RT is a sometimes-closeted autie with Opinions. He's pro self-dx and stim toys, and against functioning labels and allistics not listening.
Trigger Warning/Content Warning: ableist language and concepts
I saw this old teacher today. She doesn’t teach at my high school anymore. She told me she’s at a different school, with “profoundly challenged kids”
She tells me she loves these kids
She tells me she teaches them theater, and she has this animal band with them - they wear masks and play instruments and go to other classes and sing happy birthday and things
Not that they can play, she says. They “don’t have the capacity to learn”
But they have fun in their masks as they bang those useless bits of metal and wood that other, better kids would turn into music.
I last played with a xylophone 10 years ago if not more
But when I played with them, I wouldn’t try to make music
I would hold the mallet on the center of the xylophone, and rotate it back and forth
The goal of this exercise was to make it hit every note, and make a pattern sound, without me hitting every single key on my own
It was challenging because if I moved it too fast or too slow or at an angle, the mallet would soar in the air and skip over a key
It was a puzzle. This was how I played percussion instruments
When I had to learn to play the recorder in school, I learned the songs they told me to
But when I was at home, I didn’t play the songs
I would blow harder and softer, trying to figure out where the exact point was where the notes broke into noise
I would take the little tab out of the mouthpiece and try to make notes come out without that crucial piece - wondered what the purpose of that millimeter-thick piece of lined plastic could possibly be
I would wonder how many sounds I could really bring out of that instrument that seemed to have just the 8 - with a couple of sharps and flats to slightly bring that number up
But if anyone had heard me, they wouldn’t have thought it was music
They would’ve thought I didn’t have the “capacity to learn.”
These teachers, therapists, helpers.
They aren’t helping us.
They aren’t listening.
They already have this narrative in their heads, and take everything we do as confirmation.
I don’t think these “profoundly challenged kids” of hers can’t learn
I think they are learning
And they are making their own music
Because the sounds that are pleasant to us sometimes aren’t to them
And the sounds that are pleasant to them sometimes aren’t to us.
I like to sleep with white noise on.
It’s what I put on when I need to concentrate or want to calm down
Pink noise with oscillating volume can relax me like no music can
But not everyone likes noise.
They call it “static.”
They call it “noise.”
And they say I just “don’t have the capacity to learn.”