Dearest most amazing teachers, guides and friends,
It is my huge privilege and honour to train at the Autism Treatment Center of America (TM) as a professional Son-Rise Program Child Facilitator. I want to share with you my huge and heartfelt gratitude for the beauty and power of The Son-Rise Program. I want to share how totally I have changed my life since embracing The Son-Rise Program. But most of all I want to share a HUGE celebration for Thomas Sherlock, the little boy with whom I first started volunteering. His parents have just had an outreach with Sean Fitzgerald (registered Son-Rise Program Teacher) and have been told that they are practically at the finishing line for Tom – he is almost TOTALLY RECOVERED from his autism!
I first met Tom in January 2005. He had been in his program for 5 months and had moved from being totally non-verbal to having a vocabulary of 200 single words. I remember spending hours lining up pens on the skirting board with this little friend and staring off into space for great chunks of time. After 2 months playing with Tom he honoured me by saying his first two word sentence to me: “Red boat”. I played with Tom almost every day for 2 1/2 years, travelling an hour and a half each way just so I could spend 2 beautiful hours with this fun and funny little friend. Together we moved and changed ourselves in so many profound ways. After attending UK Start-Up in 2006 I found within myself a totally new way to be loving and playful with this little guy. We used to have the craziest times together: pretending to be super-hero potatoes, holding funerals for mangoes, chasing each other as monkeys around the local supermarket. When my grandfather died I was privileged to be able to teach Tom about death and he was so sweet, understanding and supportive of me at that time. At a time in my life when I was giving myself many challenges Tom held my hand, loved me and accepted and showed ME the way to be a better version of myself. Through him I learned the beauty of giving myself totally to another person. And in return I helped Tom to become the most amazing inspiration. Two months after I left his program Tom started part-time in mainstream school. Now he is the most popular kid in his class. So many children want to be his friend and he is the most playful, creative and interactive kid at playtime! Recently he played the role of Judas in his school Easter play and his teacher told his mum that any parent watching would never have guessed Tom’s autism… he had tears in his eyes as he said this.
I just want you to know and celebrate the bravery and courage of this incredible boy. He has had the strength and daring to step outside of his comfort zone, to reach out to us and to want to change himself. And his parents, Andy and Jackie are such forces of nature – their passion and love has shone such a clear path for Thomas to lead him into our world. I am so grateful to him for loving me, accepting me and showing me this amazing, powerful and beautiful way of being in the world. Tom will forever be my inspiration for daring action and challenging myself to take that step into the unknown. I am so lucky to have such a brave and wonderful friend.
And thank you to us all for this amazing gift that we give to the world. What we teach is so beautiful, so impactful and so profoundly life-changing. For every child’s life that has been touched by this program I whole-heartedly give you thanks. Let’s all shine so bright and light the way for every special person.
Stay tuned for more exciting playroom stories and celebrations!
With all my love and appreciation for each and every one of you.