I just had an amazing 2 hour Son-Rise therapy session with Ka’eo, Jr. What’s even more incredible is the session started with him crying his heart out when Mommy left the room. When he cried I just loved and accepted him and let him know it was okay to cry and Daddy was right
there when he was ready. He cried for about a minute or so, then he started to play with his marble game.
As I enthusiastically joined him in his marble game, his frown grew to a smile and he started giggling as we played with his “kick ball”(marble game). After he was done with his marbles, he led me to the closet and asked me to “open please” so I could take out his Mr. Potato Head set. We played with all the different eyes, ears, noses, mouths, as I labeled “big”& “small” for him. He actually said “big”with me a few times.
I started sorting the pieces into like parts, ears together, arms together, shoes together, etc. He looked at me and, almost as if to show me who’s room it was, he threw everything up in the air, mixing all my sorted piles around, pieces flying every which way. I celebrated his act of dominance. “Yey Ka’eo! It’s popping like popcorn! Pop! Pop! Pop!” He smiled and continued to toss pieces in the air as I kept feeding him more and more pieces to pop up like popcorn.
He said, “Pop! Pop!” with approval of our newly changed game. Then he smiled and twirled some plastic teeth between his fingers. I relaxed and joined him by twirling a nose or two. He looked down and grabbed the big moustache and searched the pile before picking up the small moustache. Was he matching?
Next he grabbed a small red tongue and looked at me, “help me”. I was astonished. I looked down to see he was indicating he wanted me to help him find the other tongue.
“Okay, you want this one?” as I handed him the pink tongue.
“This one,” he said as he gladly took the matching piece. Not a few moments later he picked up the small set of teeth and matched it with the bid set of teeth.
He was matching! Only a few minutes earlier I was trying to show him how to match and it seemed he was ignoring me. So awesome! He then decided to show me that he could take his marbles and send them rolling and twisting down his slide. I said, “woo hoo! That looks like fun!” and positioned myself at the end of the slide so the marbles would roll down the slide, across the carpet, and up against my leg. He rolled the marbles down the slide and I gathered them up for him. We created a new game!
This went on for 15 minutes or longer and by the end of it, he would roll the marbles down the slide, I would gather them and ask, “again Ka’eo?” To which he would reply, “again!”and come and pick them out of my hands. After he filled his hands with marbles, I asked him, “where’s my kiss?”he said, “kiss” and give me a sweet peck before return to the top of the slide to make his next roll. I swear I must have gotten 15 or more sweet kisses this way. What a game!
After the first hour, Mommy brought his favorite dish to the door, turkey bacon and brown rice, yummy! I pulled out his chair and asked him to “sit down please” to which he eagerly complied while grabbing some bacon bits and devouring them. I looked at the plate and saw that Mommy had given us a 3 inch branch of cooked broccoli. “Oh my, this is going to be a challenge.” I thought to myself. So I cut the broccoli up into little pieces and gave him a few pieces with each big bite of bacon and rice. Lo and behold he ate the entire meal! All the broccoli, the mountain of brown rice, his juice with supplements, and of course his crispity crunchity bacon! Woo hoo again for team Griffin!
Ka’eo danced around the room for a while, singing Old McDonald, celebrating his delicious feast. He then pulled me over to his bookshelf and said, “up please!”
“Oh, okay Ka’eo, let’s go up, up, up!” I said with excitement.
“I want book.” He said as he reached up toward his Little People book. We pulled it down off the bookshelf and he started to flip the pages with great interest. I pointed at one of the pages and he pushed my hand away.
“Okay, no problem Buddy. I’ll read my book too.” So I grabbed my fish book and read next to
This was a regular occurrence because Ka’eo Jr has never let anyone read his book with him, except Mommy. I remember that morning talking to Jackie and telling her about the fact that he never lets me read with him. She said just that morning they were reading a book together and he was telling her who Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Zoey were. She said, “next time he gets a book out, take a pillow of the bed, lay down with your book and invite him to read with you…you never know!”
Remembering her words of wisdom, I slid a pillow off his bed, laid down next to him and started reading my fish book. Amazingly as if by habit, he left his book and laid down right next to me on the pillow and started to look at my fish book with me. He was laying down and reading a book with me for the first time in his life!!! I was so excited, I thanked him for reading with me and I started to flip the pages as he pointed at the different fish (he pointed!). I said, “see there’s Max Ka’eo, he’s looking for his friend. Purple fish. Yellow fish. Max the fish.”
