Tag Archives: spirtuality

Let the Music Play!

As parents and caregivers of kids on the spectrum or any special need, we are often motivated, guided, or pushed toward focusing on those target skills our kids are lacking. We are often caught up in therapies, tutoring or trying to catch up to whatever norm “they” deem deficient in our children.

How different would our kid’s lives be if we could instead focus on their positives instead of always trying to compensate for those things regarded as negatives?

My youngest has generally struggled with school. He works hard. Really, really hard just to pass his classes which is especially frustrating as his older brother excels in school. Lan was very disappointed when his brother and childhood friends were off to the Magnet school and he simply could not join them.

However, Lan does have a talent for music in which his brother has been unable to best him. Both boys play piano along with other instruments. Yet, Lan has been gifted with “perfect pitch” something most musicians would love to have. Unlike other things that are difficult for him, anything musical comes much easier with a joy that surprisingly spreads to the people around him.

I started Lan in piano lessons as my version of occupational therapy. When he began writing in preschool, his fingers weren’t quite as strong as they should be. Piano lessons strengthened fingers that struggled to hold a pencil. Best of all, Lan enjoyed the lessons. Now, these same fingers draw intricate cartoon characters with very little effort. By focusing on what he could do, the door opened for another talent to emerge as well!DSC_7293 (2)

The more I hear incredible stories about so many kids on the spectrum and their thoughts, gifts and talents; the more I believe that everyone has something to give. Some people bring positive qualities out in others. Then there are others also on the spectrum blessed with things us “neurotypicals” can only dream of, skills or talents that often amaze and leave others speechless.

If only the time we spend during the school year striving to meet “goals” designated by other people, (I’m still trying to figure out who they are) could be used to cultivate those gems that lie dormant within, I wonder how many “atypicals” could more positively impact our world?

There are people whose gifts go unearthed because as a society we don’t prioritize searching those talents out. Instead we hammer people to conform.

I’ve seen a few miracles in the health care realm. I’m optimistic I’ll see many more with God’s grace and His power. The advances in science and technology lead me to believe there is so much more yet unseen. But we have to look for it!

So until “they” decide to focus on the person and not on an arbitrary set of goals and “normal” is designated for the individual instead of the masses, I will continue to encourage kids to search out and nurture the talents God gave them.  DSC_1350 (2)

If we don’t make searching out God’s gifts within our kids a priority, if we don’t build them up so they can unearth the beauty within and give them a sense of pride in what they can do instead of continually emphasizing what they can’t…who will?

As for me and my crew, we will continue to let the music play.

“The LORD [is] my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.” Psalms 28:7 NKJV 

  

 

Lessons Learned!

“Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God,” Psalms 92:12

Tomorrow marks the last day of the school year. I began this blog in August upon Lan’s entry into high school. He was nervous. I was scared.

Ever thankful for God’s blessings along our way, I was still anxious and filled with trepidation about this new reality.

Well, we made it! One year down, three to go.

Lan’s last exam is today. He is doing well and should pass it without any problem. We are still waiting on test results from one EOCT (End of Course Test) for biology which is required to earn credit for the class. I am ever hopeful for a good result.

Since this blog practically began with his first day of school, I figured I’d share lessons I’ve learned this year.

Lesson number one, God really IS in control.

At the onset of the school year the huge crowds of kids were overwhelming. The para-pro assigned to assist Lan to his classes (the campus is large with several buildings) actually met my husband years ago.

I’m sure my husband had no idea of the role this gentleman would play in our lives. I am convinced the prior association worked to our advantage. The gentleman not only did his “job” but went above and beyond keeping us posted on how our guy was making out throughout the day. We deliberately sent Lan to this school because we knew the principal and counselor well. The para was an “extra” God through into the mix!

Lan didn’t require his help for long and after two weeks navigated on his own. Yet, I am forever grateful. It was one less thing I had to worry think about.

In addition, Lan had the same geography teacher who taught my oldest son last year. My husband established a great relationship with her then having no idea it would benefit us this year. God does order our steps!

Lesson number two, my kid is capable!

Lan’s teachers watched him come out of his nervous shell and become quite out-spoken! During the last IEP meeting, his math teacher played a video of him before the class explaining an algebraic problem and the steps to solve it.

My husband and I were floored. I’m convinced this kid has an alter-ego. His confidence increased under the care of supportive teachers. I suspect his charming demeanor didn’t hurt either.

Most significantly, Lan made new friends. Real friends. I often thought about him sitting alone at lunch. And for a while, he did.

But slowly, very slowly, he would mention who he ate with at lunch. One friend from middle school would join him on “odd” days when they shared the same schedule.

A new friend from the magnet school starting eating with him also. An upperclassman we know joined in “to watch out for him.” More kids from band class were eventually mentioned. Just last week, Lan told me he skipped eating lunch to sit with his friends and talk instead. How about that?

We have had a few “blips” along the way. However, Lan learned from them and wasn’t defeated. He is no longer upset I didn’t allow him to attend the school he is zoned for. He’s found friends at his school. I asked him recently how he felt about this first year of high school. I finally got the reaction I’d hoped for, “I like it.”

 Lesson number three, Iet go a little.

I am a micro-manage mom. I’m ever working on that, trying to allow both kids room to succeed and fail.  DSC_6962 (2)

Some lessons you only learn the hard way. Lan’s improving grades boosted his confidence. When he fails to study or prepare, he now feels the pain.

His social skills improved because I’m allowing more freedom to learn what works and what doesn’t. At the awards ceremony he didn’t sit with me or my husband. He founds his friends. At the band banquet my husband laughed that Lan quickly left him in a cloud of dust and had a ball.

Without me hovering, he can relax and figure it out. Lan will get the chance to relax for an entire week of summer camp at Clemson University. Last year when he asked about going away like his brother, I was like “not happening” in my brain. Well, a year later he’ll be off on his own adventure.

Sometimes I want to intervene but God says no, let Lan figure it out. And let Him guide my child.

I can’t always be there for Lan. But God can. I trust Him Who can do more for my child than I am able to provide.

Lesson number four, sometimes I just need to get out-of-the-way and let God be God. DSC_6420

 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6