Today some other parents noticed M and pointed her out. She stood out as different from her peers. Nothing new, right? This was not, however, the kind of attention you may be thinking of. This was one of those moments when M stood out and was recognized for what she does well, for one of the areas her Asperger’s actually helps her excel.
M had dance class today. This is her second year in dance and she had really been looking forward to this year because she could finally do tap. Now it is a struggle to get her to dance each week and honestly, half the time I don’t make her go. But recital is in a couple of months, she already committed to the year & we already put a hefty deposit on her recital costume so we told her she has to finish out the year.
The thing about M and dance is, she is really good. She used to be amazing at tumbling/acro, but the medication she is on & the weight she has gained from it seem to have made her a little less coordinated in that area. She is, however, still wonderful at remembering the routines. Part of who she is with her Asperger’s is that she has a great memory (scripting from movies, anyone?). And also that she is very much a rule & routine follower. Initially I didn’t think she would like dance and was hesitant to let her try, but she ended up loving the predictable routine of the steps and motions. She has always been the only one of her young group to know the entire dances well and look like a great dancer and not just cute on stage.
Today the little 5 & 6 year old girls ran through their recital dance for us parents. I could hear behind me two moms talking about “that girl in purple” and how she was really good and the only one who knew the routine. When the girls were in the dressing room later one of those moms made a point to tell M how good she was and ask if she practices at home (she doesn’t, I explained she just has a great memory).
I think it was good for M, and me too, to have someone notice only something that makes her special and unique in a great way…the mom even said she was glad her daughter was next to M so she could watch M for the right steps! Of course there are so many wonderful things about M, many more than there are struggles. But this week was particularly rough and I had seen so many of the struggles this week, and was concerned that during dance class she couldn’t interact with her peers without roughhousing with them…it was good to be reminded.
I will certainly continue to let her try whatever activity she wants and know that she will give it her best and her wonderful self will shine through.