In agreement he then said, “fish. Hello. Max.” Oh….My….God!!!! Really? I couldn’t believe it!
I was so happy I couldn’t stand it! Three E’s??? Oh yeah, I was definitely feeling the Energy, Excitement, and Enthusiasm today Baby! After about 3 minutes, he got up and started looking at his book again, but what a three minutes it was! Yee hee!
I looked up on the shelf and realized there were some new fuzzy toy balls that Mommy said he played that morning with her. I took them out of their bag and showed them to Ka’eo. He jumped up and grabbed them out of my hands and ran to his slide. “Oh, cool! Let’s play our game Ka’eo!” I said. He started to roll the new sillies down the slide and I gathered them up for him. We fell right back into our routine of “Again please.” Gather the balls. “Kiss Daddy” Sweet kisses. “Ready, set, go!” Down the slide they go! He was smiling and laughing as we played this game for more than 10 minutes together.
We just hung out and enjoyed each other’s company for more than 2 hours today. It was so much fun. I had to write about it. This week Ka’eo had more than 22 hours of 1-on-1 playroom time! Our best week yet! We are charging forward with our Son-Rise Program and Ka’eo Jr continues to show us its exceptional effectiveness.
It seems like there’s a new miracle everyday in our house. We are so blessed! Thank you Lord for my wife and little boys, for Ka’eo’s autism, and for Son-Rise :o)
I'm choosing to be really bummed now!!!
We were all excited about Dr. Dorinne Davis from the Davis Center whom we
met at the Autism One Conference in Chicago this May.
She is this amazingly intelligent Dr. who is certified in over 20 different listening programs that help heal issues with your inner ear, etc. She can analyze your inner ear to see exactly which program is the best fit for you... So we paid around $400 or $500 each for Jackie and Ka'eo Jr to get assessed by her while we were there in Chicago. Everything went great, her diagnoses seemed spot on, so she said we would be contacted to get set up with the 2 programs Ka'eo Jr and Jackie would be right for...Auditory Integration Training and the Enlisten Training Program.
So today we get the call that they are ready to ship out the AIT equipment to us, it's a 10 day program, then we would start the ETP over the next 6 months. So I find out the AIT would cost $2000 (for 10 days) and the ETP License would be another $6000 (for 6 months) !!!
I was floored. I said, "um...we can't afford $8000, we have a child with autism and we're already spending every penny we have to help him recover..."
She said, "oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were already invoiced for this..."
I said, "No...I knew the AIT was $800 after the initial assessment and that's it...but actually it is $800 after the intial assessment that costs $600 (which isn't the first assessment we did in Chicago, its different), then it's another $600 for the 2nd person's AIT..."
OMG...anyway I could go on and on, but you get the picture...I'm just choosing to be bummed at this moment...then I'll get over it and move on.
I just had such high hopes for this because Ka'eo Jr really shows us he has inner ear issues, he covers his ears often and is sensitive to certain sounds...but we just can't afford $8000. Even if Jackie backs out of it and we only do Ka'eo Jr, it's still $6400! I mean, REALLY, do you know how much Son-Rise training and consultations that would equal???
Thanks but no thanks Dr. Dorinne Davis!!! Movin' on :o)
I like a great FaceBook resource called Autism Mothers. It really keeps me connected to the day to day struggles and triumphs other parents of children with autism have. Recently, a mother asked, "Is there any autism fathers? My husband is having a difficult time adjusting to our sons recent diagnosis." I felt compelled to respond, and my response turned into a short-story I'd like to share with you...
I am the father of a 3 year old angel with autism. We have a 2 year old neuro-typical son as well. I can tell you that when he was “diagnosed” at 1.5 yrs old, we were both devastated. My mind ran the gamut from why did it happen to us? how did this happen? are we to blame? will he ever lead a normal life? who will take care of him when we’re gone? Etc. etc. etc…
Eventually, I accepted that he has autism and that I would do everything in my power to help him recover. We tried ABA with Discrete Trial, Floortime, Biomedical, GFCFSF, and it seemed nothing was working. If anything, I felt as though he was slipping further away emotionally from constantly being pushed to do what we wanted him to do, and hardly being allowed to be truly free to do what he wanted.
