Thursday, November 17, 2016

Just another kid taking tap-dance lessons, but not just another teacher

Max has been taking tap-dance lessons for several months now; he goes every couple of weeks. The most amazing thing isn't that he's dancing, or that he's got moves, because I've known about that.

The most amazing thing continues to be that two different teachers (the first one's schedule changed) have willingly and gladly given him lessons, and it's been no big deal.

I didn't have to sit down with either of them and have a long discussion about Max's abilities. Neither asked, before they met him, if there was anything to know about Max or the cerebral palsy. From the get-go, the person who owns the school has been open-minded about having Max, and she obviously has like-minded people on her team.

Max eagerly dashes into the school for every lesson. He walks up and down the hall, thrilled with the clickity-clack of his tap shoes. He kicks me out of the room before the lesson starts, only allowing me in at the end. Miss J. teaches him. Max enjoys her company, and it seems mutual.

Part of me still can't believe it's been this easy. Each time I walk into the dance school, I half-expect someone to hand over a bunch of forms I have to sign, or tell me that this isn't working out.

I have PASD (Post Accommodation Stress Disorder). And by that I mean, if you are the parent of a child with special needs, then you know all too well the battles you must fight for accommodations big and small—and how this makes you always expect a struggle. Even when there are no real adaptations or allowances that need to be made, you face polite excuses and resistance: Oh, we've never taught a child with special needs. We don't have the training/insurance/equipment/resources for that. I am not sure we can handle it, but we appreciate your interest. 

The biggest accommodation people need to make when it comes to including children with special needs in activities lies in their minds: They have to open them up. Every week, I'm reminded of this when I walk into the room at the end of the lesson and see Miss J. coaching Max along: "Hands up! Turn! Stomp! Do it by yourself! Good job!"

She's just teaching him the moves, like any teacher anywhere showing a boy how to tap dance.


  1. I love this. Being in marching band, I understand how hard it is to learn a move and do it in time. Max is nailing this.

  2. That's a nice post to parents, thanks for the information

  3. I love this and can totally relate. We almost got kicked out of the YMCA daycare when my daughter couldn't sit unsupported and one of the workers had to hold her each day. Luckily we were able to work something out, but it's sad to see how resistant some people can be.


  4. We only get 9 seconds??? Love the satisfied SMILE on his face.


Thanks for sharing!

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