I recently attended the annual conference hosted by (and at) The Rebecca School in NYC. The Rebecca School is one of the few schools in the country that has fully embraced Stanley Greenspan’s DIR model as a foundational principle; I consider this program to be the closest thing to a “sister school” that we have. Their focus on engagement and reciprocity as an essential element to academic learning and social-emotional growth resonates with me tremendously.
The conference itself was strong, as usual. The keynote speaker was Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, an Autistic woman of color, educator, writer, public speaker, parent, and global advocate. I loved hearing her perspective on her own experiences. She also attended my own presentation later in the day, and it was great to hear some of her validating comments about the work that we are doing.
Sara Morgan and I attended a range of presentations; many focused on the nuts and bolts of DIR education—how to tap into the intrinsic interests of students while strengthening their ability to manage frustration, problem-solve with each other, and find purpose in life.
At the end of the day was an enormous panel that focused on relationships of many kinds: parent-child, sibling, supervisor-employee, and more. In each case, at least one of the partners in these relationships was on the spectrum, and it was wonderful to see and hear about these authentic, durable relationships.
If you can find your way to NYC, this is an excellent conference to attend at a classy organization. Plus, who wouldn’t enjoy a drink with the Rebecca School staff and a weekend in the city afterwards!
– Dave Nelson, Executive Administrative Director