It wasn’t until we discovered the Son-Rise Program through a friend of a friend who was running a Son-Rise Program for his own son, that we finally found something that felt good right down to the bottom of our souls. We tried using some of the techniques with him and he immediately responded in ways he had never before shown us. We went to the Son-Rise Program Start-Up training (at separate times) and, for the past 8 months, have been running a Son-Rise Program in our home while we continue his biomedical & nutritional diet and supplementation.
Our son went from non-verbal to having more than 200 words. He went from not wanting to interact with me or anyone else besides his mom to greeting me every day with big hugs and kisses. As soon as I get home, he pulls me into his playroom to tickle him, jump with him, or to play with his toys. I’m amazed at how far our son has come in just a few months!
Son-Rise has done so much for our family and for me personally. It has shown me how to WANT the world for my son but not NEED anything from him. It has shown me how to be completely PRESENT with him during our playtime. It has shown me how to be absolutely loving and non-judgmental of his beautiful “isms”. It has shown me how to allow my son to be MY TEACHER and connect with him in HIS WORLD so I can begin to show him the way to OUR WORLD. It has shown me that by taking charge of my beliefs, I can CHOOSE HAPPINESS anytime I desire, regardless of the STIMULUS the world life throws at me.
Most importantly, my son and his Son-Rise Program have shown me how to apply all of these things to my entire life. In doing so I’ve become a better father, a better husband, a better friend, a better Christian, and a better man. Thank you Ka’eo, Jr. for showing me the true beauty of life and love!
I recently had a fellow Son-Rise parent ask me the following question, “I’ve been struggling a bit with what to do in the playroom with my son. All of a sudden I am terribly confused and I’m wondering if you could help me out. My issue is specifically with not knowing when to introduce games. He is very active and spends most of the time in the room running, galloping, walking or
hopping on his knees like a frog from one side of the room to the next. When he’s not doing this he’ll stop and do a puzzle or -play with some stacking cups. Basically, he plays with the same things over and over. So when is it appropriate for me to bring in a new game or try to? It seems like all of this is ism’ing (or stimming).” This was my response to her. I thought you might be interested to read it as well…
Thanks for writing me! I totally know where you're coming from on this and I've got some things that may help. Timing is EVERYTHING so, first we need to determine if he is, in fact isming, and not really giving you a green light. Remember, the WHEN is just as important as the WHAT...
Raun Kaufman defines isming as repetitive & exclusive activities. So if he's not allowing you to participate with him, it’s not a green light. Sometimes, I'll introduce a new toy to Ka'eo and he'll look at me and happily engage with the new toy, however when I try to play with it with him, he
takes my pieces away and sometimes even moves away from me. That tells me he's being exclusive and isn't giving me a true green light yet.
A fantastic webinar to watch is Raun's "Decision Making in the Playroom". Our Son-Rise classmate mentioned this webinar 6 or 7 different times in our FB Group because she is such a fan of it. Honestly, Jackie and I are just as big of fans on this one as she is! Jackie once told me, "Wow, I never TRULY understood when I should be joining until I watched this webinar" (we'd had our playroom going for months already).
(1 HOUR 30 MIN)
Raun talks about the ABCs of joining: Assess - Bond - Challenge. He then shows us that we should constantly be ASSESSING where our child is in each moment we're working with him. Try asking yourself the following questions:
• Is my child is looking at me?
• Does my child respond when I call his name?
• Does my child seem flexible (i.e. willing to change or alter his activity)?
• Is my child is being physically affectionate with me?
• Is my child is involving me in his activity?
• When I make a request, does my child respond?
• Is my child is speaking to me?
If the answer is YES, you have a green light and you can begin to move into the CHALLENGE stage. If you do not have a green light, you should NOT be challenging your child at all. We always laugh at this part because Raun says, "you don't ask for SQUAT!"
If the answer is NO to these questions, you probably have a red light. You can tell if you do because:
• My child is stimming
• My child is excluding me from what he is doing
• My child seems rigid and controlling
• My child does not respond when I speak to him
• My child moves away when I touch him
• My child is making sure to move or turn away from me
When we have a red light, or even a yellow light (fleeting glances but not sustained eye contact), we MUST stay in the BOND phase. This is when we truly and genuinely join our children. We watch them for a while to really understand what they are doing, then we get our own objects, in our own space and we start to do the same thing and truly explore it and enjoy it. The key is, the more we completely get into our own version of this activity, the better. If we are simply copying what they are doing, but really just focusing on watching them the whole time, it's more of a "okay, I'm doing what you're doing so now you should look at me and pay attention to me"...kind
of attitude, which is really ineffective.
