Wednesday, May 4, 2011

just dance: it's gonna be ok...

This song has been on repeat at School the last couple of days.

I had an absolutely perfect moment at School today.
It was lunchtime. I'd been wandering around talking to the kids, as I often do.
There'd been a slight patch of drizzly rain and we'd retreated indoors, before a ringletted girl excitedly told me we could all go outside again. I did. The sun broke through.
On the front porch/decking of one of the two school classrooms (and for North American people, our schools are set up and look VERY different to what you'd be used to.) were kids, and music playing.
On the front lawn bit, the grass has only just grown back over the Easter holidays, and kids have been playing soccer out there all week...
I walk over to this building and watch, enraptured.
3 Prep girls dancing.
2 prep boys dancing.
2 year 1 girls dancing.
3 year 5/6 boys dancing.
All of them, alone and together, with great big smiles on their faces.
The older boys, often stoic and 'too cool' to laugh much or make jokes, grabbed each other's hands and jumped up and down, squeezing their eyes closed.
The year 1 girls tried to show off moves they'd learnt in dance classes.
The younger boys' interpretations mostly involved breakdancing-like moves as they rolled and somersaulted and contorted themselves on the floor.
Sometimes they just threw themselves around with the beat.
And it was adorable- they loved having music on, and when it was on, they just had to move.
It was hilarious to watch this angelic prep girl- 5 years old- mouthing the words to some terrible R&B/Pop song, or trying anyway.

And it was just.... kids having fun. Kids dancing. Kids rocking it out as the sun shone and a tune came on.

Later we did a sport class with an outside contractor guy, and a kid with autism ended up yelling and crying and sitting on the floor, and the teacher left him to it. I asked her later what was happening in his mind to make him need to act like this- I don't know much about Aspbergers or Autism, so I'm constantly trying to learn... She explained that he's autistic, which I had guessed, and that the stress of having a different teacher, of being in the echoey room in the gym, of everything just getting a bit much, he just had to yell. But looking at him- he was ok, it was just how he had to get through his stress. And the other kids? They went about everything like it wasn't happening.
I asked the teacher- she has two young autism kids in her class of 5 year olds- if she knew a lot about AS or Autism before she joined the school. Because it's a small, specialised private school, they get more kids like this than regular public schools. She told me:
"Well, I figure they're just like every kid. Every kid is different. Every kid has different needs, and a different way of learning, and different ways of reacting to things."
I thought this was really smart. Often we get caught up in a diagnosis: this kid has xyz, so that means they'll behave in xyz manner. She has 2 autism kids in the class and they're completely different. I think probably knowing about these conditions can maybe help us, but I think people too often rely on that diagnosis as a crutch. "Well, he has xyz, so we shouldn't expect him to be able to do...". Which is bad.

Gee, Em. Way to have a strong ending.
"Having low expectations of kids is bad."
Maybe I should use that in an essay sometime.

On a different note, I so need to go for a run. I get home from School and I'm so tired. I get on the couch and can't move. I know, I should get home and go straight away, but I'm so hungry by that point that I think I'd pass out. I'm hungrier on School Days than any other time. I think my body is fairly good at self-regulating hunger at least, which is nice.
Or, I should, y'know... use that gym membership.
Or I could turn on the heater, curl up under a blanket, and force Nic to make me dinner again cos I'm too tired to live.
You guys... this is going to be my life. Teachers tell me you don't go home any less tired, even when it's your job.



1 comment:

  1. This is so very, very cool to have autistic kids mixed in with the others.

    One of the girls in my classes works with autistic kids.