My Poetry Recital
So let me tell you how my poetry recital went. Some of you may recall reading that I had to recite a poem out loud in my English class to be graded on flair, poise, memory, etc. It’s a joke in that I have mostly unintelligible speech. I have the flair of a tree stump. No attitude of drama. I can tell you it was silly.
My mom suggested I use my dynawrite in class to recite the poem. Then after class, one on one, I could spell it for the teacher on my letter board to show I memorized it. I thought that was a logical and fair accommodation.
My teacher said no. I needed to go in front of the class and spell the whole damn thing. So I tried. Stupid of me. I should have sat it out, to just get a “fail” for my speech impairment. I spelled several lines. I like the poem by Robert Frost. Here it is.
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I got to line three and couldn’t take the stress of the class staring at me. I felt so weird, so stuck, so disrespected by this teacher. It was overflow. I did what I hate time after time in overflow, which is really rare, but it happens. I can’t control myself. I’m ashamed to say that I pulled my aide’s hair in front of the entire class of about forty or so kids.
I feel wretched and remorseful. On the other hand, if my teacher had been sensitive to my disability, none of this would have happened. I learned an important lesson to say no if I can’t do something- so maybe something happened in spite of my miserable performance that will help me in life.
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You’re helping me understand my son on a deeper and more intimate level. I can’t thank you enough.
As a parent of a non-verbal son, I am so blessed to have come across your blog! Keep up the fabulous work! I can’t leave though without asking a question. Do you find that you stim only when you are anxious or were there times that stimming was a result of boredom with classwork, etc.?
Ido, you are learning to make lemonade out of lemons, but there are just so many darn lemons to squeeze!! I feel both furious and sad. Just remember that you are the better person. So sorry that you had to go through that.
Thanks Tami. It was enraging though she really is not worth my taking it too hard.
The other question from Allison is longer. Stims can be more intense from boredom, emotions, or sensory intensity. It’s a long question, not a short one. The route to reducing stims is mental activity that is interesting. That is not most autism education programs.
Thanks for this post. It’s helped me to make an important decision. My son, who has autism, was supposed to perform in the school choir next week, but he typed to me that he really didn’t want to do it.
He is a beautiful singer, but the chorus teacher added choreography at the last minute, and my son doesn’t feel comfortable that he’ll be able to follow all the moves — especially since the teacher won’t allow his aide to stay on stage with him.
As his mom, I wanted him to go on stage and perform, since I know his voice is so beautiful, but I also understood why he was uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to push and when to let something go.
So, your post really helped me to understand that my son needed to make this decision for himself, since only he really knows what his (current) limits are, and what will overwhelm him.
Instead of expecting him to “be brave” and force himself through it, I will instead advocate with the chorus teacher so that he can sing at the next performance without having to dance, too.
Thank you, Ido!