I had just retired from teaching and received a call to finish out a maternity leave for a special education teacher. I made arrangements with the teacher to become acquainted with the students and the program. I walked into this huge classroom and saw with amazement that a large part of the room was blocked off with gym mats on the floors and walls. When I talked to the teacher, I discovered that she had six students, one of whom required this large, padded area.
I listened attentively to the needs of all the students, in particular the student who seemed to have so much reign over the classroom. I was told this 12-year-old student had a diagnosis of autism with significant behavior, sensory and communication needs. I was told that she liked to draw and because of her acting out behaviors was allowed to do as she wished at the dry erase board, which spanned one entire wall.
I could tell there was a real fear of this unpredictable child. I was told to just survive the next few weeks. Well, you just don’t tell a veteran special education teacher of 31 years to survive. This was not in my nature! I left that day with a lot of curiosity and anticipation of what was to come.
The first day of school in comes this tall, slim girl with big round eyes that went straight to the dry erase board. She avoided contact with anyone. To look at her you wouldn’t think she would be a threat to anyone. However, every child and staff member stayed clear of her. That did not stop her! Before the school day ended she literally jumped on the back of her paraprofessional, a trained aid working specifically with this child. The paraprofessional got hurt and refused to work with her. This child attracted quite an audience whenever there was an incident such as this. The principal, vice principal, counselors and other various staff would encircle her and sit and contemplate what to do with her. I wondered too!
The next day was a new day. I watched and observed as she drew these amazing pictures across the dry erase board. She was not just talented; she was gifted in her artistic ability. I study Metaphysics, which is a study of the mind. Here, I learned essential life skills such as undivided attention, concentration and listening. These skills are important in observation.
I gave this child my undivided attention and realized that my study of interpretation of dreams could be applied to the interpretation of her drawings. I have learned to interpret dreams by using Universal Language of Mind. This is a language of pictures and symbols that is universal to anyone, anywhere, any place that interprets messages from dreams. I had a very clear image of how this could work to interpret this child’s drawings and open up a line of communication with her.
This child was practically nonverbal. She used very few words to communicate, yet you could see the intelligence shine in those round eyes. She had no way to communicate her needs and would become very frustrated. Her senses were so over stimulated that she would climb up cabinets to get as high as she could and throw herself onto the floor as hard as she could. I would observe and could see a very talented and gifted child that was locked in a prison within her own mind. I had the key that could give her a voice to release and draw out her full potential.
I wanted to open the lines of communication with this child and I wanted to teach her the basic skills of reading and writing. I visualized how I would interpret a drawing by making a cloud above it and as I verbally interpreted her drawing I would write the words in the clouds to teach her letter and word recognition.
The paraprofessional said she would not let me near the dry erase board. My image was very strong and I held a knowing that she would respond. I would interpret a drawing and when I was on track she would let me write. When I was off track she would erase my words. We would go back and forth as she would draw, I would interpret, then she would erase that picture and we would continue the conversation. It was beautiful! She had a voice and I added to my plan.
In the next two weeks I visualized and put into action steps to transition her to working at a desk or a table for short lengths of time. She let me know she was ready. One day I was working with another student and I looked up to see her writing letters, numbers and a few sight words in a cloud on the board. She was imitating me! She was opening up and it was a sight for sore eyes! My heart soared!
She then moved into allowing other students to approach and share her dry erase board. She started to use more words. She was communicating, interacting and learning! The frustration lessened and there was a significant decrease in her need for sensory stimulation.
She was now sitting with other students at snack time and story time. She had a voice and she was a different child. The paraprofessional and other staff could more easily work with her in speech, art, music, physical and occupational therapy. The paraprofessional commented that she learned more in these few weeks than in the previous year that she had been there.
This child’s self image changed within a short period of time. In the beginning she would draw pictures of herself on paper with a black magic marker. These pictures were very bleak, dark and grotesque. She would crumple each picture and throw it to the floor. She was communicating how she felt about herself. Then one day after a few weeks of working with her, her picture changed. She drew a picture of herself with bright colors. She had a smile on her face and a bright, yellow sunshine in the background. She had a voice and this changed the way she saw herself! Universal Language of Mind makes a difference!
I want to share one of the most beautiful conversations that I had with her. She came into school one day sad and angry. She immediately went to the dry erase board and started to draw. She first drew a picture of a woman who was her mother and who was obviously yelling and upset. I told her that her mom may be angry with her but she still loved her. She then drew a picture of a man who was her father. She depicted him as sad and crying. I said to her that her dad was sad for her and wanted her and her mother to be happy. I told her, her dad loved her.
She then drew a picture of her mom cradling her as an infant in her arms very lovingly. I simply told her, “Your mother loves you.” She then drew a picture of her father with a big smile on his face and her standing beside him as a toddler. Again, I told her, “Your father loves you.” She then drew a picture of the three of them holding hands with her in the middle. She drew a big heart above them, let out a big sigh and walked to the table to start her day. She worked this through because she had a voice, she could talk it out with another person in a different way. Universal Language of Mind gave her that voice!
On the last day that I was there, this child on her own initiative gave me a kiss on the cheek. This was all I needed to know that I made a difference in this child’s life. It was a heart-felt moment that I will treasure forever! In Universal Language of Mind a kiss represents loving acknowledgement of a part of self, meaning that she was rooted in love and harmony within herself. What better acknowledgement of progress can you receive than that!
I know that not every child with the diagnosis of autism has the ability to draw. However, there are some who do. I wanted to share this story for those children. The knowledge that I have of Universal Language of Mind gave this child a way to communicate and I want others to discover that also. All my years of experience with children having special needs contributed to this child’s progress. What made the difference in giving her a voice was my knowledge and experience with Universal Language of Mind and dream interpretation. For more information regarding the School of Metaphysics, Universal Language of Mind and dream interpretation go to
Debbie Hudson is a retired special education teacher of 31 years. She has a BSE degree in special education and a Masters degree in education with certification in early childhood and early childhood special education. She is also a student in the School of Metaphysics and has been a teacher of Metaphysics for nine years. She has her Respondere and Qui Docet Discit honoring the completion of two cycles of lessons with the School of Metaphysics. She is a certified Dream Interpretation Coach and holds a Psi Counseling certificate.
This article was featured in Issue 46 – The Time for Acceptance