Thursday, 22 June 2017

Thank you little girls


Performance has always been difficult for Anthony. The pressure of a spectacle, the potential of failure and the large number of people are a lot to cope with. We've always been very proud of Anthony's effort to participate in his class performances but I've noted that it's not only his increased ability to cope with summer concerts and plays that gives me hope for his future. It's the actions of the other children too.

Anthony's difficulties with performance stem from the various aspects of his conditions. Like most people with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), Anthony can see the world as a mass of people, places and events which he struggles to make sense of, and which can cause him anxiety. Like many other people with autism, Anthony copes using routine and is concerned by changes to this. He can be worried about making mistakes to the point of not being able to move on, sometimes grieving over mistakes or decisions months later. Social situations, people and being in the spotlight can make him uneasy.

In addition to this, Anthony has sensory processing difficulties meaning he could be caught out by loud noises, bright lights or being uncomfortable on a wooden bench. Anthony also has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He struggles to pay attention and can't stand or sit still for anything longer than a few minutes.

He's on some medication now which makes it easier to focus but doesn't stop him needing to move about. Given all this, it's easy to see why participating in a 30-45 minute performance at school is a challenge for him. He has taken part in all the class performances since starting at school and to our delight has become more comfortable with this over time.

During this year's school summer concert, Anthony went onto stage with his whole class to sing a song about the sunshine. Despite knowing all the words to all the songs and being able to sing them on his own, whether that be in the car or whilst jumping on the trampoline, it's too much for Anthony to think about to join in during the actual concert. We were delighted to see him join in all the actions and could see his enjoyment in the participation.

The song finished and a few members of his class played out a short dialogue at the front of the stage. Anthony started to fidget a little and started to look around for something else to focus on. The children finished their dialogue and the class started to walk in lines off the stage. Anthony looked about, unsure of which way to go or follow and that's when it happened. One of the last girls on the stage turned to follow the line. On her way she gently took hold of Anthony's hand and carefully led him off stage. Thank you little girl.

Last week was Anthony's class assembly. The whole school and parents of Anthony's class watch as they report via songs, examples and stories on what the class have been doing during the term. Anthony had two lines. One he knew very well and the second he found a bit more difficult. He made a little mistake in his second line and we were very proud to see how he was able to cope with this and correct his error without becoming upset. A few years ago, he would have really struggled with this incident.

Towards the end of this performance, all the children held up identical models they had made during the course of the term. Anthony, having completed his solo parts, had by this point lost a bit of focus and was looking around, a bit panicky as all the children started to do something. But the little girl who sat next him picked up his model and gave it to him. She then gestured to Anthony to hold it up and he did. Thank you little girl.

These two little girls give me hope.

Just like this one in the playground with David and even our own daughter who looks out for her brothers with the care of a mother already at just four years old.

Our other son, David, is in a specialist ASD unit attached to a mainstream school. We don't know how Anthony or David will develop or how/if they will be able to live, work and operate in society in the future. One thing is for sure, in these two little girls I saw the kind of care and respect that will only help our sons in that endeavour.

24 comments:

  1. Ah yes, we've had moments like this too. There are other children who just understand and who are caring, and it's always lovely to see. Well done Anthony for getting the lines and actions right! x

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  2. This is so lovely. Those little girls, and I am sure many other classmates, clearly want to help and care, which must be reassuring for you. Sounds like Anthony did very well x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

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  3. It goes both ways. Those girls will have gained through their moment of understanding and the help they gave. My daughter still talks about a boy from her primary school class who was autistic. I know she is more understanding because of that friendship. Must be lovely to see Anthony standing up there, saying lines and doing the actions. #wotw

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  4. what two lovely little girls to support your son like that and to make sure he knew what to do #pocolo

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  5. Ah that is so lovely and such a kind thing to do, and well done Anthony for coping with the whole situation you must have been so proud x

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  6. Anthony did really well! It's lovely when other children help out, my little girl, Boo, has a couple of SEND children in her class and she is always ready to help them out. I guess living with it at home has taught her a lot. x

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  7. I think every autistic child could do with a couple of maternal types amongst their peers. The ones who look out for them and gently guide them and prompt them when necessary. It sounds like Anthony has his two helpers which is great. One of my sons friends explained to her mother that she needed to get my son's attention before speaking to him and that she had to say exactly what she meant - using literal language. It's reassuring to know that there are children out there who natuarlly undersatnd how to make small changes to help our sons isn't it! #spectrumsunday

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  8. It's so lovely when you glimpse these sort of interactions. EJ had a little group at nursery who were there to greet her arrive and help her join in the activities. #spectrumsunday

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  9. Oh I absolutely loved reading this. It sounds like Anthony has similar little friends as Joseph (usually girls!) who just do the right things at the right time. Joseph struggles to maintain his concentration for the whole time and I wonder what will happen on the day but I love the way he throws himself into a performance in his own unique way! ;-)

    #PostsFromTheHeart

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  10. Ahhh what a lovely post and it sounds as if Anthony has lots of caring and thoughtful children around him. #spectrumsunday

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  11. Oh I'm so pleased he joined in! Yay x

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  12. awwww it's so sweet that little girl helped him. that brought a tear to my eye! #triumphanttuesday

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  13. Ahh sweet little girls, thank goodness for the innocence of kids and them being born kind. Mich x

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  14. We can only hope that all children can be as kind and caring as these two little girls - kindness matters, it really does. #postsfromtheheart

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  15. what a wonderfully kind and lovely thing to do - some children xx
    thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

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  16. How lovely! I witnessed my son doing something similar for his autistic friend this week and it did make me proud.

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  17. aww these two girls are just adorable! It really shows how much they understand he needs a little extra support and their act of kindness will keep him comforted whilst at school!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.

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  18. This! This is why inclusion matters. Not only for the child being included but for all children, those little girls are learning so much from Anthony. They are the ones who will go on to make a difference in the future. I was that little girl. It was what made me want to teach. I am so grateful to the children who taught me that it was what I wanted to do #PostsFromTheHeart

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  19. Lovely post that resonated very strongly with me! #postsfromtheheart

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  20. There is a boy who takes care of my ASD son at nursery, the way he interacts and gets him is beautiful. Small gestures mean so much, I know exactly how you feel. Well done to him on all those fabulous achievements too! #PostsFromTheHeart

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  21. What a lovely post - and well done little girls, it just shows how kindness and caring is second nature to some, and often children too. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

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  22. This post made me cry. What lovely little girls. I also think not having to see your son rescued by a teacher must have been so lovely. Inclusion at it's best.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements
    x

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  23. I wonder what will happen on the day but I love the way he throws himself..

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  24. Oh this post brought tears to my eyes - I am glad that there are some lovely people out there.

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