Friday, May 1, 2009

Conquering the World!

Wow! What an incredible month I've had, I feel amazing! I have been doing lots of outreaches. I am so grateful for the experiences I've had and so proud of myself for really going for it, giving and using ALL of myself...what a dream I am living!

One of the things I have been doing during outreaches that I feel so amazing about is coaching family members. For example, I had a group of seven foster siblings and their parents all listening to suggestions about how to help the youngest in the family (who has autism) around the house and during 1:1 playtime. What a magical time this was for me to share my knowledge and be an inspiration.

When I'm coaching, I use all my experience and knowledge regarding autism (e.g. Psychology degree, workshops, being a foster parent, my training as play therapist and my learnings from parents) and I help families with questions about the playroom as well about things that that come up with their children in the house and in the community.

Some coaching tips for your home based autism treatment program:

Think about how much of what we say and do in the playroom is positive and's well over the majority, perhaps about 90% of the time we are talking it is to celebrate, right? Well, it's no wonder then why the playroom is such a powerful place. The Playroom is like our garden and we are growing "flowers" with the warmth and nourishment of our positive and celebratory words. Are you celebrating yourself, your life, your volunteers as much as you do your special child? If not, why not?

One specific way I like to celebrate volunteers and family members after I observe them in the playroom is to:

1. Point out at least three specific, amazingly, wonderful and effective things the person did and before telling them why I think it was amazing, I celebrate them and ask them why they did it (just as I would with something less effective). This technique is so powerful because, well for starters, who doesn't like talking about the great things they do! And secondly, doing this so hugely grows the behavior that we want to see more of! Thirdly, focusing on the positive is such a beautiful way to connect and possibly shift the energy of feedback sessions. I find that people open up more, are more positive about change, excited and motivated to learn when I focus on what they are doing tremendously...sound familiar? (its what we do with our kids, let's do it for each other too). Exploring things to change can be just as FUN too, it's all about our attitude!

2. Encourage your volunteers to direct their learning (again, as we do with our kids). For example, ask your volunteer to pick a time that they felt amazing and awesome in the room and a time that they felt most uncomfortable and then explore BOTH these moments using Stimulus Belief Response. I find writing each example down on a chart with columns works well.

3. Get comfortable with other people's discomfort!

4. Allow space and time for a person's discomfort. Feel honored and celebrate the person for sharing their feelings with you (especially about discomfort because of the judgments that people may have about being uncomfortable). What a wonderful feeling it is to be accepted at all times, even when we are uncomfortable.


  1. Jeannene, I can feel the positive energy radiating from your post! Hurray!

  2. I'm going to use some of these ideas in my next feedback!!

  3. I'm definately using some of these ideas the next time I do feedback!

  4. Jeanenne, you are incredible! I miss getting to work with you! Let's do some outreaches together!!! We are a great team! :) Thanks for sharing your insights below. It's an honor to have you in the world!


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