Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Musically Inclined


Music seems to be 'his thing' so far this year and we couldn't be happier.  In July he told us he wanted to play drums.  Thinking it may be a phase, I didn't pursue lessons.  We signed his sister up at the end of the last school year for Viola lessons and in July is when we went to rent her instrument.  He loved the smell of the old music store, the creaking of the wooden floor and was immediately drawn to all the instruments and music books.  That's when he started insisting on drum lessons. 

When school started his teacher asked if I'd think he'd be interested in joining Chorus.  We decided to give it a shot and he was fantastic!  The Chorus teacher asked if he could sing a solo at the Winter Concert because his voice was beautiful.  Awesome right?  What is funny about that is we hear tons of verbal stimming and not so much singing.  Verbal stims rank high in this house but apparently this boy can sing and can hold a tune.  Didn't get that from me.  LOL.

During parent teacher night we met with the Music Teacher and told her about his interest in drum lessons.  Because the school year already started and percussion lessons were already filled for the year our other option was to find him a private instructor.  Now, in our household, we were pretty much filled with after school obligations.  Like so many other autism families, he has therapies after school.  We have tried many over the years but currently he goes to an after school therapeutic socialization group, also swim, speech and occupational therapy weekly.  Not to mention his sister's activities.  So to fit in drum lessons? That was going to be tough.

His wonderful Music Teacher gave us a place where we could check out for lessons.  Over the phone I asked if this instructor had any experience with teaching children on the spectrum.  Guess what they said?  No.  My first feeling was 'then they can't teach my son' but I made an appointment to see if the instructor and my boy would mesh.  He really wanted to learn how to drum.

We went to meet the instructor and he was very open to learning how to teach my son.  We spoke about his learning techniques, interests and most importantly, the instructor let my son go to town on a drum set.  Interested in what he was hearing, we decided to move ahead with lessons.  Just so happened that the day and time slot that was open for lessons, we didn't have anything planned.  Fate.  Plan old 'this is suppose to happen' fate.

What a fantastic lesson! The instructor went ahead and decided on an 'out of the box' teaching method.  How refreshing to have someone else do most of the work. I don't know who was more excited, my son, the instructor or me!  Turns out he has some natural ability when it comes to music and because he wants to do it, he listens to the instructor.  I promised to keep the GJOP readers updated and I will but for now, the boy wants a snare drum.  Have to find a non expensive snare drum.  Any ideas? 

This is how he is learning.  Instead of notes for now,
 he is learning right and left.  After a few weeks, it will
be converted to notes.  Loving his music instructor!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sunday Sickies Suck

Yesterday was Labor Day and I get that it was Monday but the Sunday Sickies appeared anyway.  What are the Sunday Sickies?  It's when my boy gets so filled with anxiety about the new school week that he starts pleading and begging not to go back to school.  I feel horrible seeing him that way but homeschooling for us isn't an option plus once he is back, he loves his school, kids and teachers in his autistic support class and the typical classroom. 

Last night was a bit different.  Last night he threatened to run away.  Went all out and even wrote a note.  I didn't get to read the whole thing but it started off like 'Deer Famile' then he hid it from me.  Fortunately for us, he told us where he would run away to and luckily it wasn't far; right across the street exactly.  I spoke to my neighbor to give her a heads up in case he did come over to her house one day.  When he was a little guy he did wander off.  One of the scariest day in my life. 

Back to "I'm outa here." 

I gently explained that the neighbor didn't know where his swim lessons are so I'd better go ahead and cancel swim with Miss Allison.  With that, he ripped up the note, immediately calmed down and went to play with Ruby the Rescue Therapy cat.  Boy, I love that cat. 

We got through last night but what about the future? Not sure.  He hasn't been on any type of anxiety meds yet.  We are big into teaching him his own coping methods and to work through things.  I'm also looking into all natural calming methods.  Essential Oils are on the way! If they don't help then maybe anti anxiety meds may be the next step. 

In the mean time we have Ruby the Rescue Therapy Cat to help. He loves her and she puts up with him.  Lol. She needs a cape right?     

Ruby the Rescue Therapy Cat helping to ease my son's anxiety.