Hi to all SonRise parents everywhere!
My name is Patricia Logan and I have been running my SonRise programme for my son Oscar for the last five and half years. When Oscar was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of two, I didn't know what to do, who to turn to for help, or how I would ever cope with Oscar and all his aggressive behaviours, isms and many other autistic traits, including no speech and rocking all day long. By complete luck I saw Raun Kaufman on a tv show and, completely blown away by the remarkable story of his recovery from autism, I immediately phoned the autism treatment centre of america and signed up to the startup programme in UK in January 2005. This five day course was to change my life profoundly. After the starup programme I not only knew this was how I wanted to help Oscar, I had the most important tool of all - HOPE.
Seven months later I returned to England to attend maximum impact - wow! I now not only had the knowledge of how to help Oscar, I also had the ATTITUDE! SonRise taught me to just have fun with Oscar, join him in his world, let go of any judgements or feelings of frustration when he ismed, and to be in the present instead of worrying about what Oscar may or may not be able to do. Now, I know you have all heard this stuff before and this is why I am writing to encourage you all, whereever you and your child are on your programme. As I mentioned before, I have been sonrising Oscar for over five years. He is doing AMAZING - more on that later. I was so excited to get my programme up and running, to find volunteers, to go in the room and get Oscar better just the way Bears and Samahria had done years before with Raun! well! as you will know, finding volunteers isn't always easy - some stay, some go, some don't understand the importance of joining etc;. I think it's 35 people who have worked for varying lengths of time on our programme. There were days on my programme that I had no helpers, days that I was so, so tired from the intensity of joining Oscar with his isms, which included running up and down for 30min intervals, rocking on the floor for hours, reading him the same story with enery and excitment for the 13th time in a row, playing dinosaurs for hours and hours every day for months and years! boy, Oscar was making progress in all areas but some days I just worried that maybe he would always be autistic, maybe he would never play with anything other than dinosaurs, maybe he would always have to talk about dinosaurs and not ever be interested in me or his dad or sister, maybe he would only ever eat 4 foods, maybe he would end up in a special home if he kept biting people - maybe, maybe, maybe. Have you done this? My wonderful SonRise teacher Gerd kept me sane with my telephone consultations throughout the past five years. I was taught to love and accept Oscar and to be with him in that moment, to stop judging anything he did as good or bad and to "enjoy what is" in the room. Do you know that when you can sincerely do this, you have sooo much fun! Because you don't feel you have to go into the room to get your child to do something you feel they should do, it takes the pressure completely away! There should be no feeling of being under pressure in the playroom! Your child will know if you are chilled and really accepting them and having a great time. They will also know when you are pretending to be o.k with their ism or "TRAIN", "DINOSAUR", "DR WHO" game. In the last five years, I have cried, laughed, worried but most of all my hope for Oscar has kept my programme alive. Oscar has become the most amazing kid! He is starting school (mainstream) in September. He is the most incredible chatterbox, he talks to us about the most incredible subjects, he is interested in everything. The dinosaurs are hardly ever played with now. He loves to be with other kids, adores funfairs and the cinema, has birthday parties at those huge indoor kids' clubs, and adores the Christmas pantomime. We had our first family holiday to London in May this year. He loved the airport and plane, was fascinated by the underground tubes, and even visited his dream place - the natural history museum. We are so excited by Gerd's recent outreach that we just know that Oscar can go the whole way! it's now up to him.
Nothing is impossible when you have hope. Just go for what you want with your child, believe in them and please remember to celebrate yourself as well.
Lots of love to you all.