Mama Brandi Shares Her In-Home Experience With Julie
This is where Julie comes in :) I had scheduled her to come and work with us back in March when I began to be challenged by what Hayden was doing in the therapy room vs. outside the therapy room. I had spoke with a few other families that had used Julie and Natural Play therapy and how she did things differently from our current program. I was not completely sold until after I talked with Julie and started trying out some of her techniques. That's when it felt *right* and I booked our outreach.
The first day Julie was here she came to story time at the library with us. I wanted her input on how I could really maximize this time. There are also time that I feel really awkward and not sure if I am assisting too much or too little. What came of the library is that it really is time that I start giving Hayden more space and supporting him into finding his space. It was a bit of a challenge for me to just sit at the back of the room and Hayden really did great with it. Julie also brought it to my attention that Hayden was really like all the other kids with the exception of one time. The one time was when the librarian was giving instructions all the other kids turned and looked her. Hayden continued doing his work with out acknowledging her. I also wanted Julie's opinion if Hayden seemed to be stressed in any way in this environment. The answer was no :) She thought that it was a really good program for us to attend and that Hayden seemed as comfortable as the other children. Story time is for 3-6 year olds. Julie wanted to see what Hayden would do with an older group of kids. We choose a school aged program to attend later in the week. It was later in the day but over all Hayden was successful and happy to be there. Hayden really studied and watched the other children at this program.
That is one thing that I have really seen an increase out of Hayden this week. I don't know if it is because of Julie, if I am more aware, or that Hayden is changing but he really watched others more this week. Particularly older children :)
When Hayden is independently playing (Hayden no longer does repetitious behaviors with his toys, he really is just playing) with his toys we no longer try to do exactly what he is doing with a similar toy in easy eye contact range. Instead we take this time to recharge and deepen. Hayden can choose to do independent play when he wants. We are now going to take this time to play a game or do an activity of our choice on our own. We are going to use this time to model things we want to teach Hayden or share things we like with him. How EXCITING!!! This technique has been a big hit so far!!!!
Julie also aided me in developing new goals for Hayden. This was really an amazing, awesome, freeing experience. I picked goals for Hayden that are important to me. One of them being Hayden become more self sufficient....putting shoes away with out prompting, picking up his laundry, and watering the dog twice a day. Then the big change came.....our team will each have their own individual goals for Hayden. This concept is really exciting to me! Hayden's team was equally excited about choosing their own goals.
We had a team meeting while Julie was here to present the new ideas, educate, and answer questions. Julie helped each team member pick new goals, choose activities that they want to teach Hayden, and ideas on how to go about sharing them with him. I really feel that each team member is super excited to share what they love with Hayden in such a bigger way.
The next big change in our program is that I will no longer be giving the team members feedback at the end of their session. What I will be doing is checking in and talking about what they thought of the session and learning from them. I no longer feel that I have to have such a strong role in talking about the session and look for points that should be changed or improved on.
There were so many incredible moments this week!! I am sure that I have left out several :)
The final one that I want to share has really nothing to do with my family directly but my community. I asked Julie a couple of months ago if she would give a free inservice to my community about what she does and give them techniques they can take home and use. Julie said yes in such a big exciting way. There was about 15 people at the in-service. The majority of the people that came were early intervention people. I also want to give a shout out to Hayden's future teacher and assistant teacher for coming (so excited you were there). The in-service went way, way, way better than I ever imagined!!! Julie rocked it, the people rocked it.....pure love, genuine, excitement, and energy to help the autism community. I have never experienced such uplifting vibes in one room (besides at Son-Rise) that took place in that room. Really mind blowing!!! I had a hard time going to sleep that night from all the exciting energy :)
For the first time in 7 months I am really excited and pumped about my son's therapy program. What we are doing feels so pure, real, and it fits us. If it ever does not fit us I can change it :) I can't help to feel like the end is so, so close for us!!"