True story: When my daughter (now 11) was in the 2nd grade, she had only been dx autistic for little more than a year. Her grade was putting on a musical in which she was performing the part of a butterfly. All through the year she rehearsed with her class, until...(dun dun DUNNN…)
Her teacher called me one afternoon. B had a MAJOR meltdown. The entire grade rehearsed together which they hadn’t done before that point. The cacophony of sound and noise of an entire grade full of students in an echo-laden gym was too much for her little ears.
We quickly came up with some clever solution like using music lab headphones that we could decorate like antennae like butterflies have. SUCCESS! She could rehearse and perform just fine after that.
Then came the day of reckoning. The performance.
Mrs S came to me saying they were having a bit of a crisis backstage. B didn’t want to wear the headphones. And when I said she didn’t want to wear them, I mean she had an. UNHOLY. FIT.
B came out to me, and I’ll never forget it. She insisted she could perform fine without the headphones. I was so concerned, like many parents would be when they know their littles have sensory issues. I mean, *I* was having trouble with the noise in the gym, and I’m grown. (Sensory overload doesn’t go away with age)
What I’ll never forget is her telling me, “mom, I gotta try. I gotta just TRY.” Her little face, so in earnest, absolutely certain she could do this without interference or modification. My little professor.
So I swallowed my anxiety, and my worry, and said okay kiddo, go for it. And she went through that entire performance with nary a thing on her head. She felt so proud of herself, and with good reason.
That was the day a 7 yr old taught me about determination, and wanting something so badly that she made it happen.
I still make sure I enumerate the potential pitfalls to her when she wants to try out for something, because I don’t want her caught unawares and trigger a meltdown. But I let her make the decision. Invariably, she always wants to try anyway. Invariably, she succeeds. When we pay attention to our kids, they can teach us the most remarkable life lessons.
That’s my fighter. People have said that I’m an inspiration to them. But she’s an inspiration to me.