I think I mentioned in a previous post that I’d be starting to work with some older kids from the ABA clinic at work. Yesterday was the first experience.
All day, I had been hearing from various staff that I was in for it. That I had no idea what I was getting into. That there was a five child nightmare coming to my music therapy group today. I should say that these comments weren’t meant to be derogatory, but they were coming from the people who do work with these kids on a day-to-day basis. They knew what I was in for, and they were just warning me to be on my toes. From the picture they were painting, I could imagine a scene of utter devastation. There I was (in my vision), huddled and quivering in a corner while five savage children danced around the smoking remains of what had once been my music therapy equipment. Corpses of staff were strewn about, and through the giant hole in the roof, I could see the birds of prey were circling. A single tear of despair fell down my cheek as the children turned their attention to me…
That’s not what happened at all.
In fact, it was a wonderful session. The five kids were all pretty engaged throughout. The one who I had worked with before was his normal participatory self, though he wasn’t quite as active as usual. Maybe being around older kids did that. Maybe I just didn’t notice with everything else going on in the room. The other kid that I was familiar with in the room (just because he’s a holy terror who always seems like he’s kicking and screaming on the way to timeout) stayed in his seat, sang along, played all of the instruments, and did fantastically well. The only behavioral problem we had was one kid getting impatient and kicking the glockenspiel out of my hands when it wasn’t his turn.
I think that I have the advantage over normal staff in that I’m doing something new and different, and I have a guitar, which is pretty cool. Besides, when I worked in San Diego, I think I got prepared for anything. I didn’t ignore what the staff had to say, but I didn’t let myself get affected by it. I could easily have shut down and been extremely hesitant. I think I’ve learned through my experience that I need to just dive in, be confident, make sure my transitions are tight, and everything will be fine. And if it isn’t, we’ll deal with it. I can always make changes to the format later.
Thanks for reading!