Q&A session 3 with the Director of The
Son-Rise Program®, Bryn N. Hogan.
Topic: Improved Eye Contact
Q: Hello Bryn!
My name is Mikael Tuvesson. My son's name is Johan.
He´s 4 1/2 and autistic.
My wife Ewa and I were at the Start-up in Rotterdam
this January. It was a great experience! We were so
full of the 3 Es when we came home. I started to make
the playroom, made arrangements with my employer to
work part time. Everything was going well. We started
to spend time in the playroom with Johan. We set out
to do 2 hours each and then a break and so on. At first
we were joining "only". Improved eye contact! Great
we were on the right track. But now we seem to stay
in the same spot, It's really difficult to try to engage
Johan to a game. It's only biting, pulling hair and
chewing on his own sweater that seems interesting now.
If we just ignore him, trying to take something down
to play with ourselves, not pushing him, he goes crazy.
He grabs the toy and throws it back up on the shelf.
Another thing is that if I go into the playroom after
Ewa, he doesn't want to stay in anymore. He screams
and tries to reach for the doorlock. I have been in
there for more than 1 hour but he still wants to get
out. I don't feel so good in these moments. I try to
think back on the week in Rotterdam but with every passing
day, the 3 Es seem to fade.
I would be very pleased if you can give me a good thought.
Name: Mikael T.
Child: Johan, 4 1/2
A: Dear Mikael,
Thank you for writing. The program in Rotterdam was
very, very special for all of the staff and I am excited
to hear that you have been able to begin the program
and work with Johan in the playroom. It is natural,
after time, to have new and different questions than
you may have had at the Son-Rise Start-Up Program.
In terms of your question about his throwing objects
and crying etc, In my last Q&A session I replied
to Richard and Branka Novakovic (who took this same
program with you in Rotterdam). Please do read the response.
They ask a question about their daughter crying, and
I gave them many suggestions and areas to explore in
order to help with this. I believe most of what I wrote
to them would directly apply to your situation.
I also think it is important for you to find ways to
continually keep yourself excited and motivated for
this program. Look back to the Manual which you recieved
at the program you attended, read the book "Happiness
Is A Choice", listen to some of the audio
tapes we have available: all of these things will help
you to feel optimistic, upbeat and passionate about
helping your son.
Allow these resources to support you.
In terms of offering games to Johan, be sure to consider:
- Timing: Is he in the middle of an "ism" when you
are offering this toy? Perhaps he is not involved
enough with you in that moment to take an interest.
Be aware of his attentiveness to you before offering
games, it may be harder for him if he is less involved
and easier to participate when he is more involved.
- Persistence: If he pushes a toy away, or says "no"
- I would respond and put it away. Then, I would wait
a few minutes and offer something else, or the same
thing again..I would persist!
- What are you offering? Are the games being offered
related to his natural interests? Perhaps you need
to spend time as a team, discussing what he likes,
his areas of motivation, and creating games and activities
which relate. (For example: If he likes toys made
of sponges: can we introduce letters and numbers cut
from sponge material? If he likes trains, can we create
a fun game where we throw a ball to each other and
I give him a ride on my back like I am a train?) If
you can offer items which include his interest, this
will greatly increase his tendency to participate.
When he wants to go out of the room, I think the most
important factor is how you are feeling. You had written
that you do not feel that good during those moments;
so I would start there. Really focus on knowing that
he is doing the very best that he can. If he could do
it more easily, he would. And you are doing your best
too. Focus on the love you feel for your son and, although
this may sound funny, don't feel that you have to stop
him from going to the door or even crying. You can be
honest with him and explain what time the door will
open. You can explain to him, "honey, even if you cry,
the door isn't going to open until ____". Be aware of
whether or not you might be moving quickly when he acts
this way, or trying to get him away from the door in
such a way that you might be more interesting than when
he isn't at the door. (Again, the list of questions
in the other response would apply to this situation).
You could even go to another part of the room and play
by yourself for a while, and see if he comes over. Tell
him you want to play with him and that you will start
a game, and when he is ready, he can come and join you!
You can also call us for a consultation with one of
our teachers to help you with this further, if that
would be helpful for you and your family. Otherwise,
know that your excitement for the playroom and belief
in it - will truly make a difference for Johan.
Let us know if we can help you further.
With warmest regards,
I hope that as the weeks
progress, I will have ample opportunity to answer all
the questions from everyone who is wanting support.
For me, this is another rare and unique opportunity
to offer our support and guidance to those who want
help. Thank you all for making this exciting exchange
possible through your participation. Please know you
can contact us by telephone to speak to a staff member
if you have more questions. Call us at: (413) 229-2100
Intro to Q&A Session
and Eye Contact
Development Delay and Physical Therapy