While conducting a training in Oregon, one of the participants shared this article from the New York Times with us: Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney. Read it right away! And make sure to watch the video excerpt too! You won’t be able to stop. Its gripping and will bring you to tears. The dedication of these parents to understanding their child’s inner world and connecting with him is inspiring. As is their son’s determination to make sense of the world and connect with others despite his challenges.
Using Collaborative Problem Solving with many kids on the autism spectrum, here’s an excerpt that rang especially true:
“There’s a reason — a good-enough reason — that each autistic person has embraced a particular interest. Find that reason, and you will find them, hiding in there, and maybe get a glimpse of their underlying capacities. In our experience, we found that showing authentic interest will help them feel dignity and impel them to show you more, complete with maps and navigational tools that may help to guide their development, their growth. Revealed capability, in turn, may lead to a better understanding of what’s possible in the lives of many people who are challenged.”
Their story shows the power of meeting kids where they are at, of joining, of listening intently for small clues to what they are experiencing and trying to communicate, immensely challenging though it might be. We are also reminded of the critical role of shared play and imagination in collaborating with children. Amazing stuff.