Last week my O my 8 year old took part in his year 3 production.
In previous productions he has been 'a singer' or a king/solider/cow standing among all the others usually wearing a hat of some description and mouthing along the odd word to a song.
This year he had a speaking part. Not only did he have a speaking part he had volunteered himself for a speaking part.
|Jonah and the whale, from foundmyself.com|
If you have read any of my other posts Parents evening being one, you will know my eldest has Autism spectrum disorder, a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.
Six months ago he would struggle to order his own drink in a restaurant let alone stand up in a hall full of parents, teachers and his peers speaking lines he had memorised, at the right time and in an appropriate manner. O has a habit, when he feels anxious, of rather than talking to people, he will talk at them at quite a loud volume about a topic he wants to discuss, ebola outbreak, monarchs of the Great Britain, football stats etc. So for him to be able to say his lines in this environment was astounding.
It's a testament to how comfortable he is at school, don't get me wrong he hasn't always been. At the start of nursery and reception and even year 1 I spend the first few drops off scraping him off me in tears as he struggled to settle into his day. As the structure of the school day picked up pace and a more rigid timetable was put into place he has really come into his own and thoroughly enjoys school.
Rather than talk at his peers he has friends and it is great to see him engage with them and the teaching staff, evening making eye contact and establishing conversations and putting his hand up in class.
So last Wednesday I sat nervously in the school hall waiting for Jonah and the Whale to start and for O to speak his first lines as the Voice of God. In my head I flashed back to a harvest festival about two years ago where O was placed at the front of the church to sing and was ticking left right and centre with anxiety. I went home and cried my eyes out for him and how hard he found that occasion. I was nervous for O but I had no need to be at all. He stood up, with confidence, delivered his lines perfectly and seemed to thoroughly enjoy doing so. He joined in with each song perfectly and as he waited at the side of the stage to go on I could see him so animated and full of life enjoying each one of his friends delivering their lines.
When he was diagnosed I worried myself silly about how it would affect him but occasions like this remind me I don't need to. O is really finding his feet and seems to be able to cope much more ably with the anxiety his ASD brings him. Not saying he finds everything easy, at football matches he is like bambi on ice, but he puts his heart and soul into everything he does and enjoys himself. How many people can go through life seeing the good in everything and just getting on with it?
If I'm having a bad day I think of my O. I think of how strong he is despite his worries or quirks he just deals with it and that is something I always try to remember. My son is an inspiration to me and I will never ever doubt what he can achieve.
On days like last week I thought to myself 'what ASD'?