Isabelle Rapin: A Continued Influence on Autism


Dr. Isabelle Rapin, a continued influence on autism and a renowned teacher, passed away this week at the age of 89. Dr. Isabelle Rapin often expressed that the favorite part of her work was her joy in teaching. She is well known for bringing the concept of autism to the forefront when autism was not yet a concept. Embracing her open-minded perspective can continue to influence us well into the future.

As the Author of Autism:The Spiritual Approach to Intervention, I find this a perfect opportunity to honor Dr. Isabelle Rapin and her work. One of the most crucial aspects of her work fits right into the spiritual category. Dr. Rapin consistently examined and cautioned extreme diligence in the autism diagnostic process. Is this autism? That is a question that remains a part of the climate even today.

As educators, therapists and parents, we are coming to understand that each and every child has a unique set of gifts and a unique set of support and communication needs. So the delicate balance is to gain a proper diagnosis so that a variety of services might come available, while at the same time keeping up excitement for his outrageously spiritual gifts…embracing his diving mission and supporting him in his life’s purpose.

Working Together for A Whole Result

The 4-step process that was designed as Autism: The Spiritual Approach to Intervention can help with that balance. When we choose the best mind/body support for a child in the classroom, in the therapeutic setting, and at home, then interject spirit in a straightforward and practical way, we can find the balance. We can do what we need to do in accordance with a practical diagnosis, and at the same time know that the sky is the limit for the child in our care.

I predict that the impassioned work of Dr. Isabelle Rapin will go on through all of us who desire to understand, reach and intimately communicate with a child on what we call the autism spectrum, whether our focus is diagnostics, neurology, or the spiritual approach. It’s only when we open our hearts and minds to one another that the holistic answers will come for the children we love.

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