Saturday, June 13, 2009


The end of the school year is coming and I can't believe Michael is going to middle school this year. I think of all he has accomplished the last 2 years- it's amazing. I've also been reminded, time after time, that sometimes your EXPECTATIONS are really LIMITATIONS.

I've said things like "he'll never be out of a 6" or "he'll never go to college" and I was wrong. Another wrong prediction was "he can't play violin" and boy was I wrong, again.

Michael started playing last fall in school. It took a few weeks and then he got the hang of it. The kid LOVES to practice. He usually does about 100 minutes a week. Most times I don't have to remind him to play. It's all beginner stuff, but he gets better everyday.

A few weeks ago Michael participated in NYSSMA. That's a music competition where kids go in front of a judge and play or sing. They get graded. The best kids go to all-county or all-state. It's very important for serious musicians in New York State.

The school asked me if I wanted him to do NYSSMA and I thought YES! Back a million years ago, when I was in high school, I played piano and sang in the competition. I remember going to Riverhead HS and playing on a grand piano in the aud- scared out of my mind. Experiences like that build character :)

Anyway, Michael played his Level One solo and we got the results. He scored a PERFECT score! He even did scales and sight-reading. I'm flabbergasted. Never, never, never in my wildest dreams did I think MY son with autism would play the violin and get a perfect score in NYSSMA. Usually the words are "delayed" "special needs" "autistic" "handicapped"-- not "perfect". The amount of pride and joy in my heart cannot be measured.

HE accomplished this because of his hard work and dedication. I'm so happy he found something he loves.

This week Michael played 4 times in concerts. They did the 4th grade concert- two for the students and one for the parents (at night). He also played with all the strings in the school district. He played, waited with the other kids, followed directions, etc. The staff didn't even pay attention to him, in a way. They don't "worry" about him. Of course, I was a little nervous because he doesn't have an epi-pen with him in these situations and he's got a deadly peanut allergy. But, he just blends in.

The other kids are usually nice to him, but I do notice he keeps to himself a bit. I think a lot of times he doesn't know what to say or how to socialize with them. He's a lot more ease with 4 year olds then 9 year olds. But, hopefully that skill will come with time.

Michael came home from one of the concerts and said "I want to be a music teacher". LOL- I think this time I'll keep an open mind and believe that anything is possible.


Anonymous said...


What a wonderful story--and even better because it is true! It brought tears to my eyes that he did so well in his violin competition. You said it beautifully, "...sometimes your expectations are really limitations." How insightful you are. Thanks for sharing Michael's story. I will stay tuned!

Best wishes,
Deb Flaherty

Janice Kern said...

Perfect. What a great word!