Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Those $@$%!@ Teenagers!

~insert tongue in cheek~

I pray I am able to raise a young man like we met yesterday.

Dylan didn't have after care due to Passover so I left work early and picked him up.  Being a beautiful day, we headed to a local park which features several play areas, a lake and a picnic area.  We met my best friend and her 18 month old and set the two of them up to play.  After a while, Dylan announced that he needed to use the bathroom and off we went.  We cut through the picnic area where a couple of teens had arrived.  One had a guitar.  I had to drag Dylan off to the bathroom before he had an accident.  Oh how he wanted to see that guitar, see the boy play.  I promised we'd stop on the way back.

He finished up and tore out of the bathroom and made a beeline for the kids who were setting up to do some sort of art project.  Dylan walked up to the young man and demanded "why you not playing?"  The young man smiled and asked him if he'd like to him play for him and he responded with an emphatic "Yes Please!"  Dylan stood there mesmerized.  His eyes darted between the boy's hands trying to understand how he was eliciting the beautiful music from that lovely guitar.  Dylan loves music and especially loves guitars.  He has one that was given to him for his first birthday from my brother and his family.   It's one of his prized possessions. 

Dylan announced that he needed a guitar like this one and he needed a pick at once.  The young man held out his bright orange pick and told Dylan he could have it.  That young man gave my son the world at that moment (and me an easy out).

When it was time to leave and he began the typical five year old "I don't wanna go!" I simply said "Don't you want to go home and try your new pick?"  Whoosh!  Into the car he went.  He didn't want to pick up Daddy from the train.  He just wanted to go home and use the new pick.  We finally got home and he set about strumming his guitar.  I could see he enjoyed the vibrations and was very happy with the music he was making.  Oh of that young man only knew what he gave my son.  An even deeper love of music.  A deeper understanding of how things work.  An appreciation for what it means to share a bit of yourself with another.  Last night he slept with that pick firmly in his hands (and even woke with it still there).

If this is an example of what the teenagers are like today, I think we are in good shape.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Joys Of Stimming

We had the pleasure of attending a Passover Sedar for families with adults and children with special needs.  I was so excited to attend when I heard the description of the event.  I was told that if a child needs to walk around, run around, spin, vocalize, bang on the table, whatever, it was a safe place.  It was a sedar where children can be themselves and parents didn't have to try to control their kids so as not to offend, bother or embarrass someone else.  Everyone could be themselves and enjoy the holiday together.

It was everything and more.  I also realized something about stimming I hadn't quite latched onto before.  It feels good.  Really good.  Does your child spin?  Join them sometimes, you'll have a better understanding of why they do it.   Do they bang or drum on a table or clap their hands?  Try it when you are stressed and want to jump out of your skin - it helps!

Dylan loves to vocally stim.  He does this high pitch hum or hoot.  At the sedar, several people were verbally stimming at different octives.  The result gave me a similar sensation I get when I've chanted in yoga.  That deep in your chest vibration and it hit me.  Just like a neurotypical person chanting Ohm gives a sense of peace and wellbeing, a vocal stim (which it may sound harsh to someone else's ears) is probably bringing that person their peace. 

So how does your child stim?  Have you ever joined them?  If you haven't - try it - you may like it!