I have a music therapist friend who works in schools for students with autism. He recently confided in me that his least favorite setting is high school—not because of the kids, but because of the staff. He’s tired, he said, of “all the eye-rolling.” Having worked in a high school for “lower-functioning” students with autism, I immediately knew what he meant. As the kids get older, and the gap between their developmental age and their chronological age gets wider, the attitude of the staff gets noticeably less positive. Along with the eye-rolling, you also get head-shaking and, with some staff, a confrontational “don’t-try-me” demeanor.
As a parent, I’ve experienced the same kind of negativity. I remember the last time I tried to take Marco to his summer program at school. He had had a rough summer the year before, but I’d forgotten all about that, since a whole year had gone by. When we arrived at the “meet and greet,” I was really happy to see familiar faces from the previous summer. I was all set to hear warm greetings: “Marco! How ARE you? You’ve gotten so big!” Instead we got stony silence. They were NOT happy to see us, and they were not trying to hide it. I almost cried on the spot.
I never realized how much other people’s negativity was getting to me until I started taking the NPT Connection Course. The attitude of the coaches and the other parents is so joyously positive and accepting, it feels like an infusion of pure love every time I take the class. When we share our videos, there is a genuine appreciation for the beauty, intelligence, and strength of each child. And the attitude of acceptance and appreciation extends to everyone—children, parents, and coaches-in-training. There is no judgment—only support and encouragement.
This ethos of acceptance is not an optional part of NPT. It is carefully woven into the fabric of this wonderful program. From the number-one goal for all children—achieving deep emotional trust—to the genuine respect that is extended to every member of a child’s team, NPT is all about love.
On days when we don’t have class, I really miss it. I’m eager to get together with my classmates, to hear about the progress they’re making with their kids and clients, to watch their videos, and share my own. But what I’m really yearning for is that dose of optimism, enthusiasm, and love. In addition to all the practical tips and the thought-provoking discussion, I come away from every class session with a heartful of happiness. And then, of course, I pass it on to Marco!
To be honest, I’m a little nervous about what’s going to happen when the course is over and I’m not getting my bi-weekly boost. But I’m also optimistic, because the last part of the Connection Course is all about creating our own circles of support, and spreading the attitude of love and appreciation to all of the people in Marco’s life. I’m looking forward to that part of the class, and I’ll be sure to share what I learn in this blog.
Here is a sneak peek into some of the love Alicia described. One of our clients (outside of our NPT Connection Course) shared a beautiful video of herself playing with her son in a private Video Check-In Consultation. It fit perfectly into one of our upcoming classes so I asked her permission to share it with our class (and you). We watched her video as a class...
To apply for future classes, visit our NPT Connection Course Page.