Have you guys heard of Laurie Berkner? She’s absolutely fantabulous with childrens songs! A long time ago, when there was only Tony & Grace…and autism, they would zone out in front of the TV for hours at a time, not interacting (with Blues Clues for goodness sake! How can you NOT talk to Blue & Steve?) in any way… just little zombies. I would sit with them and try to get them to talk back to the TV but… nothing. It used to make me sad to see them sitting (or laying) there, just staring at a show that was supposed to be interactive. I had a ton of sing along videos that I just knew they would love, but they got the same reaction. Staring and zombie faces. I would put fabulous childrens music on the CD player. Again… nothing. No reactions. Then one day, someone told me about Laurie Berkner and we bought a CD with a bonus DVD.
That day is etched in my mind forever. Tony & Grace sitting on the couch in their usual position, I put in the Laurie Berkner DVD and UP THEY BOUNCED, dancing and playing and laughing and all the reaction you expect out of children when music is involved. I joined right in of course and we stomped around like dinosaurs, we wore pigs on our head, we had songs in our tummy, and we sat under a shady tree. It still brings tears to my eyes to remember the looks on their faces, the interaction we had that day over music. THAT was a good day.
We, like any good parent, went out immediately and bought every one of her CDs. We played them constantly and Daddy and I memorized them all in no time. When I was lonely for my children to come away from their perservation, or spinning or whatever they were stuck in, I would sing Laurie Berkner songs and sometimes they would join me in play.
It’s funny, we moved recently and those CDs were rediscovered. Daddy put them in the player the other day and everyone started singing. They aren’t new to Kate but we hadn’t listened in a long time so she had forgotten them, but not the other two. They immediately started kicking their legs and singing at the tops of their lungs, faces shining, eyes lit up with delight. What a joy it has been to revisit something so precious!
And yes, in case you’re wondering, we’ve listened to them so much in the last two days that Kate now has a few of them memorized. She was singing them to our doctor tonight during allergy treatments. And then she sang them to the next innocent bystander (patient) who walked in behind us.
Ah, I love Laurie.
Wonder Woman… sorta, is a military wife & homeschooling mom of three children recovered from autism. She used biomedical methods and extreme dietary interventions to achieve recovery. Although no longer meeting the criteria for autism, there are still issues to be dealt with so each day is an adventure! Wonder Woman…sorta, does not wear star spangled undies. You can find her blog, Autism Recovered, here.