“When I was thirteen, I babysat a 33 year old woman who couldn't eat solid food, use the toilet, walk or talk. She was on her period and I had to change her pad. I was scared but she was more so. She stared at me with desperate eyes and cried for her mother in a moan that ran down my spine. I almost ran away but instead I sat on her bed and with shaking hands stroked her hair and sang about love. She fell asleep. I was changed.”
This is Lynette Louise’s first encounter with an individual with special needs. Since then, she became a special needs supermom, adopting six children - five of which with special needs, four of which having autism - alongside her two biological children. This kick started her career as a Neurofeedback practitioner for those with autism. Such a method “helps strengthen the brain, calms it and improves its stability.” Read more about neurofeedback here. And though this therapy with respect to autism is not widely studied, Lynette has testimonies that work in her favor. These include her previously nonverbal son, who is now 23, verbal, and engaged to be married. Her other mid-level Autism Spectrum Disorder son used to be angry and violent; he is now a helicopter mechanic who's been overseas twice - to Kuwait and Iraq - and currently resides in Vermont. She has also worked with a 7 year old mute girl to help her learn how to speak clearly, and this happened over 6 weeks. Lynette has worked with children to adults, from the “brilliant quirky to the non-verbal, violent, and diapered”. These days, she is working on making her techniques available to all. Click here for more information on the movie she currently has under production, and the campaign Lynette has launched to promote and fundraise for it!
But in addition to being a mom and an autism therapist, Lynette is also a PhD student, pursuing her degree in Clinical Pyschophysiology, as well as a performer who tours in the US and Canada. When asked how she balances all these roles, Lynette answered that she just changes “hats, costumes, microphones and audiences. Variety is fun and I learned that resisting work is exhausting so instead I just do it. And when I am with my family I say quietly to myself ‘Remember, this is why you are here.’”
In addition to her family, Lynette is driven by her desire to see “a world full of people who teach to the person, not the label. A world full of people who would sit on that bed and stroke her hair, rather than run away. And yes, my goals are lofty.”
She is also encouraged by the community she is a part of: “It always feels exciting to work with socially and verbally challenged people. It is only possible to make these differences if I am completely focused in the moment and the whole family jumps on board. That makes for an entire unit of 'focused on healing' people. BEING WITHIN THAT TYPE OF COMMUNITY FEELS AWESOME!”
However, she is aware that the autism/special needs community is far from perfect, and pinpoints “politics” as the most surprising aspect of it. “It never occurred to me that there would be so much anger and fighting amongst this population, their relatives and caregivers. There is a constant tendency to sidetrack into 'issues' and argue about things rather than take action and get busy fixing.”
And fixing is ultimately “not the government's job, or the teacher's job, or the doctor's job, or the parent's job, or the neighbor's job or any other advocates’ job, unless that person is you. Fact is it is always, your job. So do it, happily!”
Lynette believes that the secret to a healthy, wholesome, and effective community stems “from working together. People who are desperate or angry don't do togetherness well, so take care of yourself first. Become a good member of a great community, and we will find the answers while enjoying the challenges.”
Her enthusiasm and desire to see change, to fight and advocate, make Lynette Louise an Autism Hero, AutisMate's Autism Hero of the Week-AutismHOW! It is a privilege to write about her and her efforts, and we would like to thank her for taking the time to answer our questions!