Q&A session 4 with the Director of The
Son-Rise Program®, Bryn N. Hogan.
Topic: Autism and Kindergarten
Q: Hello Bryn!!!
Because Paul is doing so well, we decided to start him
in Kindergarten on a part-time basis: one hour, three
times a week. To even be saying those words is so incredible!
The teacher is fantasic...VERY loving and caring, really
into the kids, and has the best behaved kids in the
school. She says he is ready to come longer. What can
I look for, when I observe him in the class, to know
he is indeed ready? When I pick Paul up after school,
he is totally connected and motivated. When I talk to
the teacher about how the hour went, Paul will go up
to other kids in the hallway (that he doesn't even know)
and talk to them about the work they are doing or his
loose tooth. We are doing 45-50 hours a week in the
playroom with Paul and would continue to do so.
Paul has moved so quickly this past 8 months. I must
say, so have I. Probably no coincidence, huh? Everyday
there is growth. I love waking up in the morning to
see "what presents are under the tree"!!!
Lots of love,
A: Dear Lisa,
This was so exciting, and inspiring for me to read.
I know very well how far you both have come in such
a very short time. I want to celebrate you: You have
explored yourself; you have dared to look at your "less
than shiny" parts and have embraced them, you have grown,
blossomed and changed yourself so that you could best
help Paul - and what a "Force of Nature™" you
have become! I celebrate you and all you have done!
What to look for at Kindergarten? (How special, wonderful
and amazing that we are even having this discussion!)
- When the teacher asks all the children to come to
an area of the classroom, or sit in a circle, does
she have to call him more often? Is he slow to come,
or does he come right away? Does he seem to be listening
to the instructions and following them, or does he
watch what the other children do, (possibly not listening
to the words of the teacher) and then follow the children?
If, for example, you find he is slow to follow instructions,
then I would spend time in the program at home playing
games and doing exercises to help him with this skill,
so he can "practice" (i.e. Paul, we're going to play
this great game! You pick a card, and read the instruction
- and I have to follow them within 10 seconds! If
I do, I get five points! Ok, now your turn, I'll read
instructions and YOU follow them....etc) In this way,
making it fun, but also really working on this as
a skill for him to have for school.
- Verbally how is he? Does he talk more or less than
when at home? Is he louder than the other children,
or is he using a "natural" voice - again, use your
observation to work on these at home.
- Does he raise his hand and try to participate, or
does he always have to be asked?
- If they have unstructured, or "free-play" - how
does he do? For example, we noticed with our daughter,
Jade, if there is "free play" at her play group, she
will go where the other children are, take a baby
like the other children do - and then stand and watch
them play, vs. participate, or ask to participate
- so we work on this at home. See how Paul does -
can he initiate play with others, or not? If not,
help him learn what games he can suggest and how?
Does he answer children when they talk to him? Watch
his social interaction in general and see what you
- How is his attention span? Does he leave group activities,
or can he stay and be a part of it until it is finished?
Does he rush activities - i.e. Is his "pacing" faster,
or slower than other children in the group?
- Taking a turn - when he is "called on", does he
respond or ignore the request? Does he seem to have
trouble with this in any way? If so, how?
- Physically: is he okay being touched by other children?
Touching them? Is he too rough? Is he tentative?
Whatever area you find he needs help with, again, create
circumstances at home to work these out - and explain
to him the benefits of having these skills: "Paul, if
you can take turns, like all the other "big boys" at
school, then the other children will probably find it
really fun to play with you more" etc. Be honest and
direct with him and let him know, "If you don't answer
a question, the person might think you don't want to
play with them". Help him to learn how to be with other
children and also, how he could act that would make
him most attractive to others. Oh Lisa! This is so exciting!
Please do let me know how it goes, this is a very, very
exciting time - have fun with it!
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 Psychological Testing