"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sound the Trumpet - Our Approach to Education and Autism

 When we found out our (now) 5 year old has autism, I wasn't sure what to expect for his future.  So I started studying and reading everything I could get my hands on.  We watched documentaries and movies about people with autism.  We discussed everything and came to the conclusion that whatever he shows an interest in, we will pursue to the greatest degree possible.  (That's also become our goal for our other boys, but it all began because of what we learned about autism.)

 And just recently we found our first opportunity to put that theory into practice.  For a couple months, the five year old has been obsessed with trumpets.  He kept asking for one.  And while his daddy still has the one he played in high school, he wasn't real anxious to turn it over to the five year old.  He can be pretty hard on stuff.

So when I found one for sale locally for a measly $50 bucks, I figured I couldn't go wrong.  Just look at the joy on that face when Daddy showed him what it could do.

He was so thrilled when I surprised him with it.

He even graciously gave his brothers each a turn...

...which turned out to be hysterical when the two year old basically hummed into it.  We also have a pretty beat up old trombone that used to be my Dad's, and a flute I bought for our daughter to learn to play (which she never did), as well as now, two trumpets.  We could have a whole ensemble!  Unfortunately now the five year old has begun asking for cymbals. Oye. I'm thinking we'll have to just get him some little finger cymbals and maybe some maracas.

Some kids with autism have an amazing gift with music.  Some show unbelievable skill at math or science.  One of the hallmarks of autism is intense focus on one particular area of interest.  They tend to get stuck on one topic, if you will, which enables some to develop great skill in that area..  I'm not expecting a miracle here - or that he will suddenly become a genius in his field of interest.  But if we don't give him the tools to try, we will assure that he doesn't.  So while it might seem crazy to buy a real trumpet for a five year old, I think there's value in it.  And even if he never does anything other than blare out one note, at least he'll have an enriching experience he wouldn't otherwise have had.  So that, and the smile on this little guy's face, make that $50 well spent.

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