Hello all you amazing Son Rise parents and volunteers,
I hope that you are all finding great joy and ease when joining your wonderful Son Rise child. Here are some points to help inspire you to deepen this joy and ease so that ultimately you can deepen your relationship with your child.
Just a reminder of what your child’s ism is? What we at the Son Rise Program ™ call the ism is what may be more familiar to many of you as the stim. We refer to it as your child’s ism because the ism is very much so part of your child’s aut-ism. When your child is in an ism they are in a repetitious, rigid activity that most often does not include you. Your child is so absorbed in the ism that they are not looking at you, talking with you or really connected to you at all. Are they lining up toys, are they walking around the house scripting a scene from one of their favorite cartoons, are they repeatedly making sounds, starring off, are they drawing the same thing over and over, laying on the floor completely absorbed in a single string, etc.
We at the Son-Rise Program believe the ism or stim is so incredibly useful to your child. There is always a reason your child is doing this behavior and that is often self regulating. Our children are often coping with an over stimulated sensory system. Many of their isms help them regulate their system so that they are able to cope with their external and internal environment. Your child is so smart and really a master of coping with the world.
When your child is exclusive you do what they do. If your child is lining up letters then get your own set of letters and line them up. If your child is flapping their hands over their favorite story book you get your own story book and flap your hands. If your Asperger’s child is incessantly talking about Harry Potter, leaving you no room to say anything, then you listen with delight.
Joining your child is sending a powerful message to your child and giving you valuable information on your child. By joining your child when they are exclusive you are showing your child that you are interested in what they are interested in. This is what friends do, they share similar interests. Your child gets the message that you become a predictable and user friendly person in their world. They get to experience a great sense of control and you are ultimately giving it to them because you are not stopping their peculiar behavior. This makes you an easier person to connect with. You get the benefit of finding out what your child is motivated for so that when you have your child’s willing engagement then you can teach them a skill by using their current motivation. Think about it, your child is choosing to be exclusive from their own expression of their own want. Joining your child can also give you some insight as to what is happening for them internally. For example, I recently worked with a child who was severely constipated and in his ism he would squat, take deep breathes in and out, and would walk on his toes. There are reports that this kind of physical input actually stimulates the digestive system. He was simply trying to help himself in his unique physical behavior.
Embrace this moment with comfort and delight. If you find yourself challenged when joining your child take a deep breather and remember you are sending a message to your child that you love and accept them and trust that they are taking good care of themselves. You are in their world saying “Hello, I am here for you loving you for who you are in this moment.”
Don’t join too closely so that your child really has an understanding that they have space and control. Make sure to be at least 3 to 4 feet away when joining your cutie.
Position yourself so that it so easy for your child to see you and for you to see if they look at you. If your child is looking down at a book then try lying down when looking at your book.
Sometimes children will take your ism toys away and want them for their own ism. This is so cute.
Easily hand over you toy or object so they are getting the control they need. Simply find something similar to join with and if you are left with nothing then join them using your pretend toys or object.
I invite you all to post questions about your child’s ism and how to join it. Enjoy loving your children in this unique way. We are all cheering you on here at The Autism Treatment Center of America!
With supportive and fun thoughts,
Son Rise Program Instructor