On the Horizon – 9/27/11

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 163: Come to the Edge

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

To keep receiving On the Horizon, please add the email address “nicolebeurkens@horizonsdrc.com” to your safe address list.

  • A Note from Nicole: Back from Arizona
  • Feature Article: Come to the Edge
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Simple Solutions Seminar
  • Recommended Resources

I’m back in the office this week after enjoying some time in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona.  I was there for some meetings and a seminar, and the environment just can’t be beat.  There’s nothing like a view of the sunrise over Camelback Mountain to get your day started off right!  I’d love to bring my husband back with me sometime, but it will have to be in the dead of winter since he doesn’t like the heat…and it was 105 degrees during the day when I was there.  That’s not what he would call a fun vacation!

This week’s featured article is all about building competence in children, and finding the delicate balance between providing too much and not enough support.  I think this is one of the most challenging things as a parent, and definitely something we spend quite a bit of time working on with families at our clinic.  Read the full article to find out how to help your child successfully “come to the edge”.

For more information and ideas about how to support your child to reach greater independence, you might want to check out our program called The Autism Transformation for Families.  The audios contain lots of helpful information about how to develop competence and problem solving abilities in children of all ages.  You can get more by clicking here.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Looking to the horizon,

Come to the Edge

By Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP

“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We’re afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We will fall!”
“Come to the edge.”
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.
Guillaume Apollinaire,   1880-1918
French Poet, Philosopher

Every day, parents and teachers are coaxing children a little closer to the edge, until eventually they are ready to be pushed off.  To build enough trust in another person to be willing to come to the edge, even when fearful, is the true foundation of a solid relationship.  In the above quote, I think of the fearful responder as the child or apprentice, and the coaxer as the parent or guide.

The idea of guided participation or coaxing, is a foundation of our therapy.  Each parent is equipped with the ability to guide, encourage, scaffold and eventually “push” their child over the edge into independence.  The scenario that is described in the quote is a very common occurrence for the families and children we see on a daily basis in our clinic.  The child with an autism spectrum disorder frequently communicates, “I can’t. I’m afraid. I’ll fail.”  This may not be communicated verbally, but can be seen in the child’s behavior or demeanor.  When parents or teachers are able to provide the right amount of guidance, encouragement and scaffolding, the child begins to trust that the guide will not push them over the edge until they are ready to fly solo.

How do guides help the apprentice prepare for flying solo?

Click here to read the rest of this article…


I’m trying to understand more about how my child’s diet and general health may be impacting her symptoms, specifically her sleep and irritability.  Do you have any books or resources you recommend?

-Brian in Michigan


Hi Brian,

First of all, I’d like to congratulate you on recognizing that what your child is eating and the state of her overall health may be impacting some of the challenges you are experiencing with her.  I’d like to direct you to one of my favorite books on this topic written by my colleague Judy Converse.  The book is called Special Needs Kids Eat Right, and it has a wealth of information that is easy to understand and provides strategies for addressing things like sleep issues, limited diets, stomach issues, and many more.  You can find it on Amazon and many other places online.  Judy is a dietician who specializes in these kinds of issues, and she has a way of explaining things that is very parent-friendly.  Check out the book and let me know if you find it helpful!

Take care,

Follow Us:

Upcoming Events

Simple Solutions Seminar
October 20, 7-8:30PM via teleseminar
The Stress-Behavior Connection: Strategies to Reduce Your Child’s Stress and Improve Functioning


Autism Transformation for Families Audio Program

Transform Tough Days With Your Child Into Great Ones: Five Simple Steps to Better Communication, Behavior, and Relationships

More Information >>