Tuesday, January 6, 2009

On perseverance

Throughout my career when my autistic clients were perseverating on something it has been considered prudent to intervene or interrupt. I started at the center yesterday and the only thing I've been able to do is sit and observe. As they are just coming back from break there were only a few children yesterday, more today but all are still very much in an unstructured period of adjustment. Lots of time is spent on the playground swinging and spinning, gathering, ripping and throwing leaves and running from person to person. I've already met a bundle of energy I'll call Yoohoo since that's his most frequently voiced sound. It probably means something different in Akan, but I'll just go with yoohoo. Y seeks out vestibular stimulation all day, in all ways - just meeting him yesterday he bounced using my hands for leverage for a good five minutes (only interrupted by him trying to steal my bag of water.) and yes, I said bag of water. Seeing that I wasn't going to let him have it, he went and got a cup and presented it - so of course I shared with him, then we happily went back to bouncing. Anyway - on perseverance. In the walk with God it's a good thing, to stay committed to what you believe, your convictions. To stay with a plan even when most parts of it have become inconvenient. And I can only wonder if these children have the same strong committment to their own movements and how short sighted it is to simply impose the grown-up, "shoulds". I know that all behavior has meaning and watching these kids over the last few days has introduced me to their own body rhythms, so now I've just got to start from there as I create a musical relationship with them. I cleaned off a small keyboard and checked out several decent drums (e are in Ghana!) I think tomorrow they will ask me to lead some live music and we'll see what happens from there!

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