I left Portland yesterday on the continuation of my curious quest. Before leaving Portland I stopped in a busy Starbucks to visit with Erin Cook Moran, a delightful woman who provides psychological services to both younger and older children across the autism spectrum. I shared a bit about what led me to contact her and she shared about what guided her to work with kids on the spectrum. I so appreciated her openness, and she concurred that caregivers are so vital and over-looked. We explored the meaning of 'normal' and 'autistic' and somehow our conversation circuitously lead to these related people, books, resources or films/documentary that at some point I hope to read/listen to/expore: "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv, Collaborative Problem Solving, Ross Greene, and Julius Hchon.
I was then on the way to Jacksonville to stay with friends, and midway I stopped in Roseburg where I shared an all-too-quick visit with Patsy Roberts at the Douglas Education Service District Office. She is a Behavior Specialist serving K-12 as an Autism Specialist. Patsy loaded me up with more information and resources for people to connect with in Southern Oregon either coming or going on my adventure. Without a doubt, Patsy concurred that caregivers are so weary and yet painfully unsupported. We explored the unmet need, felt connected even after a breif visit and before you know it I was on the road again feeling like I have another service provider who 'gets' what I am up to in my hope to serve and suppport those who love and care for someone with autism.
I am in Jacksonville, just above Ashland OR visiting dear friends, Nancy and Sharon, and will head off tomorrow for the Bay Area. Nancy Bardos, artist extraordinaire, gave me the chance to play in her art studio and dive into and foster my calligraphic tendencies, and dear Sharon Mehdi, author of The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering, shared two amazing videos of kids on the spectrum you have to watch: http://youtu.be/eOJVcYHIkZM and http://youtu.be/CpF3326_b5g.
The drive so far has been warm, insightful, and beautiful, and especially meaningful to have time with friends I don't see often enough. It has given me time to reflect what, if anything, to do with my curiosities about the deeper meaning of autism. It fills my heart to meet dedicated people willing to explore my curious questions about Autism and its expanding purpose. No matter what, I am blessed. It doesn't get better than that!