Saturday, October 3, 2009

Unusual snacks and dancing for Rappers

Thursday was disappointing this week. The boy with the red hair was not there.

I was told that he had been hospitalized because he had suddenly gone completely out of control. The example that I was given was that he had been dancing about the kitchen nude. This didn’t seem such a serious offence to me, but I gather it was one of several other acts of defiance verging on the violent. He has always been enthusiastic and compliant in my music classes, but this could well be because I have never asked him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. I expect he would have enjoyed an aria from Madame Butterfly if I had told him it was classical Rap music. I will admit to having once sung a spot of Carmen and telling him just that. He did used to get a bit restless when it was somebody else’s turn for a song, but we used to chant the same ritual words. “It is not my turn now, but it will be soon. I have something good to look forward to which is almost as good as doing the thing itself.”
Perhaps someone could have told him that Rappers always wear clothes in the kitchen...
This left my second group only composed of the girl who leaks music and the humming boy with the arms wrapped round his head. Neither of them are verbal, but both supply quite a prominent backing vocal soundscape. I did my best, but my heart wasn’t really in it without the red headed boy. I hope he is back soon.

The first session was greeted with his usual enthusiasm by the boy who just says oui. I gave him a little soft plastic stuffed juggling ball to squeeze to prepare his hands for making the right shapes on the keyboard. He placed the ball to one side and approached the keyboard.
The boy who makes a noise like a chainsaw and eats everything became unusually silent. I didn’t notice at first because the boy who says oui was determinedly pressing the bright yellow button which makes the keyboard spring into life and play a series of demo tracks…on its own…without him. He had sensibly decided that this was by far the easiest way to play the instrument.
When I looked round, the boy who eats everything had gnawed apart the juggling ball and eaten half of the tiny plastic pieces in the middle of it. He smiled with delight and satisfaction at having outwitted me. Meanwhile, the girl who loves keys cooed gently to my key ring and stroked her face with the keys.

When the keyboard had finished its demo tracks I gave them a rousing chorus of Stand By Me and we danced around the room a bit, but kept our clothes on.


marja-leena said...

I don't know how you do it. Just a couple of lively normal grandkids making music is enough for me.

CJ said...

I am a pediatric physiotherapist and my patients constitute of children like the ones you work with. It is tough working with them and requires loads and loads of patience. But the love they show you is unconditional. Isn't it?

Rosie said...

my students are between 18 and 21 and sometimes tower over me! I suppose we have built a relationship over the last year but autistic people are notoriously unresponsive, and one of the difficulties is knowing what they are thinking and feeling. I will happily settle for trust and I think I have managed that...

amy said...

You have so much patience and creativity with your students. It's moving to picture you all singing and dancing to Stand By Me. I hope the red-haired boy will be able to come back soon.

Lia said...

It's it sad to hear that the red-haired boy is so unwell.
I do hope he will be ok and come back soon.

Your classes always sound so stimulating and I have a feeling that you get a lot out of your charges. I suspect that you get more than they do.

It must be a real joy at times.

Much love,

Dingo said...

For some reason, I thought the kids were much younger.

I miss the red-haired boy, too. I always look forward to your stories about him. I hope he will be back.

Stuart and Gabrielle said...

Browsing other blogs and links I found this and thought that you might be interested
G x

The Crow said...

Last year, before my grandson (Asperger end of the spectrum) was admitted to a residential treatment facility, he began exhibiting behavior others found alarming, but he found not so much. He was being honest in his actions and couldn't understand why he was being encouraged to be honest, then being declared hostile and dangerous by the rest of the world when he was.

He spent 7 months in treatment, came back a more settled young man. He needed the concentrated guidance you seem to offer your students, but which he wasn't receiving out in 'the world.' He turned 17 this past weekend.

I come here to learn from your students, and from you. I always do. Thank you.


Deborah said...

You are a beautiful spirit indeed...a gentle soul. It is a different world, autism. I admire you for what you do, and for sharing it with us. Your story brought me there, as if I were watching from some hidden corner of the room. Please let us know about the return of the red haired boy. Thank you for a lovely blog. Just wonderful!
Much Love,