There is a lot of buzz about the "it factor." A woman who has got "it" might be described as having a certain je ne sais quoi, a quintessential quality that marks her as special, distinct, and magnetic. It's an inner-spark that highlights her best self and draws others to her. Celebrities and politicians have built fortunes capitalizing on their "it factor" for centuries.

I know someone who has been blessed with a healthy serving of the "it factor." As far as I can tell, she isn't much interested in fame or fortune, but she does use her gift well. She spends her work hours bringing hope, understanding, and healing to some very special families with some very special needs. Her name is Tali Berman, she is the founder and director of Meir Autism in Israel, and she is a woman you should know.

The first time I met Tali, I was immediately drawn to her. True, she was wearing a pink wig (it was Purim), but it was more than that that caught my eye. She oozed an energy that spoke of confidence, poise, and enthusiasm. We didn't speak that day, but when I met her again, about a year later, I remembered her immediately. We hit it off, and have had the pleasure of sharing bits and pieces of our lives together ever since.

Tali works with children and their families on the autistic spectrumIt was through understanding what Tali's work is all about that I came to understand why I was so drawn to her in the first place. Tali works with children and their families on the autistic spectrum.

She explained to me, that at its most basic level, autism is primarily a relationship disorder. Children on the autistic spectrum commonly avoid eye contact, have difficulty communicating, and engage in repetitive behaviors in attempt to create a sense of order in a world that may seem utterly chaotic. Forming meaningful relationships with other people is a core challenge for many children with autism.

A classic therapeutic approach to this disorder is to try and eliminate the socially inappropriate behaviors from these children and re-train the child to replace those behaviors with those that are more socially acceptable.

But, Tali trained in a different school of thought. She attended the Son-Rise Program in Massachusetts, after working with a very special family whose four-year-old son Jeffery was diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. This family was trying something different with him. Through her work with this family, Tali came to understand that the repetitive behaviors and social isolation that this child was so attached to, served as a protection mechanism for him. His behaviors were attempts to stave off some of the overwhelming stimulation his brain was failing to filter.

She learned that rather than taking those behaviors from him, she needed to establish a relationship through them. Tali joined him in his world. She lined up trucks with Jeffery for hours on end, she rocked back and forth with him, she screamed with him, and she recited his favorite Barney movie over and over with him. Eventually, while they were "joined" in activity, Jeffery discovered a common ground with Tali. He began to make eye contact, and became interested in what Tali was doing, and he began to trust her. This opened the door for a true relationship to form and eventually a life transforming development for both Jeffery and Tali.

This young boy, who, when Tali met him, rarely looked at anyone, threw regular temper tantrums and was a recluse, was now interacting, communicating and establishing meaningful relationships with the world around him.

What Tali experienced in her initial work with Jeffery and his family was, as she describes it, "a process of miracles unfolding."

"I saw magic with this family and when I began training, I realized that what I had experienced wasn't a singular experience. I had been witness to a system that is effective and meaningful.

"I was raised with a strong sense of Zionism, and thought about living in Israel ever since spending my junior year of college at Hebrew University. After the birth of our first child, and the completion of my training with Son-Rise, my husband and I decided to make aliya. I saw it as my mission to bring this method to families in Israel."

That is how Meir Autism was born in Israel, from the pure vision and passion of one woman. Since its inception, Tali and her partner Abby have "joined" hundreds of families. Together they have made worlds of difference to families from all backgrounds. They approach the families they work with with a core sense of respect, commitment, and enthusiasm. In the face of a disorder that is known to leave chaos in its wake, they as a team have helped hundreds of families in Israel restore hope and peace to their lives.

Tali joined him in his worldWhen I think about Tali's "it factor," it is clear to me that the spirit of joining and the unwavering respect she has for her clients, is a spirit that spills over to her personal life. Tali is the kind of woman that you could plug into just about any situation, and she would thrive. She would thrive because she takes the time to learn about what's happening around her and make a connection there.

The interesting thing is that although she is so highly skilled at relating to other people, she doesn't lose herself in other people's stories. She has an uncanny ability to maintain poise and purpose even when she's rolling around on the floor, being her silliest self with her kids, without losing her integrity as a parent. That's why I like her so much. She's real without being too intense, she's honest without being brutal, and she takes the time to make real connections that simply make the people around her feel special.

She exudes an enthusiasm for life, and for her family that is down-right stunning. She is an amazing mother, a committed wife, a kind teacher, and a good friend.

Tali is a woman of integrity and of valor. Some people call it charm, good upbringing, or gifted with social graces – I think it's safe to say that she's simply got "it."

To learn more about Meir Autism, please click here.