Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Emotional connections

After reading this post about the emotional impact of music by one of my favorite Aut-rent bloggers, I started thinking about how msk reacts to music. When he was about 4 or 5 years old we had a music box that sounded a lot like this one from You Tube.

The Entertainer by Scott Joplin on a wind-up music box

He would wind it up and listen intently. Then he would start weeping. Initially it alarmed me, but it seemed like something he wanted to do, so I wouldn't stop him, at least not right away. As he would listen and quietly cry, the melancholy aspects of ragtime, with it's lurching syncopation, would start to get to me as well.

When I was in high school, I played in a ragtime woodwind ensemble. I loved the sense of another era that ragtime had, while still feeling very accessible and real to me. After looking a bit more on You Tube I found another Scott Joplin tune that we had played that would have probably made me cry if it weren't for the fact that I was working too hard playing it. But that emotional connection that I felt, had a great deal to do with more than ten years of really serious music lessons at that point. Msk got those connections all on his own and when he was little more than a toddler.

Solace by Scott Joplin from the soundtrack of The Sting

I do have a point with all this. I know that msk has feelings, even if he doesn't have the words to explain or share them. I also know he cares about how other people feel, even if he can't understand their verbal or non-verbal indication of those feelings. I think that his emotional connection is much stronger through music than words and that his repeated playing of a song that touched him deeply was a way to feel connected to someone outside his immediate family.

Right now we are in the midst of reviewing some pretty intense evaluations of msk's neurological and speech capabilities. The results don't contradict what I know and love about him, but they are pretty stark in showing how great his challenges are. Thinking about his connections and feelings reminds me of his capabilities, as opposed to his deficits.


  1. Dear a Parent, I just want to know that I have been following all your posts but time, MSA, and family things have left me unmotivated to comment. BUT, I feela bit like I am reading chapters of a book. I so want to know how your daughter's search turns out. I avidly read as you post about your son. With the changes in Inside Ed, I feel like my ed contacts have finally gpone away. I linked to your blog through Inside Ed but I have fixed that now. No real comments tonight except to let you know I(and others) are reading and to ask you to keep writing. Thinking I would like to meet you? Any interest? Wise Educator

    1. Really busy (see today's post). Let me get back to you on that.

  2. Have a great weekend. I am very busy at school and home, too. Maybe this summer.Or maybe you would have a moment to come by my school. Or not. Just keep writing and in spite of Inside Ed going away I will follow your blog.


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