(As a side note, when you get a yellow light, you want to celebrate his brief eye contact, then go right back into joining him. Don't try to be tricky, our children are smart and will immediately pickup on that! When we run a red light with Ka'eo, Jr., he immediately lets us know by letting out a loud, "whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!". Isn't it SO awesome how awareof everything they actually are!)
Attitude is most important, but timing is just as important. You really need to know when to challenge, to be effective with it. Don’t try to change your child’s behavior in any way. This is the biggest mistake people make, and it’s the mistake that is most detrimental to the whole point of joining. This process involves entering the child’s world, waiting for the child to voluntarily initiate interaction, and then (and only then) using that interaction to invite the child to stretch and communicate further.
Once you get your Green Light, you want to be sure to truly stay with his motivation. This can best be accomplished by simply ADDING ONE THING, and that's it. This is Bryn Hogan's (Raun’s sister) big mantra...just add one thing. So, say your son is running back and forth (actually Ka'eo does this same ism). As you run back and forth with him, first allow yourself enough time as you need to begin enjoying the experience and truly get immersed in it.
Feel free to laugh, giggle, and celebrate as you run with him. Eventually, he may begin to look at you or touch you as you run with him. Then you could try saying, "ready, set, go" as you start and stop your runs (keep in mind, your nottrying to get him to follow your commands or pace yet, your just saying this as you both freely run back and forth).
Your son may start to connect the pattern of your words with the starting and stopping of your running. When you feel his awareness of you growing, you can challenge him slightly by saying, "ready, set, <pause>... go!" and run with excitement. Hopefully, he'll wait and run when you do. If this works well, enjoy his growth! Then next time, you can start to challenge him by saying,
"ready, set, <pause>... g, g, g, go!" and run with excitement. This is how we encouraged Ka'eo, Jr. to begin saying single words (he used to be non-verbal a few months ago). When we would use the first letter, he would complete the word!
I remember at Start-Up, you said he was non-verbal, so that's why I used this example. Well, I really hope I'm on target with what you're asking me here... If not, try asking me again…and I'll try answering again! HAPPY PLAYING!!!
We are so blessed, we are going to be able to take our entire family to Chicago for this year’s AutismOne Conference! I was actually surfing Oprah’s website to see if there’s any
information about visiting the Harpo Studios while we’re there. When I was on the site, I saw a link that said, “Season 25 - Who Do You Want to See Oprah Interview?” So I thought, what the heck...I’ll give it a shot, and this is what I wrote:
Every 15 minutes, another child is diagnosed with autism in our country. It is more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. Our son was diagnosed with autism at 2.5 years old. After trying all the traditional behavioral therapies and biomedical
interventions, we found the Son-Rise Program at the Autism Treatment Center of America.
The Son-Rise Program was developed 30 years ago, by 2 parents who wanted to help their severely autistic son, Raun. Barry and Samarhia Kaufman connected with Raun in his world first, through complete love and acceptance of him as he was. After forming a strong bond with Raun in his world of rocking back and forth and spinning plates for hours on end, they slowly challenged Raun to learn how to communicate and interact in our world. After 3.5 years, their
"mentally retarded son" made a full recovery from autism, and today, is a Brown University graduate, a motivational speaker and was the CEO of the ATCA.
My wife and I found this program and traveled to MA to learn how to run our own Son-Rise Program at home for our son, Ka'eo, Jr.
Just 5 months ago, he said less than 25 words, rarely made eye contact, and hardly interacted with me, his own dad. Today, he uses more than 150 words and speaks in 4 and 5 word sentences. He runs to give us hugs and kisses! He loves playing games like tickle and chase with me, and he'll cuddle with his Mommy for hours!
In the late or mid 70's Oprah actually interviewed the creator of the Son-Rise Program, Barry Neil Kaufman. Oprah was the co-host of another talk show and Barry or "Bears" shared his remarkable story and both hosts and the audience were quite inspired and moved.
