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It's Not the Day for a School Play for My Son on the Autism Spectrum

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My son, Sonny, wasn’t going to participate in his school play.

Sonny has previously surprised us by performing in the “Nativity” at Christmas, although he only stayed for the first half. When they announced they would be putting together a play to show everyone what they have been learning at school, I was excited. Sonny was to wear a pair of blue trousers and a blue t-shirt to become a blue alien in the play.

All was well and good leading to the play. I didn’t hear too much about the progress of the play, but I had the date in my calendar and was really looking forward to sit among the other parents and watch my little boy on the stage.

We got up at 6 am and were ready and breakfasted on time, but Sonny wasn’t happy. It was a challenging morning. Despite it all, we made it to school on time and with smiles, which was an achievement in itself. I told Sonny’s one-on-one he had a tough morning and in all honesty, I suspected he would not be able to cope with the school play. He was tired, so I recommended for him to do something calm and quiet with her rather than the play. In hindsight, the play was probably what was causing Sonny angst. The aide completely understood and we both agreed he needed to get through the school day. I learned he hadn’t really wanted to take part in any of the rehearsals and found getting up on the stage terrifying.

I’m not good at many things, but there are a few things I believe I am great at. Being a mother is one of them. I am so hard on myself; I am my own worst critic, but I know deep down what Sonny needs. With that in my mind, I continue to make decisions that are in Sonny’s best interests. If I’m right, then great, and if I’m wrong, then we make it as a lesson learned and try again.

Before Christmas, I beat myself up for not allowing Sonny to go the school pantomime, as I knew it would’ve be too much. This time, the decision to keep him from performing in the play was the right decision to make. There is no point in encouraging him to do something he doesn’t feel comfortable with. It will only make things worse and that’s not what anybody wants.

A year ago, I was seriously concerned that Sonny wouldn’t be able to thrive in a mainstream school, but he is. It’s incredible what progress a child can make when all the right supports are put into place. I can’t thank Sonny’s school enough for making it possible for him to access a good education in an environment in he adores and where he feels at home. I love to see him grow in all areas of learning. Even though I know he is not as far advanced as other children his age, I love to watch his reading come along and how he forms his letters in the air with his pointy finger. It melts my heart.

So in the grand scheme of it all, missing a school play to show what he has been learning isn’t the end of the world. I can see what he learns in all the little things he does. I can see his progress in the way he plays with his brothers at home. I can hear it in the beautifully words he speaks now thanks to daily speech and language support.

Today isn’t the day for a school play, but maybe next time will be.

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Originally published: May 3, 2017
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