Today, our lecturer showed us a video in which a non-verbal autistic male was interacting with his therapist through a percussion instrument. He would echo the rhythmic naunces of the therapist/pianist, who was taking cues form him as well. It was, in every sense of the word, a conversation. A musical conversation.
“But it took him 6 weeks to get here.” We were told. “When he first came, he would do nothing but walk around the room and make abrupt noises. His carer and therapist could not engage him in anything at all.”
The breakthrough point came when a guitar was presented to him, and his hands were guided to make strumming motions. That, together with some singing and further musical interaction, strengthened his focus, to the point when he was able to use an instrument independently to hold a conversation.
I was quite taken aback. 6 weeks to achieve something we all take for granted – communication.
It led me to think about how we tend to rush too many things in today’s world. Things that might need more time. We forget that just because some things don’t happen in time, it doesn’t mean that they will never happen. It doesn’t mean that the potential isn’t there.
A child who doesn’t do “well” for national exams at 12 years old, 16 years old – they aren’t doomed to failure.
A teacher who cannot manage the class “right” on her first day, first month, first term – it doesn’t mean that she can never be an effective teacher.
A grandmother who did not complete her primary school education – it doesn’t mean she can’t get her degree in her senior years.
Society imposes all these deadlines upon us, and we, in our desperate attempt to survive, try to meet all these deadlines. To prove that we can achieve certain things by a certain time, forgetting that we are all unique individuals, working on our own unique timeline and potential.
Sadly, even after we realise this and try to be more accepting of our own personal pace and journey, the world persists.