Sing Out Loud, Sing Out Strong

Before I continue telling you about the class presentation, I just want to thank you for the response that these posts are getting.  I’m a bit overwhelmed, but I’m also delighted that so many of you are finding them helpful.

And now, back to the classroom, where I was talking to Bud’s classmates about the way he talks.

“Some of you asked why Bud sometimes says the same things over and over and over.  Have the rest of you noticed that he does that?” I asked.  They all responded: yes, that is something they’d noticed.

“Okay,” I said.  “Now, how many of you have ever gotten a song stuck in your head?”

Every hand went up, as the students laughed with recognition.

“Have you ever had a line or two from a song stuck in your head?  The same lines just keep playing in your head over and over?”

They laughed more and raised their hands higher.

“So, what happens when you have a song stuck in your head?  What do you do?”

“I sing it out loud,” said Kayleigh.

“Me too!” her classmates echoed.

“Me, too,” I said.  “And sometimes I just keep singing the same lines over and over.”

“Sometimes I don’t even know I’m doing it until my mom tells me to stop singing,” added Kelly.  And the students echoed their own experiences and their propensity to sing absentmindedly.

“That happens to Bud, too,” I said.  “Only for Bud, the scripts he learns from TV shows are as catchy as songs.  If you listen to him when he repeats scripts, you’ll notice that he says the words exactly the same way as the characters.  The scripts are lyrical to him.  And sometimes, those lyrics get stuck in his head, and he says them out loud.”

“When I get a song stuck in my head,” said Nathan, “I just try to concentrate on something really hard, like a math problem or something, to try to get the song out of my head.”

“That’s great,” I said.  “When I get a song stuck in my head, it’s really hard for me to think about something like a math problem, because the song keeps getting in the way.”

The students murmured with further recognition, sharing their own experience with song lyrics and distractibility.

“When I have a song in my head,” said Kelly, “I’ll start writing and I’ll write down the words to the song.”

“That’s another strategy to get the song out of your head,” I said.

“I think what Kelly means,” Ms. Walker offered, “is that she starts writing the words to the song instead of the thing she’s trying to write, without realizing that she’s doing it.” Kelly nodded enthusiastically.

“Oh!” I said.  “Yes.  When a song is stuck in our heads, we have to try to concentrate on two things at once. Sometimes the math problem gets our attention, and sometimes the song does.  And remember Bud’s great memory?  He has a LOT of songs and a LOT of scripts in his head, that are trying to get his attention.

“Here’s another question:  how many of you have a favorite song?”

Hands shot up quickly.

“Does it make you feel good to sing your favorite song?”

They nodded and agreed that yes, in fact, it did make them feel good to sing their favorite songs.

“It makes Bud feel good, too.  Sometimes, he just says his scripts out loud because it makes him feel good.”

Tomorrow: Question #4 - Why does Bud run in circles? Why does he need movement breaks?

Mom-NOS’s Sing Out Loud, Sing Out Strong, the fifth entry in a series for Mondays at Shift Journal, was first published at MOM – Not Otherwise Specified, and appears here under the terms of this Creative Commons License.

on 10/25/10 in Autism, featured | No Comments | Read More

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