June 07, 2015

Unlocking Autism

This is a short clip from 60 Minutes Australia called Unlocking Autism. It centers around Daphne Proietto, a piano teacher who lives just outside Melbourne and teaches autistic kids.

While hardly any comment or perspective comes from the autistic students themselves and there's lot of speculation by NTs, it's sweet that she appears to patiently and respectfully teach them. She doesn't charge for her lessons, which is also very generous of her time.

It made me think about my own experiences with the arts. I was put in ballet because my mother thought it would fix my bad posture (I still have bad posture), and I was forced to take piano lessons because I had "long fingers" which were apparently good for piano playing.

While I quit piano earlier than ballet, I felt very free while dancing - and still do. In the video they talk about music "removing autistic symptoms." I don't really agree with that. I think because I was doing the same thing as everyone else, I was not seen for my weirdness or awkwardness while I was dancing. I was judged solely by my dancing abilities. So it didn't remove my symptoms, it just made them less visible to NTs and they could look beyond whatever ideas they had of me for that time. For a short time, I could be equal.

What do you think? Is Daphne working some sort of healing magic on these kids or are people just perceiving them as special because they're doing something "normal" people do?

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