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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Fried Mommy With A Side Of Coffee

Fried Mommy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO FRY A MOMMY in just a few simple steps:

 

Child goes missing (briefly)

Child's clothing (all of it) laying by the swing

Said child found naked in the woods

Child drawing on the house with crayon

Child drawing on cars with chalk

Child attempting to pull door off hinges

Child pulling the door paneling off the door

Child pulling outlet cover off the outlet while screwed to the wall

Child screaming unnaturally loudly

Child swooshing dvd player, apple TV gadget & Wii console onto the floor 

Child hiding red wagon up the street near the swamp so he could run back to tell me about it

Child running away when called and then sitting in the middle of the street to wait for me

Child cutting his shorts with scissors

Child trying to cut hair with scissors

Child drawing on walls in house with crayon

Child refusing medicine

Child purposefully projectile vomits medicine across the room

Child grabs medicine in cup and spills on the floor

Child attempts to puke up medication multiple times

Child pees on floor in room multiple times a day

Child cleans up floor in room with direct supervision multiple times a day

Child poops on floor in room and tracks it all over room

Child throws electronics

Child pours milk on computer

Child pours milk into coffee and then onto iPad

 

This is the incomplete list of ONE child's summer "fun" out of our home of 4 little darlings.

And some times, this may be a list completed all in one day!

Anyone else out there relate to this? 

Oh, the joys of summer "break" with kids who NEED nonstop structure and simultaneously do NOT WANT that structure put in place for them.  

 

INTERVENTION PLEASE!

 

Yes, I have tried:

Routines

Prayer

Picture schedules

Praying

Kid-created routines

More praying

Natural consequences

Fervent praying

Positive reinforcement

Persistant prayer

Negative reinforcement (out of desperation)

Did I mention praying?

I followed all recommendations from those who recommend, to the best of my ability considering I have other children to care for...

And I sit here typing with my beloved coffee to help me keep up with them just a little bit better than I have been,

and I am fried!  

 

A CHURCH, A VILLAGE, AND A SCHOOL

 

Despite all my failed attempts to curtail my son's behavior, all is not lost:  

God has heard my cries for help!

IT TAKES A CHURCH

God prompted a dear friend from our church and MOPS to ask how they could help and took it upon herself to find people who may be able to help us!

We aren't meant to do this life alone. 

We are meant to do it in the context of community,  especially with the help of the Body of Christ.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

Our case manager has referred us to HCT (Home & Community Therapy) services--intensive in-homes supports with a focus purely on behavior. This service comes with a behavioral specialist, social worker and support staff! This is a short term program that usually lasts 6 months. Then, the long term specialized in home supports services will be in place that focuses on behavior and daily living skills.

And best of all?  There is ZERO waiting list. We will probably meet with the agency next week or two!  

This is huge news considering the past few weeks our case manager said there is no hope of in specialized in-home supports happening any time soon due to a long wait list and a shortage of behavioral specialists.

I am biting my internal tongue that begs to ask the question: Why wasn't this put in place before now? Why are we just now hearing of this option after all my cries for help and queries into WHEN specialized section 28 will be in place...after all my pleas to please get something in place before summer arrived?

But I know that God's timing is perfect. And even though I really think I should have known about this service option before, I also know that it wouldn't have happened until now anyway...because God's timing is just right. All the time. (Isn't that a nice tidbit of truth to defuse the situation?)

IT TAKES A SCHOOL

 Sometimes, it takes a Church, a Village AND a School...

On top of this incoming help, and the start of services in the next few weeks... THIS week, SUMMER SCHOOL STARTS!  Three days a week, 4 hours a day plus travel time....my boy will be in school.

Out of the house!

In a routine! (which is the primary reason FOR summer school)

And NOT bored!

PHEW!

Help is on the way!

And I could not be more grateful or more welcoming of this help that God is providing.

The floodgates have been opened.

A time of refreshing is on the way!

 

WORDS OF WISDOM 

 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 

I would love to hear YOUR thoughts!