Joining Creates the Bond You May Be Looking for With Your Child

from the Autism Treatment Center of America 

“When your child on the Autism Spectrum is stimming (doing repetitious, self-stimulating behaviors), it signals that their world feels unpredictable, and their brain is overloaded. Your child stims to create order in their world during these moments. When your children stims, they are also in a Red Light, which means they are not available to learn new skills right now. 

“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 your child. A fantastic way to deepen your bond with your child is to trust that they are doing the best they can. Then take this idea one step further and Join In with these behaviors.  


 “This means: 

  • “If they are holding a string and shaking it from side to side, grab your own string and flip it in the same rhythm as your child. 
  • “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 a stim. Go ahead and answer their questions with ease and delight, as a way to Join your child.   

“The Son-Rise Program technique of Joining (when your child is in a Red Light) gives you a powerful way to Bond 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 people seem easier to trust, creates a common bond, and promotes acceptance and inclusion with your child. 

“When your child is ready to engage, they will show you. And when that happens, you will be prepared 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!”

Becky Damgaard, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher

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