Autism and Kindergarten

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Q&A Session 4 with the Director of The Son-Rise Program

Topic: Autism and Kindergarten

Q: Hello Bryn!!!
Because Paul is doing so well, we decided to start him in Kindergarten on a part-time basis: one hour, three times a week. To even be saying those words is so incredible! The teacher is fantasic…VERY loving and caring, really into the kids, and has the best behaved kids in the school. She says he is ready to come longer. What can I look for, when I observe him in the class, to know he is indeed ready? When I pick Paul up after school, he is totally connected and motivated. When I talk to the teacher about how the hour went, Paul will go up to other kids in the hallway (that he doesn’t even know) and talk to them about the work they are doing or his loose tooth. We are doing 45-50 hours a week in the playroom with Paul and would continue to do so.

Paul has moved so quickly this past 8 months. I must say, so have I. Probably no coincidence, huh? Everyday there is growth. I love waking up in the morning to see “what presents are under the tree”!!!

Lots of love,
Lisa S.

A: Dear Lisa,
This was so exciting, and inspiring for me to read. I know very well how far you both have come in such a very short time. I want to celebrate you: You have explored yourself; you have dared to look at your “less than shiny” parts and have embraced them, you have grown, blossomed and changed yourself so that you could best help Paul – and what a “Force of Nature” you have become! I celebrate you and all you have done!

What to look for at Kindergarten? (How special, wonderful and amazing that we are even having this discussion!)

When the teacher asks all the children to come to an area of the classroom, or sit in a circle, does she have to call him more often? Is he slow to come, or does he come right away? Does he seem to be listening to the instructions and following them, or does he watch what the other children do, (possibly not listening to the words of the teacher) and then follow the children? If, for example, you find he is slow to follow instructions, then I would spend time in the program at home playing games and doing exercises to help him with this skill, so he can “practice” (i.e. Paul, we’re going to play this great game! You pick a card, and read the instruction – and I have to follow them within 10 seconds! If I do, I get five points! Ok, now your turn, I’ll read instructions and YOU follow them….etc) In this way, making it fun, but also really working on this as a skill for him to have for school.

Verbally how is he? Does he talk more or less than when at home? Is he louder than the other children, or is he using a “natural” voice – again, use your observation to work on these at home.

Does he raise his hand and try to participate, or does he always have to be asked?

If they have unstructured, or “free-play” – how does he do? For example, we noticed with our daughter, Jade, if there is “free play” at her play group, she will go where the other children are, take a baby like the other children do – and then stand and watch them play, vs. participate, or ask to participate – so we work on this at home. See how Paul does – can he initiate play with others, or not? If not, help him learn what games he can suggest and how? Does he answer children when they talk to him? Watch his social interaction in general and see what you can note.

How is his attention span? Does he leave group activities, or can he stay and be a part of it until it is finished? Does he rush activities – i.e. Is his “pacing” faster, or slower than other children in the group?

Taking a turn – when he is “called on”, does he respond or ignore the request? Does he seem to have trouble with this in any way? If so, how?

Physically: is he okay being touched by other children? Touching them? Is he too rough? Is he tentative?

Whatever area you find he needs help with, again, create circumstances at home to work these out – and explain to him the benefits of having these skills: “Paul, if you can take turns, like all the other “big boys” at school, then the other children will probably find it really fun to play with you more” etc. Be honest and direct with him and let him know, “If you don’t answer a question, the person might think you don’t want to play with them”. Help him to learn how to be with other children and also, how he could act that would make him most attractive to others. Oh Lisa! This is so exciting! Please do let me know how it goes, this is a very, very exciting time – have fun with it!

With love,
Bryn

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Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid

 

Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,

Jackline

 

Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar

 

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