I did a performance of my “Talking Drum” school assembly program this week at a pretty cool school in the greater Boston Massachusetts area, Milestone Day School, Waltham MA.
What makes this school special is that they specialize in helping high functioning Asperger’s and other Autistic Spectrum students to develop their abilities not only to learn and grow academically but perhaps more importantly, to support the socialization process.
What struck me profoundly is the growing awareness I’ve had over the last few years that if I was in school today, I would most likely be among this group of students.
A lot of my own childhood started to make sense as I conversed with several of the teachers including Dave Madeloni about how sensitive these kids are. Not just to loud noises but to emotional energy happening in the same room. I just finally “got” that the reason I had no friends in elementary school was partly because I just didn’t “get” social cues. It wasn’t just that I was horrible at sports, It was like I lived my life metaphorically without skin. Everything affects me even to this day.
Other things like how compulsively I “dive” into things like learning a new instrument or carving huge drums out of logs and learning how to install a light inside… and how much I lived my life in books… and why the offhand comments of the kids I grew up with caused so much pain for me…
I explained to Dave, “I’m a lot like your students. Jusr for an example, I did a gig on Sunday, and it has taken me two days of almost total solitude in order to be back to a ‘normal’ for me.”
So it was with deep, deep appreciation that I got to spend some quality time with these brilliant young minds who don’t quite “fit” into our crazy culture of media bombardment and overstimulation. They were a great audience and participated enthusiastically.
Dave Madeloni took some AMAZING pictures. Here are some of them featuring my audience volunteers, Kiley and Lucas as well as the other students: