Touch, Connection & Family Bonding
This month began in a fun way. My sister, Sara, and her family came from Edinburgh to stay with us for their two-week Spring Break. We headed to the mountains for the first week and enjoyed some amazing spring skiing with blue skies. The slopes were virtually to ourselves! When we returned, Sara and I met Jane Stevens, Founder and publisher of the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Connection Network which is comprised of two websites, ACEsTooHigh.com and its companion social network, ACEsConnection.com.
My sister had met Jane through her work with the Scottish Government and was impressed with what she had to share. There has been much more recognition in recent years about childhood experiences and their effect on our health and wellbeing in our adult lives. Jane has done an amazing job in bringing all the research and information available on ACEs to the attention of policymakers and the general public as a whole. Through my work in CranioSacral Therapy, I have seen firsthand how our childhood experiences influence us as adults.
Meeting Jane gave me a new perspective on my passion about compassionate touch, and speaking about it. I was interviewed by my friend, Lauren Doko, last week as part of our Empowered Parenting online class. Our interview was titled, How Touch Can Enhance & Deepen Connections in Your Family. My hope is that we can have the discussion about touch in a way that is open and brings less fear. After the interview, a friend shared with me that she had been speaking with one of her friends whose son did not like being hugged by his teacher as it made him uncomfortable.
It's experiences like this one where we have an opportunity to empower our children to be able to find the words to say how they feel and find an alternative solution, such as shaking the teachers' hand. Likewise, it is also an opportunity to bring awareness to the teacher so questions could be asked, "Would you like a hug or a handshake today?"
On another topic, I have just finished reading an amazing book called Handbook of Us by Matteo Musso. He is a 13 year-old boy with Autism. Recently he has been able to communicate using a method called Rapid Prompting Method (RPM). Matteo spells out his thoughts, letter by letter, pointing to an alphabet stencil. I worked with Matteo before he was trained in this way of communicating. After he learned RPM, it was a delight to communicate back and forth with him as this tool has greatly empowered him. The first thing he told me at the end of his CST treatment was, "New energy is just what I need".
I highly recommend Matteo's book for any of you who are connected to Autism in some way. He has sage advice for all of us! One of the highlights for me includes his insight regarding touch. Here's what he writes:
"Okay, now let's look at this through the affectionately blurred lens of the average autism parent:
I just need to be able to hug my child.
Do you? To want that, heck yes!
To need that is a mindset that places so much pressure on us. There are a number of reasons we may not be huggers at any given time."
He went on to explain what some of those reasons might be. It speaks so perfectly to the boy I was sharing about at the beginning of this newsletter.
As always, I really enjoy hearing from you with any thoughts or feedback you have. Email me here.
From My Hands and Heart, Kate xx