I was teaching in Dubai recently and my hosts were kind enough to take me on a tour of some of the major sites.
Here are my top 3 experiences in Dubai.
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. We were whisked up 124 floors to the observation deck. We could see all across Dubai. We were so high that the building swayed like we were on the deck of a giant ship.
The Dubai Fountain. It is the world’s largest choreographed musical fountain. It was pretty spectacular to see the fountain and the lights with a towering skyscraper as the immediate backdrop.
And my Number 1 experience in Dubai by far:
Playing with a 3-year old boy on the autistic spectrum and helping him to have a breakthrough in reciprocal interaction. Seeing this little boy smile at me and joyfully kick a ball back and forth was just wonderful. He even took turns shooting the ball into a goal for the first time. It was fantastic. I know that the more consistent he becomes in engaging in these types of social interactions, the more he will learn and an entirely new world of possibilities will open up to him.
I was teaching this particular boy’s family and after he played with me, he played a game with his teenage sister where she was playfully spinning him around in circles. For the first time he made an intentional “nnn” sound to get her to spin him around – a real breakthrough in his verbal communication and a great stepping stone toward language.
It was special to see his older sister be so sincere in her efforts to help her little brother. And terrific to see him make so much effort to grow in his communication when she used the strategies she was learning.
What does it mean that I visited a world-class city and the highlight by far was seeing a little boy make breakthroughs with some of his challenges?
It means that if you have a child on the autistic spectrum, whether he is 3 or 13, he has something truly special to offer to the people who come into his world. He offers the opportunity to be a part of something meaningful and magical – helping and supporting the growth of a child. What is more meaningful and inspiring then that? And with a child with ASD you learn to notice and appreciate not only the big breakthroughs but also the small but very meaningful things that happen. You learn to see the world in a new way and to notice details that you would typically overlook.
When someone is with your child they have an opportunity to visit a unique and special world. And they can do all this without the jetlag and expense of traveling halfway across the earth. Your child is one of the wonders of the world. Have you invited people into his life who see him this way?
In the seminars I offer we teach parents how to recruit and train people (typically university students) to be with their child in a loving, playful, and powerfully effective way. We teach parents how to surround their child with people who see their child not as a problem – but as one of the wonders of the world. Whether or not you ever attend a seminar, you can decide to invite more people into your child’s life who appreciate all that he is.Tags: ASD, Asperger, Autism, child with autism