We believe first and foremost in treating all people with respect and dignity. We have experienced first-hand how autistic people can flourish with the right set of tools, along with support and encouragement. A lack of purposeful speech does NOT mean a person has no language, or no advanced thoughts. Speech and language originate in different areas of the brain that work together for purposeful, oral communication. Speech requires coordination of fine motor skills, whereas language is a conceptual set of symbols that have meaning. Through carefully structured lessons, and with graduated verbal and gestural prompts, we help our non-speaking and unreliably speaking clients develop the motor skills to communicate via spelling on a letterboard. We also incorporate other techniques to aid in sensory management and in creating more purposeful movement.
Rachel has worked with autistic children and children with other disabilities for almost 20 years. Initially trained as a behavioral therapist, and then yoga teacher, she found that she had a gift for connecting with people who sometimes struggled with connection. After a hiatus from the field to further her education in nutrition and to work in corporate wellness, Rachel discovered the relationship-based approach of Natural Play Therapy, and then Spelling to Communicate. These tools have drawn her back to her roots and her love of helping children and families develop more communication and connection.