Joining Creates the Bond You May Be Looking for
“When our children on the Autism Spectrum are stimming/isming (doing repetitious, self-stimulating behaviors,) they are showing us that their world is unpredictable and their brain is on overload. They ism as a way to create order in their lives. During these times, they need to go inwards to soothe and calm themselves in this erratic world. When our children ism, they are in a Red Light, which means they are not available to learn new skills in these moments.
“You may have tried to get your child’s attention when they are doing this. Perhaps you have attempted to re-direct your child, or even stop them from doing these behaviors. This can create resistance from our children. An amazing way to deepen your bond with your child is to fully trust that they are doing the best they can. Then to take this knowledge one step further, and actually join in with these behaviors. YES… DO WHAT THEY ARE DOING… WITH THEM!
-“If they are holding a string and flipping it from side to side, grab your own string and flip it in the same rhythm as your child does.
-“If they are running back and forth saying “eeeee” you can run back and forth and say “eeeee” with your child.
-“If your child is Highly Verbal and asks you repetitious, questions or talks about their interests in a rigid and controlling way, this is also an ism. Go ahead and answer their questions with ease and delight.
“The Son-Rise Program technique of joining (when your child is in a Red Light,) gives you a way to be with your child when there are no Green light signals (signs that they are engaging with you.) It helps your child to see that they have a friend, who loves to do what they love to do. It also makes us easy to trust, creates a common bond, and promotes acceptance and inclusion with our children.
“When our children are ready to engage, they will. And when that happens, then you will be… ready and available to respond to and play with your child. So dive in, have fun, and enjoy joining your child’s unique and fascinating world!”
Written by Becky Damgaard, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher