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Sometimes you have to leave where you are to find where you want to go and what is truly important to you. This was the case for Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz. She had to leave her location and her reality to find out home was actually the best place for her to be. She needed seemingly unrelated events to converge into what became her new truth. The idea of synchronicity comes from the psychologist Carl Jung. Jung used the idea of synchronicity to help explain those events which seem to have no cause and effect and yet converge in a certain time and place to have a meaningful outcome. He believed that synchronicity helped move people away from their egocentric conscious to a greater wholeness.

Recently, I had an Oz experience. Ironically, it took place in Australia which is at times referred to as Oz. In Australia they have the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which supports people with a permanent and significant disability that affects their ability to take part in everyday activities. Under the NDIS the families and the individuals have better control over the moneys they are given to choose the services needed. So, in my recent workshop in Australia, about half the attendees were family members while the other half were made up of professional care providers. In my 18 years of delivering Mandt I had never experienced this breakdown in an instructor course. Not even close.

Part of the training course is where participants have to teach back the materials with a partner. In this particular event, over half the teach backs had a family member teaching alongside their family members care provider. After a couple of them I actually became emotional watching for the first time, my hopes and dreams for the future of individualized care, played out in front of me. Having spent 31 years as a care professional and the past 12 years as a parent of a child with unique challenges, I often have reflected on how to better bring those worlds together. All too often I have witnessed these two groups with an “us” and “them” mentality.

I can truly say I am changed from the training event in Australia. As I examine how to best meet the needs of individuals with challenging behaviors, I will draw from that experience. It will shape my future writings, the way I shape future curriculum, and the way our family helps determine Tyler’s future. A lifetime of seemly unrelated events leading up to me being in Australia at just a particular time, in a particular place, experiencing something which has given me a greater wholeness. This is what Jung would say is synchronicity. Though I would probably call it divine intervention. Call it what you like…it was amazing!

Tim Geels – SVP of Instruction and Implementation

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