Floortime & Our Community: Thoughts on Jen Hatmakers “Interrupted” Revised & Updated

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Introduction To Floortime

One of the first things we learned about in dealing with a child with autism is that you have reach them where they are.  You can't expect a child with autism to leave their world to enter ours, we have to make the effort and earn the reward of entering theirs.

In order to do this, we would come beside them and do what they were doing.  So we put puppets on our feet and lay on our backs, dangling the puppets over our eyes, while our son did the same.  We did what they did, to join in where they were. From there, we could gain a rapport and slowly encourage more and more circles of communication (back and forth interaction) as we follow their lead. That is a very basic goal and method in the DIR/Floortime model.

We had to basically study them, to learn how they make sense of things, so we could communicate with them in a way that would make sense to them. That meant using sign language and visual symbols, their favorite scripts from shows or dramas, whatever their favorite characters were, their special interests and preferred music, and later use all that in social stories.

We do all this because this is how they understand. And if you have a child with autism, there is nothing more that you want, than to be able to enter their world and communicate with them in a back and forth manner.  You want to have a relationship with them and you do anything you can to make that happen.  

Words alone, speaking alone was just that. Alone. A one sided conversation. They would be lost, thrust back to their own world if we did not stay entered into theirs.

Floortime In Our Communities

In the newly revised and expanded book, "Interrupted",  Jen Hatmaker talks about reaching the people in our communities, in our circles of influence, she talks about this very thing: enter their worlds, live life with them and earn their friendship. It's like DIR/Floortime for our community!

"As missionaries have always understood, the key is to study the culture you are passionate about reaching and submerge into that space with respect and love." (p174)

Become one of them, do what they like, learn how they think...befriend them. Earn their trust and then we have a chance to introduce them to Jesus. Otherwise we have a one sided conversation and they are lost, thrust back in their own world  because we did not stay entered into theirs.

"Discipleship is not a personal journey with few links to community; it exists for us to spur one another on toward libration and execute justice for those too trapped to free themselves. It is a lifestyle obsessed with the broken members of our human tribe: those living next to us, in our families, and everywhere someone is devalued. We have a mandate to liberate our fellow man, in every context.  We are in this life together; we belong to one another. " (P176)

Live On Mission

It is our job to enter their world, earn their trust, build relationships with people in our community.  "We have an innate craving to live on mission with God in the dangerous, exciting world. Out there is where we come to life, get over ourselves, are fed.  Fulfillment exists in becoming a slave to everyone in order to win someone to Jesus. Discipleship was never simply about learning; it was constructed on living." (p.232)

Question For You

What ways do you engage with your community?

What ideas do you have to live life with your community in order to reach your community for Jesus?

What similarities do you see in reaching our children with autism, and reaching the community?

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Celebrating Bravery

SYNCHRONIZED BRAVERY

"Ready to go?" Stevie steps out of his room, arms stretching to contain a massive load comprised of his favorite stuffed animals.  One giant Pooh Bear, 2 peacocks, 3 flamingo's, Elmo, Grover, and Cookie Monster are among the critters that he carries with him everywhere.  They go to school with him, in the car with him, outside with him, to sleep with him. You name it, they are with him and on this day, they are coming with him to the Portland Jetport to ride the Elevators! (Elevators are capitalized because in Stevie's book, it is deserving of an upgrade to join the ranks of the Uppercase Big Letters.)   This trip was earned because my boy was Brave (another word in need of an upgrade) and ate his oatmeal with specks of ground flax seed, flax oil, and a probiotic powder mixed in.

Stevie is food averse, and literally only eats crackers and a couple cereals, milk & juice, and rarely, oatmeal. (Yes, that's it. No ice-cream, no cake...ever. He's never even tried it before.) Oatmeal is the only thing he's eaten in the last year that has some kind of nutritional value to it. Adding flax adds Omega 3's and other good nutritious things that are hard to pronounce, and that plus the probiotics gives him a wee bit more of a boost that his body is desperate for, considering he is recovering from Lyme Disease and just finished 3 weeks of twice-a-day antibiotics, that he hated.

Desperate for my boy who hasn't gained weight this past year, to eat more foods that will help his body & brain, led me to cook up this concoction and be Brave enough to enforce that he eat it (which could lead to the bowl of oatmeal flying through the air at a high rate of speed, and splatting into the nearest wall...or head, whichever comes first), and Brave enough to carry out a promise to visit the Elevators at the Jetport if he did. I say "Brave enough" because going out with Stevie has not been successful for most of this past year. This summer has been far better though, and he has been wonderful for me everywhere I've taken him as long as we have expectations set up ahead of time, in the form of a map. The route must be planned out and agreed upon prior to exiting the house.

BRAVE ENOUGH

Speaking of Brave enough, according to Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp, authors of the newly released book, "The Cure For The Perfect Life", you only have to be 40% Brave to be Brave. You don't have to be perfectly brave, just Brave enough.

Just Brave enough to start.

To take that first step toward a high goal.

To take that first bite of a new food.

To take that first teaspoon of Flax Milk

TO stand firm that your child needs to eat nutritious foods to take care of his body.  

BABY STEPS

I am an all or nothing kinda person myself, but my  Stevie is not. He needs to ease in to things. He needs to take 6 months or so for that new toy to be familiar enough that he'll play with it.  So for him, I decided to start really (painfully) small. Just get him used to the taste of flax milk, and so I started with just one teaspoon, with a goal of reaching 8 ounces throughout his day within a couple months.

In Cheri & Kathi's book, they talk about personality types as well and how we are all different in our approaches to being Brave and the hinderances to being brave. Unaffectionately referred to as the P-Bullies: Perfectionism, Performancism, Procrastination, People Pleasing, these bullies try to beat us up and make us miserable. But we can stand up to them, be Brave, and rebel against their insidious ways.  But more on that later. For now, I want to just share a quick list of the many ways my family has been Brave this summer.

