I went to Rainbow Centre yesterday for CIP. For the first two hours I was with this class of like 4 autistic kids under 6, and they were simply adorable. Sure, it was hard work trying to get them to focus on what they had to do, and I didn’t quite understand what they were saying most of the time because they can’t pronounce words properly, but they’re really very special kids. One of them was really vocal, and he’d make sounds to try to explain to me what he was doing, another one was a “workaholic” and he could sit at the table himself and just finish task after task after task without getting distracted, which is more than I can say for myself.
For the next two hours I had an attachment with the music therapist. She’s super nice, and really funny. The first kid that came in had cerebral palsy and fits, and it was kinda amazing. Because he has an interest in music, and it’s probably the only thing that can motivate him to even move, the therapist got him to try to hold drum sticks to hit the drum, to use his fingers to strum the guitar while she held the chord, and to play the piano (just raising his hand to press the keys was super hard for him).
The second kid, this super pretty 5 year old girl called Elaine, was such a darling. We had to bring her from her classroom to the music room and the moment she came in, she picked up this round rainbow cloth thingum that had like 6 handles around the edges with a hole in the middle, and tugged at my hand, asking me to play with her. When Elaine started singing London Bridge Is Falling Down (in pitch perfection, mind you) and walking around in a circle, the music therapist started to play that on the piano. After a while Elaine stopped, went to the piano, motioned to the therapist to play a semitone down, because it wasn’t in her key and she could tell. Like what in the world. It was a semitone. I couldn’t even tell. This totally proves that autistic kids can be bloody talented at certain things. Around the end of the lesson Elaine put the rainbow thingum over her head and started dancing around the room, with only her face exposed by the hole in the centre of the cloth. She was so happy.
When it was time for Elaine to go, the therapist started singing the Goodbye Song which she sings at the end of every session, but Elaine walked over to her and put her palm on the strings, so there wouldn’t be any sound. She didn’t want to sing the goodbye song, she didn’t want to leave.
The last one was a boy called Ryan. He’s blind, and his muscles are really weak so it takes a hell load of effort for him to just raise his head. He was really really sensitive to sound, so I had to keep super quiet, and the only time I made any sound was when the therapist got me to play on the piano and the guitar.
The attachment was hard in the sense that sometimes when the therapist wanted me to play according to what she was singing, I wasn’t sure what chords to play. It was hard because sometimes I didn’t get what the kids were trying to tell me. It was hard to watch them trying so hard to do simple things that I don’t even think about.
It was nice though, to have met them. I’d forgotten for a while, and they reminded me, what childlike innocence and happiness looks like.