In 1999, Susan Moore Vosseler was challenged with a simple question. How would you teach an autistic child to “give me the red cup”? That single activity became her inspiration to design a holistic approach to empower caregivers of autistic children to embrace, accept and overcome challenges with compassion and empathy. Over the last decade, she has compiled her interactions and personal anecdotes into a beautiful book, Give Me the Red Cup: Knowing the Joy in Autism, that provides her unique insight into understanding the autistic mind and leveraging its strengths to do the impossible.
“We are all a little autistic.” When speaking with Ms. Vosseler, her enthusiasm and depth of passion for the autistic community is palpable. She describes autism as different degrees of sensitivities – something that we all manage on a day-to-day basis. Whether we call them preferences or dislikes, what we choose to expose ourselves to is an expression of who we are. Focused on developing curriculum and tools for the caregivers (parents, extended family, educators), Ms. Vosseler is attacking autism from a different angle. While educators are provided with reading material and high-level guidance to develop individual education plans for children on the spectrum, often they are not exposed to the psychological and emotional training that enable them to understand fully how to interact with these children. Building off of her experience as a counselor, she plans to formalize virtual offerings for teachers through her website, www.moorecounseling.today.
One child at a time. One parent at a time. Through her work with autistic children, Ms. Vosseler discovered a gap in how parents are prepared to meet the child’s needs post-diagnosis. While they are armed with reading material, forums and web resources, many parents are not enabled with the emotional and psychological support required to manage the day to day. As a behavioral therapist, she recognized that reinforcing compassion, empathy and patience helped parents to overcome feelings of helplessness, denial and guilt so that they could focus their energy on accepting the challenges in front of them and solving them with their child.
Joy carries us through the rough spots. By providing a safe space with the right tools, Ms. Vosseler has helped many families solve problems themselves. Knowing the child and knowing the parent helps her to develop a comprehensive understanding of what the families require to be successful. Teaching parents to see the joy in everyday moments as opposed to dwelling on the rough patches builds stronger connections with their children – creating repeatable solutions that help everyone accept and adapt to any obstacles thrown their way.
For more information, visit www.moorecounseling.today or read Give Me the Red Cup: Knowing Joy in Autism, available on Amazon.com.