Friday, 24 June 2011

Going into his world...

It does seem to be what my life is about at the moment... Jack and his world. I mean I'm not ignoring or neglecting Liam and Evangeline. But I certainly have this part of me that is very consumed in Jack and his needs at the moment. I think it may be partly to do with how important this time is in his development. How integral it is for us to 'nip things in the bud'. The truth is 'Early Intervention' has proven to be of the utmost importance in the treatment of Autism or any disability for that matter. As soon as that diagnosis is given, there should be no time wasted. While their brains are growing at a very fast rate, it is vital we change the 'pathways' and 'rewire'.
In Jack's case we have to focus on Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy (with Liam it is both of those plus Physio Therapy). At the moment in speech we are focussing on gaining Jack's eye contact and in Occupational Therapy we will be focussing on his sensory needs. Currently we meet with the therapists once a fortnight.
Now we have been lucky enough to know an amazing mum who made a trip to the United States to take part in a special program created by the Autism Treatment Center of America that has helped parents of children with Autism to 'unlock their child's mind'. It is called the Son-Rise Program. Now this is a very intensive form of therapy. Intensive, due to the extreme focus on the individual child, all day, everyday. But what I love about this program is that it is all about connections, about going into the child's world and enjoying it! Then once the child shares their world with you, you slowly pull them into our world. It totally makes sense! And I'm already seeing how it is effective...
One of the brochures my friend came back with from the Autism Treatment Center of America, was how to "Kick-Start Your Son-Rise Program". There were 3 simple techniques: 
  • Spend 30 minutes a day with your child (uninterrupted)
  • 'Join' your child (do exactly what your child is doing and focus on enjoying time in 'their world')
  • Focus on eye contact (place all objects that you are using in the interaction close to your eyes, to create eye contact)
Well funnily enough I had already been somewhat doing these techniques for awhile and yes I had already noticed improvements in Jack. But now is my chance to step it up a notch.
I won't be able to do the intensive program. And I think Jack may do well without the intensive, but I think applying a lot of the principles as much as possible will make a great impact on him. Yet I may have to have a meeting with those in Jack's life, to educate them on how to interact with him. How to 'get into his world'.
My friend, the amazing mum who took a leap of faith and went to the States, is embarking on the actual Son-Rise Program with her beautiful son and in doing so she needs volunteers. I have offered my energetic, effervescent self for 2 hours a week. In those two hours I will be one on one with her son. I am so excited to be apart of the 'unlocking' of this little boy. I am looking forward to seeing this program in action and in doing so I hope to further educate myself on treating Autism. Not only for helping Jack. But through all this I think I have found my calling... I would love to work in Early Intervention therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorder. I finally figured out what I want to do in life!!!! I already 'get' their world. I would be perfect in making that 'bridge' between the 2 worlds.
It just shows.. EVERYTHING is meant to be.

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