aka Autism Mama
I often wonder why we say "Tell me THE truth; don't tell me A lie". I'm reminded of it when people say "If you know a child with Autism, you know A child with Autism". Like every other person on the planet, children with Autism are unique and thrive when given support, learning systems and an approach to health that is theirs and theirs alone.
The META Approach to Autism honors each individual and their unique talents and needs while offering a structure upon which anyONE can build a beautiful life.
“Happiness, not in another place but this place, not for another hour but this hour”
Little Life Lessons
A META Approach to Autism
One of the most foundational concepts of the META-Method is simplicity. It is the practice of reducing complex ideas to down to their simplest form. I couldn't think of anything more fundamental when constructing a homeschool program for my son than the basic needs of all human beings. This its the fertile landscape in which Little Life Lessons was conceived.
Little Life Lessons: LIVE. LOVE. LEARN.
Maslow the desire or drive towards self-actualization is influenced by how our basic needs are being met. He believed that until our physiological needs are met, the need for food, sleep, shelter etc, we are be unable to move to the next level of safety. And then, feeling emotionally, personally, financially secure, we are then able to move towards the social interactions and intimacy of the third level etc.
It took me 10 years to realize that the simplest and most fundamental issues our son was dealing with was, and still is, anxiety and sensory issues. He didn't sleep, he was nutrient deficient because of his limited diet and refusal of anything resembling a vitamin or supplement and his anxiety was off the charts. So while the speech therapists focused on speech delays, the behavior therapists honed in on behavioral issues and the OTs practiced motor skills, the truth of the matter was that the real barrier to his learning ANY of it was that the kid felt like jumping out of his own skin ALL the time. Without this strong physiological foundation of a healthy body, things like personal care and academics were impossible to address much less master. We had to deal with what was going on in his body before we could move forward to anything else. It had been 10 years and I was coming to realize that Shaun was going to have it no other way.
For most of us, not only people with autism, a sense of security is of utmost importance to our overall feeling of well-being. Our brains are hardwired to look for threats in our environment but, as we all know, the perception of a threat can be just as scary as if the threat was real. Helping children with autism feel safe and secure poses unique challenges but again, this is a necessary support structure if one is to climb to the heights of an extraordinary life.
In the META-Method, we say that we must first become whole within our Selves before we can be fully in relationship with an other. In LLL the same is true. Autistic people have specific physiological and emotional needs that must be met before the can interact with their environment and the people around them. The first two categories of human needs are rooted in the LIVE portion of LLL whereas the next two are focused on LOVE.
In the previous tier of needs, lessons revolve around interaction and connection with people and the environment. This next level requires us to look at our relationship with ourselves. These lessons are challenging for typical children (and adults for that matter) but developing a strong sense of Self as a Whole; mental, emotional, physical and spiritual Being is of vital importance in the development of a healthy, happy, well-adjusted individual.
The pinnacle of all our Life Lessons differs not for people with autism. It is unique to each individual soul and I believe it is our work to nurture this very personal relationship with God/Universe not only for our children but for our Selves and our communities, our world and this universe.
But wait...There's MORE!
META-Needs & META-Pathology
Maslow coined a term called META-MOTIVATION which referred an innate drive within a self-actualized individual towards fulfillment and meaning in life. He called this GROWTH MOTIVATION insinuating that it is in our very nature to constantly seek to experience new things in order to expand our understanding of our Selves and our place in the Universe. His observation was that people who were self-actualized, aka felt their needs were met, felt free to explore the world and all life has to offer.