Almost a decade ago, Ginger Clarkson, teacher and music therapist at a special school in the USA, decided to adopt the Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) approach to interact with her students with autism. The results were unbelievable. The conversations she had with these non-verbal individuals, prone to seemingly unreasonable meltdowns and tantrums and tempers, turned out to be full of depth, ranging from emotions, to spirituality, to discussions about following one’s dreams and intuitions, and much more. All of which would not have been unlocked had the students not been given the chance to express themselves through facilitated communication and GIM.
Reading her accounts with Jerry, Twyla and Scott has made me see people with autism in a newfound light of respect. They are not as “shut off” as we presume them to be. Their world is accessible – we just need to make the effort to access it. And what they have to teach us definitely makes the effort worth it.