Lisa’s program mission can be condensed into two statements:
- Teaching parents to guide their children in a manner that builds the child’s competent enactment of their role as mentally active dynamic learning Apprentices.
- Teaching parents to guide their children in a manner that builds the Students’ essential motivation, responsibility and neural foundations for Dynamic Intelligence.
If we were fortunate, we could remain blissfully unaware of this behind-the-scenes brain and mind building process we call the Guiding Relationship. That is, if nothing went wrong. But what if it did? What if a child was born with neural vulnerabilities so great that they disrupted the natural guiding process?
The most talented guides cannot succeed when they are unable to obtain reliable feedback from the child to determine the edge of their child’s competence. Without this feedback, guides can no longer safely present productive challenges causing the guiding process to quickly break down or never develop in the first place. Some children, such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, are born with such significant neurological problems that even the most capable parent is unable to function as a guide. Until our program was initiated in 2001 an initial failure to form a Guiding Relationship meant that opportunities for children’s dynamic mental and neural development were irrevocably lost. There were no courses in guiding. There were no books or manuals.
By the end of the first year of life, infants who have experienced success in the Guiding Relationship respond to the experience of uncertainty by entering a state of mind scientists refer to as “studying.” When children are in a state of studying, their heart rate slows, their movement decreases and their attention clarifies. Once they decide to engage with new situations, children’s brains release powerful and highly pleasurable neuro-chemicals that sustain their engagement. Their brains also begin exploring new neural connections, determining which best provide the new integration needed to solve the problem.
Without the Guiding Relationship, the child’s brain fails to develop in a neurally integrated manner. Children’s minds fail to develop critical abilities needed to understand change, to perceive the world from different perspectives, and to perceive shades of “grey” rather than viewing problems as either “black or white.” The child grows up unable to speculate, wonder, or improvise. When problems do not work out as planned they have no way to adapt and then do not develop feelings of competence. The parents lose their sense of empowerment.
The program is considered successful once the Guiding Relationship between parents and the vulnerable child becomes solidly established and provides a learning environment for the child’s development of Dynamic Intelligence. Success is also determined by the students’ ability to transfer their apprentice role to other safe, consistent adult guides.
In the final analysis, success cannot be measured by checking mastered objectives off a list. Rather, it must be based on the ability of the family to construct and maintain an environment for the vulnerable child that provides lifelong opportunities for mental growth and that eventually leads to the child’s self-management and personal ownership of development.
- Families who face neurological challenges including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, etc
- A divorce or fallout that leads to disruption in children’s lives. Sometimes this can even lead to separation or relocation. These are times when it is difficult to sustain a relationship.
- A traumatic adoption or foster care process, a separation or geographic distancing can also contribute to a disruption of the GPR.
- Student Assessment, Planning & Obstacle Management
- Personal Assessment, Planning & Support
- Set the stage for Guiding
- Guiding Methods
- Knowledge Management
- Applied Guiding
Under each goal is a series of objectives that you will master by working on assignments.
The Family Consultation Program provides parents with the basic tools needed to guide. Lisa breaks down each step for parents, creating an exact picture of their specific role. Once this information is digested, parents focus on how to modify the family communication environment to reinforce thoughtful, respectful communication in two parts. The first focuses on the guide helping the child gradually become a responsible co-collaborator. The second teaches guides to observe and analyze themselves, their apprentice and the state of the guided participation process, as well as learning when and how to insert new cognitive challenges into activities.