The Center for Discovery: “A Community Inspired by People with Disabilities”
I want to tell you about my recent visit to a very special place. It is called The Center for Discovery and it sits on 1400 acres of land in upstate New York about 80 miles north of NYC. It’s a residential facility for children and young adults with special needs, with a majority of them being on the autism spectrum. The Center also provides services to approximately 700 non-residents with special needs. They have 1500 staff members and the Rudolf Steiner approach is at the heart of their philosophy.
Dr. Martha Herbert at Harvard Medical School, author of The Autism Revolution, connected me with The Center for Discovery. I was invited to present my work to a number of their staff and professionals working with people in this community. I also provided demonstrations on two children with special needs.
What struck me first was how loving, caring, open-minded, and intelligent these people are. They do the Enthusiasm Essential real well! The workshop presentation was wonderful, and obviously, many of the concepts were new, especially to the therapists trained in more traditional approaches. The entire group was especially interested and eager to learn.
Then came the demonstrations. I had the therapists of each of the children join me. One child was a 7-year-old boy with a diagnosis of severe autism. I also saw very profound emotional, interpersonal early trauma in this child. The participants watched the lesson on a large screen TV connected to numerous cameras in the room where I worked.
I know from what they told me that the participants were deeply moved by what they saw and they asked lots of questions later on. But, that wasn’t all….I found myself deeply moved and transformed by being able to connect to this little boy and to get him to seek contact and actually become playful with me.
We are hoping to find ways to collaborate with Terry, who runs The Center for Discovery, and the people who work with her. They are all amazing human beings! They are doing what I would consider sacred work, and they are also very interested in scientific research. We want to work with them in the future and take advantage of their amazing facilities to do research that will hopefully help promote and usher in the adoption of the principles and practice of Anat Baniel Method® NeuroMovement®.