23 April 2012

Day 3

I know, I missed Day 1 and 2. I'll catch you up later. Short version: Seaplanes are the best way to fly short distances. Newark sucks. United sucks worse. I am not meant to drive on Interstates.

Day 3. Or Day 1 of Son-Rise
This morning we had a presentation by Brynn about the basic principles of the Son-Rise program. There was so much information I can't even begin to process it yet. I will literally have to go through my notes to even begin to disseminate it. And I'm too tired right now. She's very enthusiastic. :) A few things stuck with me:
-When teaching a child with autism, we are selling social interaction to them. We need to make social interaction fun, exciting and better than what they're doing.  I like that.

-Hope means "I will try". There is no such thing as false hope. You can hope for anything. Whether it is realistic or not is irrelevant. You can hope. All hope means is that I will try to make it happen.

-Don't try to force a child to interact with you. Just as you wouldn't get in anyone else's face, don't get in theirs. You can be enthusiastic, fun, goofy and silly, without being obnoxious. Respect the child. The child is not less of a child because of autism, deserving of less consideration for their feelings, boundaries, etc. Would you like it if someone forced you to look at them when you didn't want to? No. So don't do that. Make them want to look at you.

-Social interaction is the goal. All the rest is gravy. Who cares if he can do math if he can't interact with people? Who cares if he can write the letters of the alphabet if he can't have a friend?

William, Brynn's husband, another teacher here, gave the afternoon talk. He was also chalk full of information. Lots of talk about enthusiasm and energy and why that matters so much.

I am really excited about trying this stuff at home with the kids. I'm so sure it's going to help. I just know it. You know when you hear something that is just right? It's that. Honestly, this was worth every cent and every ounce of energy. And if it works even half as well as I expect, I'm coming back for more (prepare for another ChipIn campaign! I underestimated cost a bit... Oops!)

After those sessions, someone talked to us about the Option Dialogue process which is self-help stuff. Stuff I'd have called utter namby-pamby bullshit a month or two ago. But it's interesting. It's about looking at why we're unhappy, angry, upset, etc. in certain situations, and what we can do to change it. So, "WHY?" Why am I mad when someone is staring at me in the grocery store because my boy is screaming? Why? Because I want them to see that he's not being bad. Why is that important? Because their perception matters? Does it? Why? Because ... I don't know. I must know. Why does it matter? Because it bothers me that they think I'm raising a bad child. Why? etc. It gets me to the core belief that's causing the unhappiness. And apparently that can change. I say apparently because at this point, I'm skeptical. But I promised to suspend disbelief for the week. LOL. Anything is possible, right? Right. Plausible? I dunno. We'll see. But I'm keeping an open mind.

After that, we had a break, I called the kids. This place is in the middle of freakin' nowhere, and the cell service is nil. Well, apparently AT&T works, but I have t-Mobile. Grr. And the wifi isn't the best. I can get text through, and sometimes voice, but not video. There's no time anyway.

I am finding a few things difficult. 1) I hate having a roommate. Even one as nice as mine. She snores. I may ask for a new room. Because I won't sleep through this. It will probably hurt her feelings, but if I don't sleep, I don't learn, and that would be a waste of my time and money. I shouldn't sell myself short for someone else's feelings. 2) There's no food I can eat. The cook told me they should have warned me. I told her I'd told them and they told me there were plenty of gf options and of course the cook would be sure there was no contamination, blah de blah de blah. She shook her head and showed me a fridge. But I have no time to drive into town to get food. So I'm doing apples and bananas and hard boiled eggs. 3) Three hour time change. I shouldn't bitch. There are people here from New Zealand, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Britain... yeah. But their situation doesn't change mine, so bitch bitch bitch. 4) Other autism parents. Jeezuz. One can see where some of the kids get it from. (I'm sure people say this of me too, and they're probably right). One told another not to feed her son soy because it would make him gay. UMMM. So many problems with that. First, it's bullshit. Yes, there are phytoestrogens and it can, if eaten in massive amounts, affect hormone levels. It will NOT make him gay. Second, what's wrong with gay? (In this woman's case, plenty, because in her country gay will get you killed. So despite the fact that it's bullshit, she's not going to risk it. GAH). Some are massive know-it-alls. Some are angry as all hell. Some are happy to talk at me for as long as I'll let them, but have no interest in hearing anything I have to say. And not a single one of them has been able to talk about anything other than their children. *sigh*

After "supper" (2 boiled eggs, a banana and an orange) we watched the Son-Rise movie. It was a cheesy, made-for-tv, 80s movie. The story was lovely, but I'd already read the book.

So now I'm going to bed and I'm going to try to sleep through the snoring. We'll see. If it's a big problem, then yeah, I'm going to go talk to them in the morning. I'll warn my dear roommate so it's not sprung on her. I am NOT looking forward to that conversation.

Goodnight, Comrades.