Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thumbs Up, Elbow Bump

Meet Mikaluh

Mikaluh has a gorgeous smile, beautiful blue eyes, an artistic side, a sing and dance side and she also happens to have autism. She has a lot to offer the world but tapping into those gifts is sometimes challenging. As you can imagine it is difficult for her to engage with others. This has been our goal for her from the beginning. Early on in the year we tried so many things to break into her world. Music was definitely a way. We sang together and for a moment here and there it felt like we connected. Then one day she said to me, "thumbs up, elbow bump," and gave me literally a thumbs up and with the same arm put out her elbow for me to bump with my elbow. You can imagine my disbelief and excitement.This became a way to connect. Students began saying it to her and she would elbow bump a friend. The chills and joy this brought helped create a tight community of children who have shown so much tolerance and love it is unimaginable unless you experience it.
She is a wonder. I may never fully know what she is thinking or feeling but I do know that she brings her own brightness to every encounter. I see that she is so much more than she may be able to communicate. I have high hopes for her and what she can accomplish.

5 comments:

Beth said...

What wonderful moment!

elsie said...

A special teacher recognizes the special qualities in all students. I think you fit the bill. Precious girl!

Robin said...

What a special little girl! She may challenge at times, but what an awesome learning experience you have all had this year. And it's awfully hard to deny that special smile. Mikaluh is incredibly lucky to have you as her teacher this year.

Michelle said...

You can see such delight in that smile and her gorgeous eyes! Mikaluh is so lucky to have you as a teacher and I'm so glad that you connected with "thumbs up, elbow bump." Continue to sing her song!

Linda at teacherdance said...

What a beautiful little girl, and how lucky she is to have you Betsy. I've only had one direct connection with an autistic child, a student's younger sister. I know that from the family stories, she changed everything in the ways they did things. It wasn't bad, just different. Great to hear about your young student.