Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Night time. The best time. For connections...

The most important thing to start focussing on with a child who is Autistic is connections. Getting that eye contact. Building a strong relationship. Showing them they need other people, not as objects or tools, but as fellow humans, who they can share enjoyment and experiences with.
With Jack we are developing this sense within him through a loving and caring approach. Yes we still give him boundaries, discipline and consequences. But we join him in 'his world', sharing with him what he finds joyful and exciting. And yes, that does include spinning objects, spinning himself, lots of jumping, hand flapping and so forth.. Just imagine a grown woman jumping up and down, repeatedly saying "aaah aaah aaah" a million times, spinning around, and 'upping the enthusiasm' 200%.. and then some.
Over the last 6 months I have discovered that at night time, during the bedtime routine, Jack is most open to letting me come into his world and then letting me pull him a little into 'our world'. Each night for about 40 minutes to an hour I have spent an intense one on one session with Master Jack. No distractions. No toys. Just mum, Jack and a book. Each night we have connected a little more. The eye contact is amazing. The smiles, that aren't just random, show we are having a shared experience of joy and giggles.
I was quite surprised that the evening was the best time for my toddler. I mean most kids have had enough by beddibyes and can be quite tired, exhausted and end up being stroppy. But not my Jack. He seems to have a second wind. And now I know this is the best time to 'catch him' I have made sure that I have a good uninterrupted block of an hour so we can make the most of his enthusiasm for 'meeting me half way'.
It certainly has paid off! For a child who had no concept of 'pointing' (a huge red flag when diagnosing Autism), Jack has these past two nights pointed to several objects/things. And the even bigger news is that he was saying what he was pointing at!! I have been on cloud nine for the past 24 hours!!!  I know for most parents this isn't really an achievement to crack out the champers for... but for me and many other parents of children with additional needs this is a cause for party poppers, party hats and cocktails fairy bread !
My night times are where I meet my little man on the 'bridge' between our 2 worlds. And on that bridge magic happens.

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