Q&A session 5 with the Director of The
Son-Rise Program®, Bryn N. Hogan.
Topic: Conversing With People
Q: Dear Bryn,
I have done a part time program with my four year old
boy for the past two years. He is really verbal now
with beautiful articulation. Much of the time he talks
to himself, and I am wondering how I can help him converse
with people more. He is a big reader, and a lot of the
talking to himself is reading everything and anything.
I hear things like, "Made in the USA," "Nutrition Facts,"
and toy manufacturer names. I have been saying these
things with him, which he sometimes notices, sometimes
not. I am floored on how to build when he does notice.
Thank you in advance for any ideas you may have.
A Son-Rise parent
There are numerous ways to approach this and I will
give you some suggestions, as best I can. I also want
to suggest that you consider calling us and arranging
a consultation with one of our Son-Rise
Program® Family Trainers, as perhaps
we could go even further with you, and also have opportunities
to ask you more about your son etc. If you are interested,
just call our office and they can help to schedule one
Talking to himself....how wonderful that he is talking!
Truly, the first place to start is to be aware of how
special and great it is that he is talking and verbalizing
and that he is able to do so. My first suggestion is
to express that gratitude to him. The more we can let
him know how much we enjoy his talking, the more he
may be motivated to direct his speaking towards us.
If we seem to enjoy it, and we express that - if we
tell him, 'I love how clearly you speak. I love that
you use words to say things. I love the sound of your
voice", this may become a motivation for him to talk
to you more.
There are numerous ways to address this. You could "join"
him (as it sounds like an "ism") in this, not only by
repeating what he says, but also by talking to yourself!
He is talking to himself, this may be his "ism", therefore,
to really join him would be for us to talk to ourselves.
Pick a topic, pick the names of all your home-equipment.
You can walk around and say, "General Electric", "Hewlett
and Packard"...you could say stories out loud that you
have read. This could be a wonderful way to join with
him, to give him the message that he is loved and supported
just as he is, and would encourage him to look at you
more and become more interested in you.
In addition, when he does seem to take notice of you...if
he is saying, "Made in Japan" and then he stops or pauses
and looks at you - first, you could celebrate him giving
you more of his attention by looking at you. Then, use
the opportunity to build. Perhaps you could write down
(before you are next with him) 15 ways you could "build"
on his most favorite statements: i.e. if he says, "Nutritional
Facts" and then looks at you, you could say, "I love
nutritional facts! Let's play a game about them! Here,
take my hand. Let's skip around and say all the names
of foods that we can think of! " (Ok, it's not about
nutritional facts, but we're near the subject as best
we can right?). Or, if he talks about "Made in U.S.A"
I could suggest that we make piles of all the green
things in the room that are made in the U.S.A. and a
pile of all the red things." In effect, I am suggesting
that we do something interactive, in his area of interest.
If you could think about this and brainstorm (perhaps
with others who are involved with him?) you could make
a list of possibilities, and then use them when you
have opportunities in the room.
Most importantly, we have seen, is consistency. So,
if he has anyone in his life, or at school (if he goes
to school) who might tell him to stop talking, or who
tries to stop him, this may give him mixed messages
that make it harder for him to "let you in" to this
activity, so do look around and make sure he has the
most consistent environment possible.
I hope this works well for you - enjoy.
Bryn N. Hogan
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 5
Program® and Down Syndrome
Autism and Expectations