Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Friends

I know, two posts in two days. How unusual! I didn't run this morning, so I found myself with a little time on my hands before the kids woke up, and I decided to peruse the Well-Trained Mind message boards. That's a precarious venture, as those of you who know me well realize. But I didn't click any further than the Special Needs board when I came across this link from Mom-Not Otherwise Specified's blog.

It's the first post in a series about a presentation she did to help her son's classmates better understand autism. I have read Mom-NOS's blog for several years off an on, and always appreciate her candor. I thoroughly enjoyed reading how she explained her son's autism to his class at school, and how they responded so positively.

It has me thinking about my post from yesterday about fitting in... I wish I could as easily explain Reece's behavior to other people, especially children. I have had the idea before about trying to explain Reece to other kids - her ballet teacher actually asked me if I wanted to do it when she moved to a new ballet class and the other girls didn't understand why she cried so much. I sat down to try to figure out a way to explain it to 5-6 year olds (which is how old the other girls in the class were at that time) but I just couldn't figure it out. Maybe it's because I don't really understand her very well.

Why does she want to wear princess dresses and tiaras when she's nearly 9? Because she likes fancy things?

Why does she like to touch people's jewelry and hair and sit on the laps of people she doesn't know? Um...

Why does she cry so easily? Not really a clue... because things upset her?

Why does she get upset when people do neat things, like play a song they wrote for the piano? Why does she cry out that they think they are better than her? Why can't she be happy for other people's success? Not a clue on that one, either.

I'd love to be able to just tell kids that Reece is really neat if you can get past the other stuff. That she has a wonderful imagination and she loves to draw and paint and create. That she can play for hours with Littlest Pet Shop! She really likes the idea of friends but she just doesn't know how to make it work and needs someone who can take the lead for awhile. Austin used to need that more, too, when he was little. Now that he's older, he knows that he has to take more of the responsibility for maintaining an interaction - and the main thing stopping him now is a huge dose of teenage self-consciousness. He is SO afraid of saying/doing something wrong that would be embarrassing, so he prefers not to say/do anything at all.

The last issue of American Girl magazine had a neat article in it about a girl with autism, and she tried to explain a little about autism. I read the article to Reece and she got upset because that girl sings the National Anthem at ball games and she (Reece) doesn't get to. She said that girl must think she's better than everyone else because she's famous. ::sigh:: Not exactly what I wanted Reece to get out of it. I did lend the article to my BFF to let her kids read so they might be able to understand Reece a little better. I wish the article were online so I could more easily share it. :(

Reece isn't in ballet this year, but she is already talking about the things she wants to try next year. So far it's piano lessons and gymnastics. The piano lessons I might be able to pull off if I could find the right teacher who would be understanding - lots of meltdown potential with something as performance oriented as that. Gymnastics I'm not seeing how that will be possible at this age. There are usually multiple classes going on inside a loud, echoing gymnasium. And at her age, if you can believe it, there are few beginning classes. I don't want to set her up for struggle... and for ridicule when/if she has a meltdown because she's feeling incompetent.

I'm not sure I had a point when I started this blog post. LOL I'm sitting here trying to come up with a good way to end it and I'm at a loss. So I guess I'll just end it! Hope everyone has a nice Wednesday! :)

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