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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In, Out, Shake it all about

Autism or no autism, some things are beyond the pale. Bear in mind, that for me, musical appreciation would guide me to be more of a ballroom dancer type. A dignified glide, so as not to dislodge the tiara nor muss the corsage. I believe that young people today, do not favour [translation = favor] such pastimes, preferring more aerobic forms of dance. [translation = I am allergic to anything that might make me glow {sub translation = perspire}] But I digress.

Back to the ‘shake it all about.’ Hold that thought. No! Not that one, delete that naughty thought and go back to the children’s perspective. [translation = the innocents] That’s right, the Hokey Cokey thought. [translation = Hokey Pokey] Now we’re on the same page! Think of this, as a ‘not so scholarly critique’ or explanation, of this children’s dance, possibly from the viewpoint of one, or maybe two, autistic children. Acknowledge or deny as many as you deem appropriate.
For current purposes [translation = controlled clinical environment] we will ignore issues such as the volume of the music, be that self generated, by singing [translation = unlikely] or utilizing some form of modern technology e.g. hifi, stereo, radio, tapes, CD’s, records[?] etc. [translation = that’s about as modern as we get around here.]

We’ll also ignore the following; company. [translation = who is with us] Where we are? [translation = home or somewhere public and scary = synonymous] Variables such as simply having a bad day, any current phobias or obsessions. [e.g. the need to have arms clamped tightly to the body and that legs be pinned together at all times. A bit like a soldier standing to attention but in this instance, for the purpose of self protection.] We want to keep this as simple as possible. With me so far?

So, we have the familiar annoying tune, [translation = temporarily mislaid inner child] with words, simple words. [translation = lets not get bogged down in the speech delays] Although the matter of prepositions can be a nightmare, we will dismiss those too. [translation = in, out, up, down, between and we’ll ignore the issue of ‘shaking’ whilst we’re about it] Whilst they know all of these words, then are not considered important enough to use appropriately. On the whole they are surplus to requirements, afterall most of them are pretty small words. Generally speaking they prefer bigger words, multiple syllable words such as ‘voracious’ or ‘commercial.’ They may not be able to pronounce them correctly, but they still prefer them. However, such terms are not much use, if you’re trying to dance and sing at the same time. [translation = unless you know otherwise?]

Right, so now we’ve cleared the pathway of clutter, we can begin.
I lied. There are a couple more issues that we need dismiss. [translation = eliminate for the purposes of this discussion] Independence. An autistic child is often independent. By this, I mean that they are on their own programme with their own agenda, as many children are. However, in two particular cases, the cases of my particular sons, [maybe others] when they are doing whatever it is that they are doing, they object strongly to being asked to do something else. This phenomenon is known as a ‘transitioning problem.’ [Sorry! Challenge] It is an issue for many children, but autistic children are far more tenacious.

This is linked with a secondary [translation = probably far more important] issue of motivation. [translation = I left the best for last] It goes something like this:
Hunker down, gain eye contact, arrange facial features into animated expression, moderate tone of voice to sound excited, use hand gestures assuming that you are not guiding the child’s body to orientate them towards you.
“Come on you lot! We are going to play the Hokey Cokey?” Always a statement, never an invitation, as the answer will always be ‘no.’ [translation = guaranteed.]
“It’s not the Hokey Cokey Mom, it’s the Hokey Pokey! They’re never gonna play if you use the wrong name!” Valid criticism, as always. I put an arm around the shoulder of each boy in the hope of conducting a positive energy force into their little bodies.

“Nah, dat is boring.” Simultaneous hurdles; stop what you are doing [translation = transition] do something more fun [translation = motivation]
“Come on, it will be fun!”
“Nay, dat is not fun.” Child may be reflecting upon the challenge of co-ordinating body parts, following instructions, balance, and such like, all of which have negative connotations because of the perceived difficulty. [translation = which is a reality too] So, just assuming that you have battled your way to this point, you probably have insufficient energy reserves to sing and dance too. [translation = flat battery]

{Sub translation = who needs a tiara anyway?}

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