More than two years ago, we moved Sebastien, my autistic son, to Bali, after struggling for 5–6 years with his aggression and self-injury. As a homeschooling mother who was committed to understanding her son, I was confused and devastated at Sebastien's transformation after his puberty.
Amazingly, our heartbreaking decision would lead to a fortuitous encounter between Dr. Antonio Rinaldi, an Italy-based clinical psychologist, who met Sebastien at Sari Hati School during his holiday in Bali. These photos chronicle their first encounter that took place just days after I left a distraught Sebastien for the very first time since he was born.
As a mother who was distressed about her inability to reach her son, it was mind-blowing to witness Sebastien connecting with a complete stranger in such an intimate and trusting manner. And when Dr. Rinaldi "explained" how he was communicating with Sebastien "without words", I took a leap of faith to learn from him.
Under Dr. Rinaldi's tutelage and guidance, the mysterious causes underlying Sebastien's intensifying meltdowns over time were revealed. Just as significantly, he showed me and my carers how we could forge a relationship with Sebastien based upon empathy and understanding of his autistic functioning.
This is why A Mother's Wish will be using the second half of our funds raised ($875.32, as $241.23 has been contributed to Autism Laos) to spread the knowledge of Dr. Antonio Rinaldi. Our aim is to transform the current behavioural and performance-oriented approaches that are widely used to raise and teach autistic individuals, which are contributing to the eruption of aggression and self-injury from puberty onwards.
The funds will be partially used to sponsor a 3-hour talk via Skype by Dr. Rinaldi, creator of A.T.D.R.A. [trans., DYNAMIC RELATIONAL THERAPY APPROACH (created in WATER)], on Saturday, February 16th.
Title: INSIDE THE AUTISTIC MIND: Introducing A.T.D.R.A.
A multi-pronged, empathy-centred approach to forging an authentic relationship with an autistic individual
Outline of Talk:
Why and how are we hurting autistic individuals “for their own good”? Harmfulness of prevalent approaches, perspectives, and attitudes centred on behaviour and performance, which ignore psychological well-being and autistic functioning.
Date & Time: 19:00–22:15
Venue: Central Business District (exact location to be decided)
Commitment Cost: Largely sponsored by A Mother's Wish; Fee of SGD11.60/person to reduce attrition and Peatix fee, all proceeds will go towards A Mother's Wish)
With this initiation into Dr. Rinaldi's A.T.D.R.A., we hope to generate the interest and funding to bring him in person to Singapore to train teachers at schools and work with families in workshops and consultations.
To attend this event and learn more about Dr. Rinaldi, please go to: https://autisticmindatdra.peatix.com/