Welcome to the message board Rachel! My name is Susan and I am a Son Rise Teacher in training who has been working with The Son Rise Program ™ the Option Institute for 5 years. My journey with the Son Rise Program started 15 years ago after I attended the Start Up. We are here to help you and we celebrate you for asking this question so you can really help your sweet son.
For some children initially it may be challenging to be in the playroom because they have not made a connection to it or don’t yet have an understanding of how wonderful the room is going to be. For some children it is a challenge to be in the same room with another person when they are the focus. All it means is that we have to adjust some things so that he really understands that this is his special room where he can be who he is and be loved, accepted and given tons of control!
First consider what your intention is when working with your son in his new wonderful playroom. Certainly you have the intention of wanting to help your son have deeper social connections. Consider all the things that you learned about the Son Rise program that you gravitate to. Take a moment to understand what your intention is and all the reasons you want to give the room a try for your sweetie. Now that you have thought of the reasons why you have your intention let’s put up connection. Write down all of your reasons and review them before you go in the room again. When we are aware of our intentions and feel good about them we can then have a deeper conviction when inspiring our children to be in the playroom with us! We operate from our beliefs so being aware of your intention will help you present the room to your boy in fun and loving way.
Let’s now consider actions to take. How is you playroom set up? Is it a fun, safe and inviting space? Do you have his favorite toys, books, or objects that he loves playing with you or by himself in an exclusive way? Is there a trampoline or bouncy therapy ball for you to have fun physical games with or for him to be exclusive on? Make sure you have snacks and drink, a change of clothes and a little potty if you are working on potty training. Is your room over stimulating? Is it clutter free with your toys on the shelf? For example, is it too bright with fluorescent lights, is it noisy, are there unnecessary things on the walls posters or patterned wallpaper?
Once you are in the room with your son there are some things to consider. When you are with him are you joining him, are you responding to his sounds or words? Are you celebrating him for all the ways he is socially connecting? Are you giving him control? If he wants to ism are you too close or are you interrupting him? Give him at least 4 feet when joining and really join him. Are you feeling excited and comfortable in the room? Our children are extremely sensitive to others. When we are tight and uncomfortable they can feel that so they may push back in some way. The room is a space for nourishing your son’s desire to connect with you and others. The more user friendly you are by giving control and delighting in all the ways he connects the more he is going to relax into connecting with you.
Remember that your intention of wanting to help your son. Talk to your son about why you are going into the room just as you would speak to your best friend. Be honest. Let him know that everything that he needs is in there, that it is his special room to do what he wants and you are so thrilled to be with him and play with him in the way that he wants. Once you are in there make a commitment to yourself that you are going to go in there for however long you decide, for example, if it is 2 hours than you stay in the room for the full two hours come tears or laughter.
Once you are in the room and the door is locked and you are making the 2 hour commitment. Maybe he cries and goes to the door. Here are some useful techniques if he cries and whines when and is at the door.
When he cries you will calmly explain to him that the door will be locked because you believe this is the best place for him. Let him know even if he cries that the door will not open.
We believe he is using his crying as a form of communication. After your explanation you can say I am not sure what it is that you want when you cry maybe you want something to drink, eat, your favorite ism toy, maybe a pull up change? We want to be slower in the time of his crying because we are teaching him that we do not understand crying and when we hear it we get dumb and slow. If he persists you are still prioritizing your comfort and belief that the room is the most helpful place for him to be with you. After you have offered basic needs and explanations and he is still crying you can let him know that you are there to have fun and it is fine if he wants to cry but you are going to choose to have fun. Then go get a book or bubbles, go to the other side of the room and play on your own. Let him know that when he is ready that he can let you know. Some children respond to this highly effective technique in minutes when they have worked through their storm of tears then they either become exclusive at which case you then join him or they may be interested in you at which case you celebrate and offer something fun.
In addition review our website for additional helpful hints. We definitely recommend that you review the Son Rise blogs on some helpful tips on crying and whining http://blog.autismtreatmentcenter.org/search/label/Crying
In the getting started video you can get a great visual of what a distraction free room or playroom looks like and wonderful ways to give more control when in the room. http://www.autismtreatmentcenter.org/contents/other_sections/autism-solutions.php#3
Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with. Have fun inviting your son into this most wonderful room.
With supportive thoughts,