After years of focusing on basic life and academic skills with two of my children, who have some developmental challenges, we have now arrived at the middle school years. One of the basic decisions I faced in planning their home school curriculum for this year was whether to continue to peck away with large amounts of time on the weak areas, or whether to expand their education with some mainstream extracurricular activities.
Actually, it wasn’t much of a decision. I already believe that one of the keys to their success in basic academics is to help them explore and develop the areas that particularly interest them. I have always tried to include fun educational activities in their day, such as puzzle class, nature walks, and dry erase board art.
So this time around I was bound and determined to get them started in real piano lessons since they have often enjoyed playing on the piano—their own way. Praying for direction, I finally Googled piano teachers in our locale and called the first name that looked good. (Actually, I’d heard her name before, so it wasn’t a complete shot in the dark.) I’ll call her Miss K.
Turns out Miss K has a good deal of experience teaching students who have had brain injuries; one of my children fits that category, so we were off to a good start. I was encouraged that she was both aware of the needs my children might have and that she was well-versed in a variety of teaching methods which could accomodate them. Amazing how God provides.
“Let’s set up an interview, so to speak,” said Miss K.
Fast forward a week or two. I am sitting in Miss K’s studio watching her alternate between my two boys, asking questions, giving directions, letting them play her various keyboards and pianos. Satisfied with the so-called interview, the teacher walks across the room to talk to me about the details of the lesson arrangements.
And then it happens.
Child #1 sits at one piano. Child #2 helps himself to a second. They begin to play various movie soundtrack tunes they have picked out by ear at home. And they are playing in perfect—and I mean perfect—unison.
Miss K and I look at each other. “I’ve never heard them do that before,” I offer with a grin.
“That’s quite an extraordinary attachment to sound,” she replies.
In that moment, I feel such a wave of relief and a huge sense of pride. For all the hurdles my children have faced, they have also been gifted, and maybe we are about to experience something amazing.
According to Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (ESV). For parents of children with special needs, there are many hopes and dreams deferred. But believe me, when that child reaches a milestone—even the smallest achievement—it feels like new life, a return on all the time and work and love invested.
Is your child struggling? Maybe due to diagnosed needs or a challenging school subject or a difficult friendship? Don’t give up, Mom. Keep working. Keep praying. Keep loving. Maybe you are about to experience something amazing.
Leaving Miss K’s studio, I turn to my boys. “Have you ever done that before? Played the same song together?”
One of them shrugs, “No.”
The other adds, “We never had two pianos before.”