The federal government has called autism a "national health emergency". Oprah, PLEASE, interview the Kaufman Family and let the nation know about this loving, respectful, and highly effective approach to helping our children recover from autism. We are LIVING this miracle right
Mahalo Nui Loa,
As a busy mommy...you won't read as many blogs from me as you will my husband...but I thought I'd catch up with him and share the letter that I wrote when I went to my Son-Rise training. Both the Start-Up and Maximum Impact courses were life changing experiences for me. I learned to see through NEW eyes....which changed everything. Not only did I truly come to realize the GIFT my son's autism is...but Son-Rise also EMPOWERED me to help my baby on this incredible journey and take matters into my own hands. What a relief not to have to depend on therapists to help my son! Now I feel equipped to train and create an 'Olympic Team' for my baby boy....and it's going to be sooooo much FUN!!! :0) Thank God we were lead to Son-Rise. I believe this journey is our calling.
At the gates entering The Option Institute (home for ATCA & The Son-Rise Program) is a beautiful sign that says A PLACE FOR MIRACLES. Ka'eo Jr. is my little "Miracle in Progress." This is the letter I wrote to him in December 2010 and my Son-Rise Start Up program:
My Dearest Precious Angel ~ Ka'eo Jr.,
I write this letter to you today on a snowy day in December...far, far away from you. The odd thing is that although my heart aches because I miss that sweet precious smile of yours sooooo very much....I also feel closer to you now than I have ever felt before. For in this moment have I realized all that YOU have given me.
I have let go of all fears now and mommy is not worried about your future anymore. I know now in my heart that you were sent to me from Heaven above - exactly as you are and as PERFECT as you are...for a very special reason. I am now beginning to become the person I have always searched to be....and it's all because of you. You have taught me so much since you came into my life....and I want nothing more than to be the best mommy I can be for you and Koa.
I believe in you and your limitless potential. I promise you that I will be your number one fan for the rest of my life and ever after. I never knew a love like this until you...so thank you, my little angel....for all you have given me. Please know that I will love you forever...exactly as you are. You are my glimpse of Heaven.
I originally wrote this BLOG in response to some other Son-Rise parents who were concerned about the costs of attending more advanced training courses at the Autism Treatment Center of America in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Since I was originally addressing other Son-Rise families, I didn't explain everything I mentioned. I've edited the BLOG to explain acronyms, etc. but if you have any quesions, please email us or comment on this BLOG and I'll do my best to explain! Aloha...
Okay…here’s a long one to read…these are my thoughts regarding the COSTS of getting fully trained and running a Son-Rise Program…because if you read our DONATE page, you may be thinking you’ll never be able to afford to do Son-Rise!
I can tell you straight, we don’t have $$$. I’m in debt; I have back taxes, etc… The cost of the advanced training courses at the ATCA (Autism Treatment Center of America) was and still is a very big concern for us. I keep making plans like, “Jackie will go to the Start-Up Program Training and I’ll just listen to her recordings” or “Okay we both went to the Start-Up Program, but she’ll go to the advanced courses, I don’t need to,” then it was, “Jackie will go to Maximum Impact Training and I’ll go to New Frontiers Training”… but every step of the way, our prayers were answered, the ATCA granted us a partial scholarship for every course we've taken…family and friends will sometimes surprise us with a check in the mail (we sent out fundraising letters with our Christmas Cards)…or I’ll find an opportunity to raise extra $$$.
It truly is a struggle to think about the costs of the courses and travel and time off work, etc. It is still a challenge to think about having to pay thousands for outreaches or even hundreds for consultations or dialogues. I’ve never done a consultation or dialogue myself at the ATCA. Instead, I spent $200 there on books and CDs to learn more about the Option Process ® (a method of taking control of your own beliefs and feelings). Jackie has now done 2 dialogue sessions with the ATCA. We really felt her dialogue sessions were of the utmost importance for her because she is the engine behind our entire program and family (I’m more like the fuel, ha!). I am determined to get our family to a Son-Rise Intensive Program in 2012 as well…($18,000 not including travel)
I’m very confident the fundraising ideas from ATCA work. We’re planning on doing a dinner event with a silent auction. I’ve heard of families raising anywhere from $3000-$10,000 in one night! I’m still pursuing the Department of Education in Hawai'i for funding of our home-based program. I’m still taking every opportunity I can to spread the word about Son-Rise in Hawaii – in hopes of being a light to other families out there but also in hopes of getting referral credits. We’ve already got 2, that’s 50% of a class paid!
