Rave On –

In another post I mentioned in passing that Thorin loved the show So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). It’s a fun show to watch except for that loud, cry baby, hillbilly girl. Ye gads!

He has a great memory for the dance moves – sliding his feet along the floor, arching his back, arms high over his head, a little Elvis, a little of The Worm, a little break dancing and a very little of what looks like popping and locking. He is content to go in the living room turn on the stereo and dance for about twenty minutes uninterrupted. To mimic the sidekicks he pushes himself off the coffee table.

So, I did what any self-respecting “good parent” does in this day and age. I enrolled him in a dance class. The other thing is that our focus starting last spring has been to have Thorin do things he loves in a typical setting. A typical setting is a non-therapeutic setting where the focus is not on the developmental needs of children with special needs, blah, blah, blah. There is a dance program for children with Down syndrome in town but most of his educational interactions are as a kid who has Down syndrome. We want him to have the typical kid experience, too. And – he starts kindergarten in a year. Or, as I refer to it as – The Thunder Dome.

The lady at the dance school said he would likely be the only boy in a room with girls in pink tutus. Ye gads, isn’t that typical! Thorin was enrolled in the three year old class and was still the littlest one. (Even though he will be five next month Thorin does some things like a two-year-old, some things like a three-year old, some things like a four-year-old and most things like a really cool surfer dude who everyone wants to hang out with).

I took him to class Saturday. During the class, he and this little girl started pushing each other and then putting their heads together and then rubbing each other’s back. He got talked to but I didn’t really see the teacher say anything to the girl. It was so clear she was asking for it! Not really but it was consensual. Then he started going up to everybody in the class including the only other boy – who was sort of stunned – wanting to hug.

I have to say my first thought was, “Hey, Thorin what’s with reinforcing the DS stereotypes, huh?” I admit it I was kind of uncomfortable. But, mostly I was ashamed of myself. Is hugging really atypical behavior?  After class the teacher told me he can’t touch the other kids.

When I related the story to my sister she said, “Oh, he probably felt like he just took Ecstasy with all the dancing and he just wanted to hug everybody.”

This entry was posted in Adopting, By Notatypicalmom, Down syndrome, education, Inclusion, Parenting, Random life, Special Needs by Kari Wagner-Peck. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kari Wagner-Peck

Kari Wagner-Peck lives with her husband and son in Maine. She is a writer & storyteller who home schools with her son. She has a M.S.W. and has been at various times a practicing social worker, documentary videographer, film festival director and retail clerk. She is the author of Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, May, 2017, Central Recovery Press. She has been published at The New York Times Well Family blog, The Huffington Post, The The Good Men Project, The Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life blog, BLOOM and Love That Max among others. Author page: kariwagnerpeck.com Twitter @KariWagnerPeck and Facebook: www.facebook.com/NotAlwaysHappyLive/ Email: kariwagnerpeck@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “Rave On –

  1. the teacher could’ve done a better job handling this- do the girls touch one another? do they just say ok when they hug one another? do they get reprimanded if they do this “girly stuff”?

    the lesson is, if you’d like to hug someone or hold their hand or make kind physical contact, you need to ask first- reprimanding him for wanting to be gentle or sweet to another person is bad news-

    she was reinforcing the “different” (whether that be that he’s a boy and/ or that he is “atypical”). she needs to get with the program and get some training on how to deal with preschoolers- tutu or no tutu!

    • Well, in her defense it is a half hour class with 8 three-year-old’s and one Thorin. Realistically, there probably isn’t time for Thorin to do a lot of hugging. But, you’re right she should totally bust the girls on that kind of stuff:)

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