Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Acupuncture and Jaedon

Just a quick note: Jaedon is going to start acupuncture soon! I have has the good fortune to meet an acupuncture practitioner who is has a son with ASD. She is willing to treat Jaedon, so we did the initial consultation today. She came to my home with her mentor, a very compassionate man who teaches acupuncture, treats many kids with autism and who also has a son with ASD. I cannot describe how much I appreciated that home visit, since taking Jay out has become very time consuming and difficult. A 30 minute appointment can take up more than 3 hours of life. I'm looking forward to starting and seeing how it goes. I'm really hoping to help him relax so that he can spend more time just playing. So much learning happens with 'just playing'.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Gift of Joining

I went into the playroom today! Yeah! Today is the first offical day of Jay's program for 2009. We took a break from his birthday until yesterday, about 7 weeks. It was wonderful for me to spend time exploring my thoughts, not needing to train anyone, to give any feedback or anything. I recharged over these past few weeks, and now I have my attitude in place, my 3 E's on my belt, a new list of potential volunteers going through and I'm ready to go.

I was training a new person today, and went into the playroom half hour before her scheduled arrival, since I hadn't been in for a few months! Jaedon and I had a great time playing with lotion. I would say he was moderately interactive, perhaps a 6, on a scale of 1-10. He worked on saying the word 'lotion', approximating it as 'who-shah'. The 'L' sound is challenging. I should reseach some tips on helping him with that. Anyway, I worked on NOT being on an agenda with him, just joining when he was being repetative, being user friendly and helpful, and challenging him to say 'lotion' as often as he would allow. In that moment, it was just me and Jaedon, him doing whatever he wanted, me loving him. What a gift it is, to be with someone that way! No judgements, no agenda, just wanting to be there with him. It felt great, a wonderful loving thing to do.

So many volunteers in our program have struggled with joining. They may feel like it's a waste of time, or wonder if they will miss an opportuntiy to interact. Today, I found myself explaining it as 'being in the rhythm of someone's life'. Jaedon has a flow and music all his own. When I join, it's like I get into that flow too, and we are like 2 bouys bobbing in the same wave of the sea, 2 migrating birds in flight. The goal of joining is to build rapport. What better way to do that than to completely be available to just ... be? In this comfortable place, with a beautiful connection being built, I will know the right time for interaction. Yes, I know the signs to look for because of trainings and consultations, but I don't mean that. I mean, I will know because it will just come to me, like a poem comes to a poet, like the solution to a problem comes in an "Aha" moment to a mathematition, like the location of a bug used to come to me when fixing computer programs (in a former life). I can trust that this knowing will come, so I can just let go and join.

As I connect with Jaedon this way, I get a deep sense of what it must be like to give this gift to others in my life. I think I'll add that to my list of new year's resolutions. You should try it too.