It’s finally officially autumn, though the signs of summer being ushered out have been all around us. Did you notice the shadows that now cross your path that only weeks ago were not there? Or the low light that is now cast through the afternoon windows that just minutes before seemed brighter? Change. It’s always happening, whether or not we are paying attention.
Deliberate, purposeful change is altogether different than the inevitable changes like growing older, the weather and the seasons. Deliberate change takes thought, effort, flexibility to take risks and the willingness to adeptly shift course. At The Helix School this year, as was discussed in last month’s blog post, we made growth our keystone habit after reading Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. We are working to grow with purpose and intention and along the way, we are embracing the messy business of change.
One of the ways we are cultivating our growth momentum is by looking outward. Although we are doing plenty of work looking at our internal systems and processes, we understand how important it is to connect with others, share our story and create opportunities to make an impact within the larger community who are working and living with autism. In order to best serve children on the autism spectrum, we must reach out to other schools and organizations. We cannot operate in a silo. THS is an excellent, small school which must remain small in order to best serve our population. So even if we could be a school with 100 children, that is still just 100 children with autism when there are thousands of families in the Bay Area alone who are dealing with this. We want to make an impact, to change the way children with autism are being educated. And so in big and small ways, we are reaching out, leading a hand, collaborating and joining forces with other organizations to learn from them, share our knowledge, and extend our impact.
How have we started doing this? In the last few months, we joined forces with the DIR/Floortime Coalition of California, an activist group located in San Diego and lobbied with them in Sacramento to help families get insurance coverage for the developmental treatments prescribed by their doctors. We were successful in sharing our story to the California State Assembly and now the bill sits on Governor Brown’s desk. We are sharing our expertise by starting a training program to help public and parochial school educators better understand their students with autism by giving them a developmental perspective and tools to use inside their classrooms. Last month, we went to the TEDx Marin conference and shared the importance of providing a specialized education to children with autism with many of the over 700 attendees. We have joined the Marin Autism Collaborative and we are working on parent outreach with them. And finally, we have been approached to help develop a task force on special education in Marin County.
Growth always involves change, but not all change indicates growth. Take time to stop and ask yourselves, in the midst of your own busy lives, “Am I growing and changing with purpose? Or am I being carried away only by the change that is inevitable?”