Friday, August 17, 2012

The true value of our attitude

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~Winston Churchill

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

From the Son-Rise website- RDI Values attitude, but does not make it central to every aspect of program implementation..
True or False?

From the Son-Rise Manual- Be loving and accepting- The attitude of love and acceptance is the foundation upon which all interactions and programs are built.

Kathy, I am fairly certain that you would agree that an attitude of love and acceptance would likely be viewed by the consensus of parents to be a part of being a parent- and yes, love is a foundation of the interactions a parent and child have and strive to have. The love is there intuitively and wholly. Acceptance may ‘feel’ difficult at times, as when the word autism comes into play, life can feel so scary. Acceptance may not be the first thing that comes to mind. How can I accept what I am afraid of? How can I accept what I don’t understand? How can I accept not know how this ‘label’ will affect my child and my family? These thoughts and feelings can lead to internal chaos. Striving only for acceptance is not going to change the genuine inquiries and realities of what this disorder is, what it will mean for you and your family and how to effectively treat it. Love and acceptance-while healthy and good, are not impactful on the process of typical cognitive development itself. Are these things that you have thought and felt along the journey with your children?

So the question is, where do the qualities of love and acceptance fit healthfully and genuinely into the process of learning about and treating autism? Love your child. Love and accept that learning about autism and learning about your child is going to be a process- a process worth appreciating and deliberately seeking. One cannot effectively treat what they aren’t able to clearly identify. Strive to understand your child as a person. Learn about autism in terms of its core. Learn not only about the symptoms that you are seeing, but about the root of where those symptoms are coming from. Learn about typical development. Learn to separate what is ‘autism’ vs. what is my child being a child- being him or herself as a person with a personality? Evaluate programs that address these root issues-choose programs that define and treat autism accurately based on its roots, not on observable behavior alone.

Kim I so remember years ago when I was beginning this journey of remediation, I read many books on development so I could understand that process. I think very intuitively, we as parents have an extraordinary ability to love and accept, and that intuitive process is very natural. Acceptance really gets put to the test when Autism enters the picture. We love our kids, and we accept our kids....but accepting Autism is more of a struggle. That lack of feedback we receive, cuts us to core. This is ok, because we can accept Autism, but as parents, we can also feel empowered that through acceptance comes a clear vision on how to accept, yet provide vast opportunity for our kids to overcome any obstacles that Autism presents them with. Addressing these obstacles doe not mean there is lack of acceptance. Our kids need our help, our guidance. They depend on our wisdom. In typical development, children younger then 12 months of age borrow our perspective. For this reason it is ok to accept where our children are, and at the same time, know how to effectively help them overcome any obstacle from Autism.

So it appears that we both agree that love and acceptance are healthy and good which of course makes Attitude central to our interactions and relationships. For this reason, it is more accurate to say that RDi values Attitude, in every aspect of program implementation, while understanding the many other factors that Autism presents. Without that understanding, a parent could think that their child is not responding solely on the basis of their Attitude not being good enough. I can tell you I had some really bad days with my acceptance, my attitude was poor some of the time...They were far and few between, but even in my very raw human state, progress was being made because I was addressing their core deficits , I knew my child and I knew that for those times I was scared, my boys were even more scared...because life was scary for them! In many ways, we became competent they became more resilient to my guidance, I became more confident in what I was doing for and with them It was an incredible experience.

Kathy, you inspire me greatly. You have embraced the process described above and have come so far. I am looking forward to learning more about your journey...

Thanks Kim! ANd what a process is was. Sometimes I went kicking and screaming and sometimes I had to just slow down and wait, let me change that...what a process IT IS! Ongoing for sure...and of course bringing my kids through remediation, was the realistic attitude through the mountaintop experiences, and the valleys. Central in all was attitude..and so much more!

From the Son-Rise website- RDI Values attitude, but does not make it central to every aspect of program implementation.. 
 The answer is   FALSE

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