Wildflowers for Jade: Baseball & Ballet

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Baseball & Ballet

After a brief hiatus (ok long) from extracurricular activities, we've thrown ourselves into the Spring mix again with ballet and baseball. Our hopes for ballet is that it will help him get more in touch with his body (OT) and because it's good for him to have some discipline with following directions and peers (speech, ABA and socializing.)

I just don't think I'm ever going to think in 'normal' terms again. 

This is also our first drop-off situation. Well, to me but not to him. We dropped him off at the Brown Center but then I'd go in and watch from the monitors. No monitors here. Jaden however is so used to being observed by camera that he thinks it's natural. 

I ask him about what he does in ballet, because I have no idea. He likes to answer with one or two word sentences, which I patiently try to stretch into at least 3 or 4. 
"If you want to know what we're doing, why don't you just watch from the monitors next time?" he said last week. 
"They don't have monitors at ballet," I answered. "So I can't see you at all. I have no idea what sort of things you do, and I'm just curious." 
"No monitors?" He looked at me baffled. 

I wonder again what life is like inside his head. 

"We had to do our legs like a diamond, but I wasn't very good at it." 
"How do you know?" 
"The teacher came and straightened me up."
"Did she fuss at you?" I wondered, because he seemed unhappy. 
"Why would she do that??" he answered in an offended tone. "She's a nice lady." 

It comforts me to know that she's such a "nice lady" that even to question her offends Jaden. I nervously had taken some advice to not mention to them that he has Autism. After meeting his teacher, though very briefly, I got the impression it wouldn't have mattered. She expects her students to listen to her and that's all. I'm ok with that. 

I also didn't tell his baseball coaches. Not yet anyway. Unless it's someone's job to work with Autism, I've found it doesn't do much but cause awkwardness. I can imagine they'd just look at him differently like "What am I supposed to do with that? Should I treat him differently?" 
No, please don't treat him differently. He needs to learn to pay attention and follow directions the same as the other kids. 
So then, what's the point of mentioning it? 

The coaches are patient and they're pros at teaching the kids. And unlike soccer where most of the kids had apparently been on the field since they were 2, all Jaden's teammates seemed to be just as awkward and confused as he was. 

Yes, this makes me happy. Just once in a while we need a level playing field and this might be it. 

He did space out some from all the stimuli, and it was difficult for me to see it. At home he's so engaged now. So it meant that the coach would call his name about 5 times until his dad or I got his attention, and that happened several times. But once he would realize he was being spoken to again, he did good. 

I think a lot of Autism moms will understand when I say I am hopeful, and it's a big deal that this goes well. If you were reading my blog last Spring you'll know that soccer did not go well. He gets discouraged easily and that only served to make it worse. He needs something he's good at, that will show him that work and practice can pay off. 

He objected to going to practice again tonight, but I sent him off with his dad with what I hoped were inspiring words. Whether or not it helped, he called me on his way home, though he doesn't usually like to talk on the phone. 

"Mom, I did great!" 

He then proceeded to describe to me, without prompting, everything he had done. There was pride and excitement in his voice. 

That's a home run. 

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