Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Annie, Week Two

Well, if I came off my last rehearsal pick-up on a high, today was the opposite. Last Tuesday when I peeked in, he was on his feet, part of an activity and fitting right in. Today, when I peered around the corner into the room, I saw all the kids in chairs learning a song, and Theo sitting there punching his head with his fist repeatedly.

This is a fairly new stim that has developed in the past few months, one that obviously Joe and I hate. I still don't know what triggers it--stress, nerves, anxiety, etc... Sometimes it looks like he's doing it out of sheer happiness. I guess I should be grateful that until now we've avoided the common autism stim of banging your head on the wall or floor, or other forms of self-injury. Theo's not injuring himself--not even close. He's just being silly.

I was happy, though, to see one of the teenage production assistants sitting next to him and working with him. Remember how I hoped someone would take a liking to him? I hope I'm not speaking too soon, but it seems like she has. It's her I spoke with after rehearsal and not the director. I'm too nervous to ask the director if he's being disruptive, because I'm afraid of getting an answer I don't want. And then I'm in the position where I have to decide if I do what's best for Theo (having him stick it out) or the rest of the kids (getting to enjoy their rehearsals without interruption).

The nice girl told me he was jittery and kept getting up, but that she sat with him and he sang. And that at snacktime he socialized with other kids. She seemed pretty positive about it.

So though I'm bummed, we all know there are good days and bad days with autism. Hopefully next week will go better. I realize he still has to get used to this. And he really, really loves it.

And I have to work on my own attitude. I keep hoping for things that will take time, if they happen at all. I shouldn't have expected him to tell me which girl is playing Annie so soon. I shouldn't have hoped for him to have an instant theatre buddy who would stick to his side during rehearsal. It's not fair to him for me to be anything but realistic, but it's also not fair to him if I underestimate him, so how do I know how to push him the right amount?

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