25 April 2012

Life is good. I'm drinking the Son-Rise Kool-Aid.

Day 3
Another big day. This place is truly life-changing. Honestly, well and truly. Changing my perspective on my kids by changing my beliefs is really amazing. Crackle can grow and learn and has limitless potential. I've always believed it of the other two, but now I believe it of him too. The problem was never that he couldn't do it. The problem was that I couldn't envision how I could help him do it. If I can't even begin to believe that I can teach him, how can he ever learn? And ABA doesn't work because it teaches him to do something in a rote fashion so that he can do it if requested, but it doesn't even dream to teach him to be socially well-adjusted. That's just "not possible", they say. HA. After what I've seen? No way. I do not accept this.

Wait and see. I'll post updates.

So we talked about how to inspire growth in them. Celebrating "green lights". Green lights are what kids give us when they engage, make eye contact, make physical contact, make verbal contact. When they do this, we celebrate them, and then respond. We can respond by building on the "ism" (the son-rise word for stim - don't ask me, I don't know). So suppose he's stacking socks and I'm stacking with him. He makes eye contact and is engaged. I could build on it by adding sound effects. If he likes that and wants me to do more, I can make a game out of it where we do it together. I can keep doing this until he's done. Then we go back to the isms. Repeat.

Initiating is developing his motivation for me and what I'm doing by presenting something new to him. So supposing he's been wandering and then he comes over and sits on my lap. I can initiate any game I want to work on some goal. So maybe my goal is to get him to say "ball". I could grab a ball and start tossing it and boucing it and being super silly and goofy with it. The more energetic and enthusiastic the better.

Requesting is kind of self-explanatory. I'm requesting something of him. But only when he's super motivated. So he's enjoying the bouncing game and he wants more. Then I can say, "Say BALL!" and then pause for a while and give him time to try. I can make encouraging faces and smile, but don't say anything for a bit.  Ask again. Pause again. Celebrate ANY attempt. If he shuts down, then we do the isming again.

In and out of social interaction. It's all good.

You know, before I do more details, I want to say what I like best about this. It is *so* respectful of the child. There's no telling him to be quiet, sit down, shut up, do this, do that. No physically manipulating him. It's gentle and it's love-based. It's fun and exciting. I'm still not sure where I'm going to find the physical energy. But I will somehow. :)

We also learned about the developmental model. I have to review my notes on it tonight, but I have a few details to share. The four core areas of the social skills we're working on in autistic children are eye contact and non-verbal communication, verbal communication, interactive attention span and flexibility. There are several stages to each, and a child can be at different parts of each

You can never be diminished by trying and not succeeding. You can only be diminished by not trying. Want things for your child. Want things for yourself. And then TRY to make it happen.

I am so sure this is the right program for Crackle I'm coming back for more in November. It's magnificent. I have never felt more sure of anything in my life. Truly.

Tomorrow I have a consultation with a teacher and Friday I have a meeting with a counselor. Because *I* need to be okay to do this. I need to be sure of me and sure of myself. My doubts will only get in the way of what I can do for the kids. Think of all the success through adversity stories you ever heard. In even one single one did the person say, "I was sure I couldn't do it"? Or are they, "Everyone said I couldn't, and at times, I had doubts, but I knew I could do it and so I made it happen." Yeah. That's what I thought.

I know I'm going on at length and basically none of you are here for this. I promise to get back to feminism, socialism, and christianity at some point. I'd have liked to have done a big post on M312, but they scheduled it for the wrong week. And anyway, you all know how I feel.

Thank you again for helping me on this amazing journey. G'night comrades.

p.s. Annoying people are still annoying me. I've decided their kids get their autism from them, and that I need to accept them and celebrate when they do what I want. :D