Really, the bottom line for me is this:
I mean really, people go to unbelievable extremes: they climb mountains, get surgeries, hypnotize themselves, leave their families behind, spend years at monasteries, or spend tens of thousands of dollars to try to find this type of permanent life-changing experience – to find happiness.
- Son-Rise Start-Up Course changed my life. It truly shook up my beliefs right down to the foundation of whom I thought I was and always would be.
- Son-Rise is absolutely working with our son; we’re only at 15 hours per week and he’s already grown SO much, I’m bursting with excitement at the thought of having a full team and running a solid program.
- The revelations Jackie has had at Max this week completely super charged her motivation and absolutely gave her clarity about many of her core fears, anxieties, uncertainties, and doubts.
Yesterday, Jackie was describing her experience at Maximum Impact to me, and we were both committing to each other to really make the Option Process ® the core of who we are for the rest of our lives and she said, “its really like finding Heaven on earth”…what a statement!
So now, hopefully you can see where I’m coming from on these decisions to dig deep and find the means to make it out to The Autism Treatment Center of America again and again and to run this program to best of our abilities…whatever it takes!
I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts on this! You CAN DO IT !!!
I was recently asked a question by a dear friend and fellow parent of a child with autism. It was such a great question, I'd like to share it and my response. This was also from March 27th.
I see that so many talk about choosing to be happy and how it all starts with yourself. Can you please tell me how you're able to differentiate that with still putting God first? That's my only true feeling of being torn. That I put all the weight on (us) and leave God out of the equation...
Thank you for asking that question. I believe I can answer that in a few ways. First, I do want to acknowledge that the Kaufmans are extremely spiritual people. Putting God first in their lives and not being afraid to talk about God in their teachings and lectures. I also want to acknowledge that our own family is Christian, serving at church on worship team and praying together as a family when ever our hearts move us to.
Next, I want to talk about choosing to be happy and also about looking to understand yourself before you can start to truly help your son. God gave us the most precious and most challenging gift when he gave us free will. By allowing us the freedom to choose our faith, our actions, our desires, our words, and our feelings, He shows us the utmost respect and trust. Now, when I say, “we choose our feelings”, that is really the foundation of everything they teach at the Option Institute, including the Son-Rise program.
If you think about it, everything that happens in life is just what it is. It isn’t good or bad until we decide it is. For example, a couple get into a car accident, the husband is standing on the side of the road just furious as he looks at his brand new Mercedes Benz in ruins, while his wife is standing next to him in tears of joy, praying to God for his blessings for they are both alive and unharmed and will be able to return home to their children that evening. You and I could even look at our sons’ autism this way, it isn’t good or bad, it just is. The good or bad part comes from what we decide it to be. A great example of that is looking at my first FB entry after Ka’eo, Jr was diagnosed – doom and gloom, then looking at many of my FB posts recently – sheer joy and excitement! Ka’eo, Jr may have improved since then, but he still has autism. What really changed was my belief and my choice about how to feel about the situation, about Ka’eo, Jr., about our future, and about myself and my role in this journey.
One of the first things we learn in Son-Rise is to be happy with ourselves, to be happy with our children, and to be happy with their autism. Our sons’ autism is a part of them, for now, it is just as much a part of them as their cute little toesies! Not everyone recovers through Son-Rise. But really, not everyone recovers from ABA, Biomedical, Floortime, RDI, etc.! A fantastic thing I’ve learned is how to WANT but not to NEED. (I only wish I’d learned these principles when I was younger, so much stress, conflict, and pain could have been avoided!) I want Ka’eo, Jr to recover from autism but I don’t need him to. I want him to say, “Daddy, I love you.” but I don’t need him to. I want to get a promotion at work, but I don’t need to. I want my wife to kiss me 20 times a day but I don’t need her to. Get the picture? By letting go of our need for things to happen, we are free to want as much as we desire without being let down, disappointed, or stressed.
This leads perfectly into the foundations of Son-Rise: complete non-judgment, acceptance, and love. If I don’t NEED Ka’eo, Jr. to get better or perform better, I am free to truly love and accept him for who he is in this moment. Also, if I am in control of my beliefs, I am in control of my feelings, and I am free to choose happiness in each moment. What a gift!
