Today was my first opportunity to really teach my son. Not the things that every parent teaches their kids, like manners, humility, and putting both the lid and the seat up to pee. Nope. Today I gave my son his first real baritone lesson. And it was eye-opening.
I think every parent has some understanding of the cognitive abilities of their own children. I should say every parent who is involved in their child’s life to the point where they have regular conversations, and enjoy doing things together. Let’s face it — that statement just disqualified a lot of parents. But intelligence is harder to gauge for us special needs parents. Our kids don’t often test well, and we have to take the word of the people who spend their days with them at school, and hope we can trust they know what they are doing. We do some homework during the regular school year, but his teachers send home assignments on which he will have success, to lessen the negative connotation of “homework”, a BRILLIANT idea, I might add. So even homework does not give me a clear picture of what we’re dealing with inside that big noggin of his.
This afternoon, I got a better understanding. As his teacher, I saw a talented kid who picked concepts up amazingly quickly, but needed almost constant redirection to focus on the lesson. It seemed that once he learned a concept, it was pretty much solid, too. We worked for about 20-30 minutes, and then he was done, but he had learned the concepts so quickly, and so well, that there was no reason to extend the lesson. Ideally, every kid would have this type individualization, and they would achieve amazing things.
I know that many of us in the special needs community have this nagging concern that is always in the backs of our minds, and oft repeated to us by well-meaning friends and family members: “But what will you/he do when he is done with school?”
To others, I say, “I can’t dwell too much on the future. I really have to take it day by day.”
To myself, I often say, “I have no freakin’ clue, and that scares the crap out of me.”
But today, after that lesson, I started seeing some answers to that question. Hopeful ones.
My teacher taught me well today.