do has worth and merit.
That we believe in them and trust that they are doing the best that they can to take care of themselves.
We are saying that they can trust us, for we love them exactly for who they are right now in this moment, not for who they will become or what they give to us.
This is what I was saying when I joined my God child Jade Adina Hogan during her Son-Rise Program. I said this for hours and hours and hours, as she scrunched up tiny little pieces of paper into tiny balls and placed them into a tiny china tea pot. As she changed mickey mouse’s diaper again and again and again. This was said to her by her whole Son-Rise Program team every minute she inhabited her own world.
Last night I had dinner with her and her parents, Bryn and William Hogan Son-Rise Program teachers here at The Autism Treatment Center of America. I was greeted by Jade with squeals of delight, lots of kisses and hugs, and chatter about her Christmas and the things she wants to do with me when I see her next time. Ahhhh the fruits of hours and hours of joining her, trusting that loving her in this way mattered.
Have fun trusting your children.