I believe God is in control. He gave me this life, he gave me this child, he gave me this family, he gave me Son-Rise. I believe he has a plan for us all. I also believe he gave me free will in order to choose my own path, my own faith, and my own happiness.
I hope this helps!
Love n Aloha… ~Ka’eo
I originally wrote this as a post to my Son-Rise Start-Up Group and later to my FaceBook family. I belive I wrote it on March 27, 2011:
This week, we took a giant leap forward in our family’s journey with our son’s beautiful autism. On Monday morning we had a meeting with Ka’eo, Jr’s Autism Skills Trainers where we let them know we appreciate all the love and support they’ve given us over the past 8 months we’ve been in Hawaii, and we are now ready to move forward on... our own and no longer desire their services.
There were some tears on both sides of the conversation but after it was all said and done, we feel relieved, empowered, and inspired to move forward with full force towards a full-time Son-Rise Program for Ka’eo, Jr.
Our therapists were “trying” to embrace our new found beliefs and direction with Ka’eo, Jr. Although, the underlying truth was our loving therapists really believed THEY are the experts, WE are the parents, and while they would do their best to respect our desires, THEY knew what was truly best for our son, not US.
To quote the manager directly, “We know you love your son and want the best for him, but honestly, sometimes mothers do SABOTAGE their own child’s program.” Perhaps it was better said by the supervisor in charge of our Skills Trainer, “I know he is YOUR son, but we’ve been doing this for a really long time and ultimately WE know what works best for these kids. If you’re not happy with what we are doing here, you always have the right to REFUSE SERVICES.”
What brought about Monday’s meeting was the concern our Skills Trainer brought to her supervisor --> my wife was being “unkind” and “disrespectful” to her because after every session, Jackie kept giving her feedback and wanting to dialogue about Ka’eo Jr’s response to the session. :o)
Now, when I say “loving therapists”, I do truly mean it! I’m not being sarcastic! I absolutely believe they care about Ka’eo, Jr., and there is no doubt in my mind they genuinely believe --> THEY know what is BEST for him and WE are loving but simply NAIVE parents…
I believe they are confident in their training, and also don’t understand that Son-Rise teaches us constant, loving feedback and dialogue is the key to growing and improving in our focus and effectiveness with Ka’eo, Jr. in his playroom. Many Son-Rise methods are contrary to the techniques they’ve learned and I understand they may not feel comfortable using strategies that make so much sense and are so in-line with what our son is interested in. It’s okay.
The bottom line is -- we are now free to build our program from the ground up. We are happier than ever to do so. Jackie leaves for Son-Rise Maximum Impact training on Saturday. I’m posting 100 flyers for volunteers. We are going to hit the ground running in 2 weeks.
By the way, this week, Ka’eo had the most amazing progress in his playroom TO DATE!
When I went to the Son-Rise Start-Up program my life was changed forever. I experienced an amazing week of self-discovery, brotherly love, and pure inspiration. I came to realize the truth about my feelings and to learn how to be free to choose happiness in every situation. I learned how to love my son, my family, and myself without judgment.
Of the entire week, the most memorable and inspirational moment I had was when I was given the opportunity to sit down for a while, alone with my thoughts and write a letter to Ka'eo, Jr. I'm proud of my son and I'm proud of my feelings for him, and just as I shared my letter with my Son-Rise brothers and sisters, I'd like to share them with you:
February 25, 2011
To My Precious Ka'eo, Jr.,
You are my greatest accomplishment in life! I love you with the entire depth of my soul. I am so deeply proud of you. I love and accept everything about you.
I admire that you are able to find such peace and happiness in your own world. I see such courage in you when you try to reach us in our crazy, unpredictable world. Your love means everything to me and the slightest connection with you immediately warms my heart and reminds me what is truly important and precious in life. You!
Your autism has been such an amazing blessing to me because it has challenged me to be the best daddy I can be for you & Koa. It has made me open my heart, my beliefs, and my eyes in a way I never thought possible.
You bring out the best in me and I promise to do everything in my power to join you in your world and help you accomplish whatever you desire, to fulfill your highest potential.
I am so excited for our journey together in complete love & acceptance.