Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Manifesting a school for us

I don’t know how or when, but lately I keep thinking that maybe I will end up creating a school for autistic kids. A place where they won’t have to deal with judgment and self-esteem killers in their formative years, where they’ll be able to be themselves and show their unique gifts and pursue their passions while they learn functional skills and practical knowledge all around collaborative projects, where a culture of emotional intelligence will surround them and motivate them to expand socially and learn to manage (maybe soften) their sensory sensitivities so then they can take all the judgment and challenges they will find in the world while they pursue their own purpose.

I want a place like this right now for my son.

I have a place like this right now for him at home, but we’re missing others. We’re now at a point where community is a possibility, and a time when working with others (“neurodiversity-friendly” others) will enrich us.

I think this may start with 2 kids, 2 families maybe, then 3 and 4 and we won’t call it a school for a while. And maybe this little community will take a life of its own and become something bigger. Or maybe it will serve only the kids in it.

Really, I am so not the type for this work. I don’t reach out. I’m a hard working Maria that does and learns everything she needs to avoid asking anything from others. I’m afraid of rejection, and of going bigger and failing. I am no leader. Never have been.

But what if this lovely vision I hold for ourselves reveals itself and evolves slowly and comfortably? What if allowing myself to color it and happily see it in detail in my mind is somehow manifesting some events that will lead us there? What if it’s already began?

. . . . .

Update: I wrote and sent this clear desire out to the ether and the Universe connected me immediately with Otto Specht School. Everything lined up and moved us at terrifying fast speed to travel to New York state, visit the school, and consider seriously moving to it. The three days Joaquin lived in this school gave him much to perceive. He loved being there, and this cracked his old resistance to the concept of school –which contributed to a leap and victorious outcome four months later.

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