Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I met an Adult Autistic Person

Last week I met my first adult Autistic person

She was lovely . In her late 50's or 60's. Very warm and very sweet. She has a son ( who has Autism also ) and a grandson who also has Autism( through her daughter who does not have ASD) .

She is very very talented and can clearly play music by the ear. She had great ideas of how to teach music. Her apartment (very close to my office )was neat and homey too . Clearly she is hig functioning. There are a couple of oddities like she kept referring to me by my last name and got my phone numbers jumbled . Bue I really really liked her

She was almost Painfully honest. She charges $ 8 for a session ( if you are mommy of a special needs kiddo you know that is just peanuts )

And her first lesson was free ( she wants to make sure that she she does not overcharge "because the first lesson she cannot really teach anything… its just to get to know the child ")

It just broke my heart

She thought if she did not teach a tune the first day then we were not getting our money's worth !!!!

Her eagerness to please and her innocence were just too much for me that day .

I have such a tenderness for Autistic people. I love them really.

She mentioned that life had been very hard as she just could not do Maths and History and people were very mean.

R did not do too well in the lesson though as she was very in-his –face. I could see just the kind of vicious cycle that may have played over and over again in many a spectrum Person's life

Trying to woo someone without knowing how to , being rejected , feel hurt , recover , try again and so on

I am determined to break the cycle in this one relationship with my son though. I am determined that we will set this one up for success

So I wrote to her this email ( I thinking emails are better than phone calls as they are less stressful )

It was great meeting you last week . We are so glad we found you .You are clearly very talented and we look forward to a long term relationship with you!

Our goal is to develop a long lasting love for music in R. Its important he enjoy it


Here are a few suggestions we had based on our son's sensory profile .

I hope you dont mind us making them. But this is what we would do if we were in your place


In this Monday's session I would suggest .you simply play some tunes on the piano yourself and just chat with A( Dad ) without really interacting much with R ( your student )


Here are some tunes he loves


  • Twinkle Twinkle
  • The Wheel on the Bus
  • Row Row Row your boat
  • The Blue Danube
  • Vivaldi's Spring
  • Pretty much anything Mozart
  • The Nutcracker Ballet
  • Veggie Tale theme song


He gets overwhelmed in new situations and needs some time ( maybe even2-3 sessions) when he simply adjusts to the room and gets comfortable with it. While this may seem a waste -its a very good investment for us.

I would talk very less to him . I would let him approach you and I would be responsive in a gentle way - to any approach from him I would speak very softly and slowly and use few words - like instead of saying " R you want to play the piano" I would say "Play Piano? "

See you tomorrow ( I - Kajoli ( mom ) wont be there, A ( Dad ) will bring him )


Take care



Anyway here is the moral of the story – Our job as parents is not just to focus on speech and academics but also on life skills and most important a sense of self and self worth


Anonymous said...

How interesting. Thank you for sharing this. She seems like a lovely woman. I hope the music lessons work out. I have thought about music lessons for Daniel...but instead of lessons if we could pay just to have him have some supervised playtime with real instruments. At least for now. Best wishes for all of you!!

aninont said...

I am sure the R is going to love them.All kids need time to get adjusted to new people and surroundings.
There is a special ed type music school close to my house and they teach with the help of numbers.. I dont know if I mentioned this to you... since R is obviously a numbers-guru... he may love that approach of mixing music and numbers.

Trish said...

What a wonderful letter! I think it's great that you were able to advocate for your son while being so thoughtful of how the teacher would best receive what you had to say.

Can't wait to hear how it turns out.

robin said...

It's wonderful for you to expose R to piano! I hope he enjoys it...with your having exposed him to classical music and numbers, it'll make it easier for him to learn.

What a great idea to email the lady (and I agree with what Trish said.)

Wishing R the best of luck!!

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