Dying/broken/forgiven.... now I begin

Born: 17-06-56....gemini.... monkey
re-born: 3-09-80
born again\found: 14-04-08
other notable dates: 10-03-68; 03-09-87; 23-03-96;
1-05-98; 31-01-02; 5-04-04

Interests: movement, stressed/transgressive embodiment, lived experience (body\space\time\relation)
expression ( word, dance, text, image, story, music, poetics)
learning, yielding......

Hopes for the blog:
offer up the wild intersectedness of lived experience and engage others in creative, expressive, perhaps irreverant, hopefully playful, and respectful encounters....
enact kindness
create moments of pause for disclosure, discovery, stillness

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

...'tis a small thing, but my own....

Tales from Autism camp.... Vignette #3

Meet Walker. Pre-adolescent boy, precocious as hell. Bright, busy, curious.... and did I mention that he is a precocious pre-adolescent boy?
Walker also talks about himself in the third person, but he makes these little announcements, in case anyone working with him needs a bit of time to react.
" Walkerscratchyourface!!!" he delivers in a hideous whisper....
You are looking at his cute, round little cherubic face, thinking, there is no way he will scratch my face, surely..... but while you are thinking this, you really need to be backing up because Walker WILL scratch your face.
He is a pretty good biter as well.  You will have learned to " feed the bite", that is, push your arm (or whatever body part is being bit) deeper into the bite, or push on the back of his head to push him deeper into the bite. Your first instinct, to pull away.... not good!! You may even use the pinch the nose technique, which is effective because eventually, he has to breathe. Walker, however, has adapted.  He can bite with his mouth open so that he can keep breathing while you pinch his nose. The Borg could take lessons from Walker.... he can adapt.
The past two summers he has introduced a special new strategy (although considering it is a pre teenaged boy we are speaking about, this is actually a long standing strategy, pardon the pun.... you'll see what I mean in a moment...). When he wants to do a vehement protest or just be downright impish, he whips down his pants and pulls out his tiny little penis, stretching it to its fullest length. And he, well, sort of brandishes it about for as long as he can before we catch him and get it put away. Of course he is giggling madly all the while he is doing this.... I hope you are getting a visual. It is especially silly looking when he does this dramatic  display of the unit while he is wearing his noise cancelling headphones ( they are huge, btw, .... the headphones, I mean).
Despite his unit displaying antics, Walker is a great kid. He is honest, and, in many ways, is as typical a preteen boy as any other young fella I have worked with over the years.  Even though we cannot let him see our reaction (because then there would be no end of opportunities to see the unit.... ) we do have a good time at our end of the day debrief. He keeps us on our toes. He reminds us that we need to pay attention to the small things, or, we will indeed be paying attention to a small thing.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

.... a very sad song!

Tales from Autism camp.... vignette #2

Virginia speaks about herself in the third person. She says things like "Virginia will now sing".
And then she sings.
"Virginia will now go to the bathroom"
or "Virginia will now eat popcorn"
or.... on the occasions when she is willing to be observed doing activity she says " Virginia would like you to clap your hands 100 times" because of course we are sooo impressed with her spectacular performance.

She is bright, observant, savvy. She knows what she likes and doesn't like. When she is particularly displeased she will frequently say " Virginia will now  sing a VERY SAD SONG!!"
and then she proceeds to do some quite dramatic faux sobbing.
Ooooo uh ooooo uh ooooo.... sometimes sliding into Nooooooo, noooooooo.

Mona Lisa, the excellent and sensitive student who works with Virginia says to her....
 "Please,  sing that sad song quietly" and Virginia, never one to walk away from a challenge then offers this....
Ooooooo uh uh oooooo; noooooo, noooooo
 and then Mona Lisa whispers " now make that sad song even quieter" and Virginia will look at her and will bring her voice to an even quieter place, all the while maintaining the plaintive lament.....
Noooooooo, nooooooo......

This is a lovely example of how these kids communicate their emotional states and how they use codes and registers.They are so damn smart!! Virginia will sometimes slip into the use of " I". But it really doesn't matter. We know that things are just not going well when it is time to sing a VERY SAD SONG.
I may have to adopt this as a strategy for department meetings. I will give fair warning ( Harlequin wants to sing a VERY SAD SONG)  and  I will launch into a plaintive lament and wail beautifully..... Noooooooo, noooooo.
I will keep you posted on the results.

Thanks for reading. The kids I work with are gems. And my students... are amazing.