Lana is an adult with autism, nonverbal, who communicates through facilitated communication (a facilitator offering resistance by pushing back on her hand so that she can focus enough to point to a letter on a piece of paper). There are many obstacles to her successful connection and communication. There are also many behavioral indications that might cause someone to make incorrect assumptions about her cognitive level and her potential level of impact in the world.
I try to make sure that the students I work with are as actively and personally involved in their own learning process as possible and involved in creating the specific content of the Video Story. So, with some uncertainty of whether I would get a response, I asked Lana, “What goes on in your head when you have an impulse? And what is happening when you do manage you’re an impulse? Because I know you have hundreds of impulses that you are successfully able to manage everyday. I wonder if you can fill us in with some information about what it feels like and what is actually already working for you?”
She surprised me with her answer. She said, “When I have an impulse, I try to justify the impulse. I am thinking, ‘It’s too damn hot.’ or ‘There’s a pain in my gut.’ But I get no Love from justifying the impulse; only hurt from the impulse. Love is what is essential to me. I yearn for Love. Just Love. If I can remind myself of Love, and the other person’s needs, and the importance of our relationship, then I can manage the impulse. Just Love.”
This is deep insight into the nature of things. I wrote these statements on post-it notes and put it on my fridge to remind me of how to manage my own impulses.
Then we created a great Video Story with her input that included that inspiration as the main theme.