Melissa and Steve are parents to two young boys on the autism spectrum. They had noticed their older son developing a black and white view of good and bad behavior, leading to self-punishment over any perceived mistakes. Melissa has a background in psychology, and wanted to introduce her boys to positive affirmations as a tool to teach self-love and acceptance. She searched for affirmations set to music, but couldn’t find anything that was pleasant or catchy enough for children and their parents to share. Steve has been producing hip hop for many years, and the idea was born to create their own affirmations set to upbeat Motown inspired music. Melissa and Steve collaborated on what lessons they wanted to drive home, focusing on aesthetically pleasing imagery and messages of self-love in success or failure. Thus was born The Affirmations Collective, with a four track EP ‘My Home is Happy’ recently released on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music and all other major platforms.

In this episode of the Major Pain podcast we listen to all four tracks from The Affirmations Collective, while learning about Melissa and Steve’s journey raising two children on the autism spectrum. Before their oldest son’s second birthday they had begun noticing traits that were different than other children his age. He didn’t like being in big groups, was delayed in language, would scream unprompted and had no interest playing with other children. After pushing doctors to evaluate their son, he was diagnosed with autism at a very young age. Both parents were completely unfamiliar with autism, but began wrapping their heads around the wide spectrum of neurodivergence while their son began working with specialists to develop behavioral tools. Their second son was recently diagnosed as being on the spectrum, which has proved to be a completely different experience since every child’s needs are unique. Over the years they have learned the importance of structure, priming and organized activities, and provide details on these parenting lessons during this podcast. They hope to share their musical affirmations with other parents raising neurodiverse children, or anyone in need of good vibes throughout the day.

During this episode Steve mentioned a writer who’s work helped him understand autism from a first hand perspective. You can find a link to an article here: https://www.vox.com/2015/8/31/9233295/autism-rights-kanner-asperger

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