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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Staying Focused can be Tough for an 8 Year Old

P1010050 by you.

My Sweet Glen.  I still can't believe he is my grandson.  He is growing up so fast - as they all are, of course.  Glen is an amazing child.  He is different, but he is very, very smart.

P1000582 by you.

Ever since Glen was a baby, he has been mesmerized by anything that had buttons, so he naturally took very quickly to the computer and then when we got our piano, he gravitated to it like a magnet.  I guess he thought the keys were a bunch of buttons.

P1000575 by you.

Glen has Asperger's Syndrome, which is, from what I understand, a mild form of Autism, and he has a lot of difficulty staying focused if there is any stimulation around him, like noises, activity, visuals (like horses out the window or in the case of the beautiful music Studio of his piano teacher, Claire Ritter, she has a lot of pictures and articles, and paintings on the walls of her studio.

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Between his lessons on the piano with Claire, he'll ask a lot of questions about the pictures on the walls or the horses out the window.  A few times he stopped right in the middle of playing a song to ask a question about the picture to his right.  Challenging?  Yes.  Interested in knowing about everything around him?  Yes.  In need of a teacher who is patient, tolerant, and understanding?  Yes. 

Thank God for teachers like Claire Ritter.  She is fantastically patient, and is creating in him an appreciation for music and the piano.

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Glen tries hard, and he is determined to do the best he can.  He is very competitive too, so having Sarah and Matthew to catch up with on the piano is not only exciting for him, but absolutely critical. 

Here, Sarah is showing Glen the correct way to play a song that he is learning.

What is interesting is that when you don't think he is listening, he comes out with comments and answers and songs on the piano that prove that he was listening better than anyone.   That is never more evident as when he sits at the piano and starts playing songs that I had never even heard him practice.

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So, I sit back and watch this little boy grow up.  I pray that he be able to function independently and have a healthy, safe, and secure life.  I am so happy that he has music in his life and that he becomes so excited when he has a piano lesson. 

Of course, I think he is the most adorable 8 year old on the planet.  Then again, I'm partial.  Or, maybe not.  Maybe he is the cutest 8 year old on the planet. 

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