I had a very up and down week last week. I’ve been really stressed about Bridie as her talking to others seems to be getting less and less.Â The principalÂ is going to involve the school psychologist thank goodness. Beth was all over the shop, up and down out of bed and very very moody and argumentative. Yesterday however we had a really good experience that made it all worthwhile.
I’ve been thinking over the last few weeks (after our trees adventure park experience) that Beth really has no enthusiasm for anything other than watching dvds or playing onÂ the computer. She does enjoy swimming but doesn’t put a lot of effort into it.
She didn’t really enjoy horseriding, didn’t bother when she did piano lessons, anything that basically requires effort she justÂ doesn’t seemÂ fussed about. Mind you when we had a hags party at the Knox Gym one school holidays she enjoyed that as they have a huge trampoline to bounce on. And as you know, her level of participation at the trees adventures was zero, not interested, just not going there. End of story.
I didn’t tell Beth yesterday that the choir we were going to was to be for autistic kids, I just told her it was a new type of choir we were trying out. Of course she didn’t want to go and whinged the whole time. Most of you would have heard of Donna Williams or read about her on here. She is an adult with autism and has written many books about her experiences. She’s also a fabulous artist and singer songwriter, a real inspiration. She decided to start a choir for the kids on the spectrum with the help of some of her band members from The Aspinauts. Donna welcomed us at the gate and Beth zoomed in for the trampoline. Donna tried to suggest that we could sing first and trampoline second but Beth was having none of that. The choir was to be in a little cottage down the garden. All in all there were 4 kids, all of a fairly similar age which was nice. Beth decided that she wouldn’t participate to start with and I thought we were in for a bad time but Donna and Anthony were amazing with her and the others, engaging them like nobody else could.
Anthony was on the keyboards and let Beth and another girl have a go. Then Donna suggested that we just sing our favourite word. Ben’s favourite word was Aquarius so they sang that in scale. When it came to Beth’s turn she made up a word like Boombabaloomba and they laughed and said what a great word that was, singing along with it. Of course once Beth realised she had an audience she kept interrupting with something else she thought would be funny, not giving anybody else a chance to get a word in. They then sang some simple choruses. One song that Donna had written was all about snot which of course the kids loved.
Beth then sang a love song from High School Musical and the theme song from Pinky and the Brain! Nothing fazed Donna and Anthony who just made up the music to go along with them. One of the girls, Kayla loved to boot scoot as she sang so they were all dancing along and jumping in the air which is Beth’s speciality. It was so nice to see everybody doing ‘a Beth’ and not having a care in the world, Beth had a grin from ear to ear, as did I watching it. Sometimes I think I am doing her a disservice by wanting her to go to an autistic high school but at other times such as this I think about how comfortable she is with others like her, how easy it is. Or maybe it’s how easy it is for me to watch her in that environment, not cringeing as I see the other kids faces as they watch her.
At the end of the session Donna wrote down a song from each of the kids that they liked and promised to learn them by the next time we see them. Beth chose High School Musical, Ben chose Tonight’s Gonna be a Good Night, Kayla and Tilly chose Dancing Queen. They ended with a dancing train around the garden paths. When it was time to leave Beth kept asking them to sing another song. Donna suggested that maybe they could teach Beth the keyboards which I jumped at. She did try in grade 1 at school but wasn’t really interested. Maybe if she’s taught by somebody that ‘gets her’ it might make all the difference.