Q&A session 6 with the Director of The
Son-Rise Program®, Bryn N. Hogan.
Topic: Autism and the Effects
Q: Hi Bryn!
Thanks so much for doing this - it is invaluable!!!
My question concerns the effect of a Son-Rise
Program® on siblings, something you
must be very aware of, being Raun's sister as a child,
running a Son-Rise Program in your home for one of your
children, and having so many years of experience working
with various families. As you know, we have been running
a program for Benjamin, autistic, 5 years old, for 2+
I have made special time with my daughter, Rachel, who
is 9 - we go to workshops at the museum and to plays
and dances, etc., probably about once or twice a month.
I am feeling pretty good about our relationship, but
I'm also aware that she at times slips through the cracks
- she doesn't get the attention she should, we expect
more out of her than she's capable of, and her needs
get put on the back burner while Benjamin's needs are
so front and foremost.
Do you remember how you felt about Raun getting so much
attention when you were a child? Is there anything you
do with your son that you'd like to share with us? Do
you have any other insight into this area?
One of the things we told Rachel when we started this
program was how much we wanted to take her to The Option
Institute - we were looking forward to attending the
pre-teen program you had at the time. Will you ever
be bringing that program back? I'm sure many of us would
be interested in going when the demands of our Son-Rise
programs are less.
Thanks for sharing Bryn.
My love to you and your family
A: Dear Kelly,
Hello! I was excited to see your name and have a question
from you. I would also love, when you have time, to
hear more details about your program with Benjamin -
how is he doing? how are you feeling about it etc.
You ask a question which I am sure others share. In
terms of my own personal experience, I can only say,
truly, that it was positive. And if I did not have this
personal experience, if it was in any way unpleasant
for me, I would never then endeavor to create a circumstance,
as I have, in which my son would experience the same
thing. I always thought it was a fantastic and fun experience!
I loved having young people come into our home - I loved
the group meetings and being able to be the special
"helper" on these occasions. I loved when my father
would rotate taking my sister and I out for our "special"
time with him. Actually, let me highlight this a moment.
My father would take my sister and I out - every other
thursday afternoon, so, in effect, I got my turns two
times per month for an afternoon. You could perhaps
think, "Well, that's not that much"...and yet, these
afternoons were the highlight of my childhood. I spent
more time, focused, with my father than any of my friends
did. And the beauty of it was, that he and my mother
made it special too. They would highlight this occasion
and make a big event out of it, talking about it days
in advance and giving me the feeling that this was a
very special, wonderful, unique opportunity for me.
We tend to do this with Christmas, or Birthdays' - we
(the adults) begin to talk about them in advance and
we are excited and we help to teach our children to
become excited about and value these occasions as well,
I feel that is what they did for me. And, that is what
you can do for Rachel. You can make the things that
you listed that you do with her "events" vs. just a
"given" part of her week. You can talk about how you
look forward to them, you can giggle and get excited
about it - you can call it our "special" time - you
can build it up and make it bigger and even more wonderful
to her...and to you! This will be excellent for both
of you, truly.
When you talk about her "falling through the cracks"...I
am not sure what you mean. It sounds as though you are
feeling that she is not receiving adequate attention
from you. There are a few ways to deal with this. First,
and most importantly, is attitude! (surprised I said
that eh? tee-hee) If you are feeling guilty, or you
are feeling that she is not getting enough, then you
will teach her to see it the same way. My baby-sitter
comes from a family of 8 children - 8 children in 8
years. Her mother did not have help in the home, her
mother raised all of these children, plus 12 in her
home as a childcare provider. She never played scrabble
with them, she never sat for long periods individually
with each child sharing about their day, speaking with
them about their dreams. Yet, when I talk to my baby-sitter,
she only speaks so highly and full of love towards her
mother. She never talks about being cheated or unlucky...and
given the circumstances above, I imagine she received
much less individualized attention than Rachel does.
So, why does she feel this way? In part I think because
her mother felt good about what she was doing. Her mother
highlighted for her how wonderful it was that they were
all sitting together at snack time. Can you see? We
can teach Rachel, by our own perspective, that which
we give meaning to, she will give meaning to. That which
we see as extraordinary (taking her to places one or
two times per month) she will see as extraordinary as
well. You are so powerful, so capable, and such a strong
influence in her life - you have all you require to
teach her to feel cared for and special. It all starts
with you and your perspective. I am confident, with
all that I know of you and your "powerful way" that
you can create a new relationship and experience with
Rachel. And it can be easy and fun! Have a good time
with this new perspective - and let me know how it goes.
With warmest wishes to you,
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
Syndrome and Milk
The Son-Rise Program®
in the Classroom
Autism and the Effects
and Communication Challenges