What follows is the continuation of a story of my work with a little boy with autism and his family. To learn more read the first post and please leave comments below!
Another moment during my session with Jay merits attention. He had moved from his mattress to the floor beside my table. In the interim I had given his father a short lesson and asked both of his parents to reflect on their observations of my work. When I returned to Jay he was on his belly on the floor, gently rocking his pelvis like young children frequently do. He reached out and held onto one of the supporting plastic-coated wires that facilitate the closing of my work table. He pulled on the cord, released it and expressed an contented sound at the resulting twang. Then he reached out and grabbed a thinner elastic cord that makes up another part of the table’s underbelly. This he twined in his hand and resumed resting while grasping the elastic cord. My first instinct was to make sure that he wasn’t going to break the elastic of my table. I found myself wanting to tell him to please let it go. Then, instead, I touched the cord, found that tension was nowhere near to breaking and paused. If I told him “no” or anything approximating I hypothesized that it would pull him out of his languor. This comfortable commonality that I had built between us might well be interrupted. Recognizing that the situation with the elastic wasn’t urgent, either for my table or for Jay’s chances of snapping the cord, I withdrew my unspoken objection and resumed my manual manipulations. By pausing in the face of discomfort and wondering what would be best for Jay (and not just for me) under those circumstances, I reversed my judgement and continued in the creation of a stronger connect between us.