This Saturday I had the fantastic opportunity to represent CSNIPs, the charity that I am involved with, at the annual Early Years Scotland (formerly SPPA) conference in Glasgow. As well as a fantastic opportunity to network for the charity this was a great opportunity for CPD.
I was looking forward to listening to Maria Aarts, the founder of Marte Meo International, talking about her work. This was the first I had heard of this approach and was curious to learn more about the Developmental Support program that has been used in over 43 countries.
Maria Aarts is an interesting women and it was clear as she spoke that she is passionate about the program she has built. Yet the more I listened to her the more I recognised smatterings of Phoebe Caldwell’s Intensive interaction approach, The Son-Rise program from America and Suzanne Zeedyke’s connected baby.
Although the concepts were not new to me I had never quite seen them used altogether. What really caught my attention was that the family are fully involved from the outset. They are asked what they wanted to get from the program and where they expected to get to, what Maria referred to as the When , What and Why. The program was then tailored around where the developmental point of the child is and the needs of the family.
Maria Aarts started her work as an autism specialist and was involved in child psychiatry and it is clear from her publications that most of her research and work has been developed with autistic children in mind. However in saying that I do believe that what works for an autistic child will work for children who fit the developmental norm too, and this has been proven with her program being used all over the world.
Key points of her program are:
- providing detailed and practical information for parents
- supporting social, emotional and communication needs of children
- identify and activate and develop supportive interactions
- enables formerly disturbed developmental processes to be repaired
As much as I admire the work that Maria Aarts does and the achievements she has had. I cant help feeling disappointed that It is not a new approach for me.