With only a couple weeks before Christmas, I am newly home and renewed in ways I never imagined. E & I just returned from our Start-up Program at the Autism Treatment of America Center-- home to the SonRise (R) program. We spent a week there doing intensive training to focus our efforts on this therapy modality we had mentally & physically committed to prior to our departure. What we didn't know is that our year's motto, "2010 Born Again" would come to fruition, during our 7 days there.
This summer is the 3rd time the notion of SonRise (R) had entered our consciousness. I was ready & able to widen my vision to just let go & find out how to get started. At the center of this intention, was our youngest child, then 2.5 years old-- SJ. She has made great progress medically, yet she has been consistently inconsistent in skill acquisition & retention, despite a lot of focused therapy work. Feeling a sense of floundering, I tried to get her into ABA therapy-- "the evidenced based" therapy intervention for autistic individuals. We were placed on a 3-6 month wait-list. In the meantime, a close friend & SJ's developmental therapist agreed to work through ABA with us. We spent several weeks & both were left feeling this method will not engage SJ. She withdrew further into her world. It was then our therapist brought up the thought of SonRise(R). I researched, read, watched video clips & began seeking out others using this program.
We began informally to implement the principles & saw moments of miraculous connection. I was sold. Our therapist found a volunteer & even did a training for us. We started out 6 hours a week, one on one with SJ-- it was AWESOME! She responded more than I knew possible in that very short time & truly is a different kid in her focus room, in which the program is centered around.
SJ started preschool in September & by October I felt we'd really balanced out again to restart. In talking with a couple parents using the program, I began to know I needed to go & experience the formal training. I thought we could do this on our own, but something in my heart knew through our attendance at the training, we'd be realigned in a way beyond our comprehension.
We scrambled to make arrangements & asked for help from our parents to help us with the children, ages 7/5/5/3 (all with Autism), so that we could attend the training together. We had about 3 weeks to scrape together finances, plan & sort out the details to make this happen. It was a lot of stress just getting there with planning, wild winter weather & a feeling of burden that we towed with us to the hilly terrain of Sheffield, Massachusetts.We had no idea what we would leave there with.
Through our experience there, we came to recognize we'd been so focused on recovery for our kids and the tireless efforts that it takes in caring for them, we hadn't paid attention to the coating of emotion & judgment which had encapsulated our hearts. As a couple & partners, we faced for the first time all the raw & unexamined parts of our internal beliefs that have been driving us on our journey in a new non-judgmental light. It has been a freeing process & we were able to soak up so much more in our training on how to reach each of our children right where they are, simply by celebrating & embracing them whole-- autism & all.
2010 Born Again!
Now we are gearing up individual programs for each of them simply based on the goal of connecting with them, being with them & knowing the bridge between our worlds will be reinforced by a love that is pure, without conditions. Never have I been so excited in looking ahead to all the hours, effort & energy I know we will put into helping ourselves help our babies. What a beautiful gift we will give ourselves to truly experience Bella, Roo, S-bear & SJ for every ounce of whom they are right now & each moment forward.
For the first time EVER in 7 years, I know with absolute certainty not only is God present, but He will provide EVERYONE & EVERYTHING we need to live 100% fulfilled lives with our kids-- by only our belief, faith & trust in them leading the way. I'll no longer leave my emotions in Autism's charge; this realization & new belief is more fueling than anything. Now with the old mindset cast off, we know we WILL: find 20+ volunteers to give their time in helping us reach our children, fund-raise for our own family & others as well so they can do the same for themselves through SonRise (R), experience absolute joy & selflessness by embracing the kids individually, & truly learn so much about the capabilities we each have individually & as a family.
It is a very Merry Christmas & even a better New Year!Love & light. - Momma T.