We are staying in a special unit here at the Autism Treatment Center. There is a large bedroom with two beds for Aaron and I, a fully functional kitchen with a stocked fridge, a living room with couches from 1980, a bedroom for Ezra with two beds, a bathroom, and best of all a special playroom for Ezra complete with toys, and observation room. There are no visual distractions anywhere, no generic hotel paintings, or decorative pillows. There are childproof locks on all the doors. This is the way to vacation with an autistic child. Except that we are of course not really on vacation. We are here to work, to be taught, to grow, and to learn how to run an effective Son-Rise program.
Our day started with an orientation meeting. Ezra got to go into the playroom immediately with the trained staff while we gave them a history of Ezra up until today. We talked about challenges we have in the program, and what we want to accomplish this week. We did a bit of option process dialogging, which is a special way of talking about things to determine the beliefs that hold us back in the program, and frankly in our lives. The most important thing about a successful son-rise program is the program administrator, so ME. If I have reservations than the program doesn’t really work. Son-Rise is not just a way to teach your child how to want to interact with others, it is a way of life, a commitment to refrain from judging others, and most importantly from judging yourself. It’s not about choosing to be happy all the time, although with an awareness of your beliefs you’re more likely to feel happiness, it’s about owning what you feel, and not judging yourself for it. So while the staff is going to be working with Ezra our main work will be to unearth our beliefs, work on ourselves, and do an in depth exploration of who we are, what we want and what is holding us back.
In the afternoon we got to go into the playroom with Ezra, while being observed by Susan. She the gave us feedback on our techniques, and then we got to watch 2 hours of Ezra in the playroom with Amanda, while Brandi commentated for us. After that another hour with Ezra in the playroom and we were all done by 6 pm, exhausted, and ready for bed.
I learned today how many more techniques there are to get him to look at us. I’m excited to share that with our volunteers when I get home.