As many of you know, April is Autism Awareness Month and Autism Awareness day (April 2nd), was just yesterday. This, in conjunction with latest statistics from the CDC stating that 1 in 88 children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum (as opposed to 1 in 110)- has created quite a buzz in the world and the autism community specifically. Much energy is being poured into the very important places of cause and treatment. This is crucial in unraveling the mystery of autism and putting an end to this rapidly spreading epidemic.
But I want to focus on something else.
Often we are focused on what goal to prioritze with your child next and how to achieve that goal, whether it be toilet training, language development, eye contact, etc. Although it is very important to focus on how to help turn your child’s potential into reality and defy all limiting beliefs about what is possible for your child, I want to use this time to celebrate and honor who your child is TODAY and not who he or she may BECOME. In my opinion, this is the crux of the Son-Rise Program; to simultaneously go for the gold with your child with relentless passion and persistence based on the belief that the sky is the limit for your child (because it truly is) while simultaneously loving and accepting who your child is right now and the gift he has brought to your life. Let’s use this time to celebrate the gift of your child and your relationship. Here is an exercise to help you do this:
An exercise in celebrating your child for who he is today (versus who he may become one day…)
If you are currently running a Son-Rise Program and have team meetings, you can use your next team meeting to focus on celebrating your child as follows. If not, do the below exercise with your partner or friend.
1. Write a letter to your child. Ask everyone to take 10 minutes to write a letter to your child expressing all the gifts your child has given to that person. Ask each person to write a sincere, heartfelt and specific letter.
2. Write a response from your child. After each person has written a letter to your child, ask everyone to write an imagined response from your child expressing what he or she is grateful to you for. Ask each person to imagine what your child might specifically appreciate about his time with that person.
3. Read the letters out loud. Take turns asking everyone to read the letters (both to and from your child) out loud so everyone can share with each other.
4. Encourage each person to share their letter with your child. In their next session, they can bring their letter to your child and read it to him. If your child is verbal you can see how your child responds or what he wants to share. If not, you can say ” I don’t know exactly what you are thinking or feeling, but I want to read to you what I imagine your response might be”. Children often understand way beyond their capacity to communicate.
Let’s use this month as a time to even more deeply focus on the gift that your child gives you being exactly who they are right now (as you continue to do all you can to help turn your child’s potential into reality and see who he or she may become).