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BY Sara

Raising A Voice

I’m in a unique position in that my work life and my family life are incredibly intertwined; they have been for a while now. It allows me to pull learning and relationships through both to do my best work.

The theme that seems to come up over and over again lately is encouraging others to find and use their voice.

It started when I was working with my nephew in the classroom – the biggest revelation in our relationship was RDI and the first thing we needed to do was rebuild trust – he needed to find his voice in our relationship and so my first step was to quiet mine.

We began to communicate mostly nonverbally (tricky for me), and what came through so clearly was his absolute competency, which then led to deep confidence and off he went into the sunset.

My current work is what made me think of this theme in the first place. I was interviewing the staff and students at the YMCA Academy in downtown Toronto for our blog.  Over and over again in every aspect of their school, the student voice is strong and integrated. The students’ ideas are incorporated into everything from their schedule to the actual spatial design of the classrooms and it has a direct, (and very positive) impact on the culture of the school.

When you’re really encouraging someone to use their voice, (and you mean it) you’re inherently respecting them.

In the midst of this, of course, we operate a software company who’s entire focus is to help young kids with autism explore their interests, build a positive sense of self and reach out to their parents in a visual way.

This idea has been brewing on social media for a while now. We have a vibrant and talented community of voices speaking our about their own autism.  Carly Fleischmann and her incredible book co-written by her and her dad Arthur (if you haven’t read it, it’s a must), Henry Frost of #IStandWithHenry, artist Anabelle Listic and blogger Paul Seibenthal, to name a few.

It’s a new day – a good one, and I’m going to spend most of my time listening for a change.

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Written on May 5, 2013 by:

Sara Winter is a mom of two boys and the founder of a recreational application for kids with autism to connect with one another.

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