CELEBRATING BRAVERY

Sage (age 11, autism) handled being at overnight camp during thunderstorms (one of his highest fears) like a seasoned pro, and as a result he learned that God is always with him, so he doesn't need to be afraid!

Joy (age 3, Selective Mutism) made friends with and spoke to a Respite provider at the Autism Society's Family Retreat! 

Hope (age 11) quickly eased into a new group of kids during her camp week this summer!

Hope & Sage both joined the youth group of our church. Not knowing many kids ahead of time, this was a big social hurdle for both of them. But they jumped in with both feet, and have been joining in every activity that they can with enthusiasm!

Joy used the public restrooms (big fear) on a day trip!

All the kids enjoyed fireworks. Talk about sensory overload and anxiety! Even with our last attempt leading to some tears and fears, the kids all wanted to go this time, and they all loved the experience!

Daddy took Stevie on a car ride to pick up the twins at church! He hasn't been to the church since before Easter. (You can read about that here.)

We all went to "Mermaid Pond" down the street from us, as a family. Experience said it would be a disaster, but Bravery said we could try again and we did. The result? We only had laughter and silliness and fun memories!

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THE CURE FOR THE PERFECT LIFE

And here it is:  The Cure!  Learn how to fight the P-Bullies, one by one. Learn how to stop trying so hard to be perfect, and be brave enough to be yourself!

Here is the FREE download of Chapter 1:  http://www.thecurefortheperfectlife.com/downloads/chapter1.pdf 

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About the Authors:

kathilippKathi Lipp

Website:   http://www.KathiLipp.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKathiLipp

Twitter:    https://twitter.com/kathilipp

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/kathilipp/

Kathi Lipp is the author of The Husband Project, The Me Project, The Get Yourself Organized Project, 21 Ways to Connect With Your Kids, and several other books. Kathi’s articles have appeared in dozens of magazines, and she is a frequent guest on Focus on the Family radio and TV. She and her husband Roger are parents of four young adults in San Jose, California. Kathi shares her story at retreats, conferences, and women’s events across the United States. Connect with her at www.KathiLipp.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AuthorKathiLipp, or on Twitter @KathiLipp.

 

Cheri Gregorycherigregory

Website:  http://www.CheriGregory.com

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/CheriGregoryAuthor

Twitter:    https://twitter.com/CheriGregory

Pinterest:   http://www.pinterest.com/CheriGregory

Cheri Gregory is a Certified Personality Trainer; contributor to multiple books, including Wired That Way and 21 Ways to Connect With Your Kids; and frequent speaker for MOPS groups, women’s retreats, parent workshops, and educational conferences. She is also a high school English teacher and graduate student. Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel (her opposite personality), a pastor, for over a quarter-of-a-century; they have two college-aged kids (who are also opposite personalities). She blogs about expectations, “baditude”, and hope at www.CheriGregory.com. Connect with her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Cheri.Gregory.Author and Twitter @CheriGregory.

 

About the Book:

From the back cover:

Are you crumbling under the burden of perfection?

You know the expectations are unreasonable–even unreachable.

And when everyone else seems more together than you, where do you turn for help?

Meet Kathi, a disguised perfectionist always looking to put everyone else’s needs above her own, and Cheri, a formerly confused and exhausted poster girl for playing it safe.  They’ve struggled just like you–and found the cure. With unabashed empathy and humor, they invite you to take part in their rebellion against perfection. Step-by-step they’ll teach you how to challenge and change unhealthy beliefs. As they free you from always seeking more or needing the approval of others, you’ll discover a new, braver way of living. At last, you’ll exchange outdated views of who you should be for a clearer vision of who you are in Christ.

The truth is you don’t have to be perfect.

You just have to be brave enough to read this book

From the Introduction:

Even though we have different life stories, we’ve both succumbed to Try-Harder Living. We used to look for the nice, polite ways to follow God’s call. We caved to others’ expectations for too long. We finally decided stop taking our cues from the world and start asking ourselves, “What does God want from me … and have for me?”

And we’ve come to the conclusion: there is no nice, polite way to do this. There’s no easy way to leave the life that’s been expected of us and to start living the brave, not so neatly tied up life that God is calling us to.

We have to rebel. We have to make choices that are countercultural to our society, our families of origin, and even our churches.

We’re guessing that as you’ve read our stories you’ve said, “Me too!” at one point or another (or perhaps, several points.) Most women we know are fighting THL to some degree.

We get it. We’ve been there. We have the souvenir travel mugs. And because life isn’t perfect, those mugs have leaked all over our shirts. (It’s the official uniform for the recovering perfectionist—a nice white shirt with a huge stain down the front.)

Come join our rebellion. We have cupcakes. The frosting is a little mushed, but hey, they still taste great. And they aren’t homemade. But we’re okay with that.

As we share our own rebel stories and strategies, we hope you will

    • * exchange outdated views of who you “should be” for a clear do-able vision of who you are in Christ.

 

    • * take control of that too long to-do list so it no longer controls you.

 

    • * stop striving to maintain an image and live with more freedom day-to-day.

 

    • * overcome the tyranny of “more” and radically live with the abundance of “enough.”

 

    • * stop trying to earn others’ approval and learn to rest in God’s lavish unconditional love.

 

 

Website Link:  http://www.TheCureForThePerfectLife.com

Facebook Page (aka “Braver Living Rebel Headquarters”):
http://www.Facebook.com/TinyActsOfRebellion

 ***DO join the Facebook page!  This is a great place to see how other are rebelling against the bullies, and to record your rebellious acts!***

 

Barnes & Noble link (we’d like to support B&N as they’ve been VERY supportive to us!)