Monday, June 23, 2008

The Art of Listening

I watched Autism: The Musical a few months ago and have thought about it off and on since. There is a scene where the young man who is mostly non-verbal starts to communicate using an assistive technology device. The first thing he says to his mom is: "You need to listen more." It was such a powerful moment. As the mom a mostly non-verbal child, I can tell you that I spend a great deal of time trying to understand my son. I watch him like a hawk. I interpret, analyze, infer. And I try to listen with my heart when I remember. But if he could talk would he tell me the same thing? How good am I at listening? I don't know. I really don't know. But I've been thinking about it a lot.


  1. Paige1:41 AM

    That scene was, to me, one of the most powerful in the whole film.

    Just this past Friday, I lost Loryn in the Staunton Mall. Meaning, she *ran* away from me in the booksore, and ran out into the mall. She was gone for about 20-25 minutes before we found her (we, meaning employees and shoppers at the mall...Security never did show up) in Belk, playing on the display beds.

    The one thing I still can't get out of my head is the utter dismay on people's faces when I was describing Loryn: Autistic and would not answer to her name if called. Those helpful people, all of a sudden, looked as if there were no hope of finding her, and (I thought) they wished they hadn't volunteered!

    It was a scary, horrific half hour. But we found her.

    Jeeze...I can't even blog about it yet, as it seems so raw. But here I am telling little bits about it, to *you*, because I have a feeling you'll get it. :-)

    Hope all is welll with you, and that the trip to Switzerland goes smoothly, and that you all have a good time!

    Paige in Staunton

  2. I think, with Andrew and I, there was a time when the two of us weren't the best at listening to each other. But, now, lately, we seem to be getting pretty good at it. At least I hope that is what Andrew would tell me if he could. The better at listening he gets the better at listening I think I get.

    I know what you mean though about the analyzing and interpreting. Same here.

  3. Beautiful post, Christine. That was an intense, thought provoking moment in the movie.

  4. Christine, I remember that moment in the movie, too. I think there are so very many ways of "listening" if one is willing to try. From everything you have shared on this blog, I think you probably do a great job of listening to your son. Probably not perfect —none of us is— but remarkably in tune. Give yourself tons of credit for that. You listen with your heart...which is WAY better than the ears, IMO!

  5. I feel this way a lot with J too. He is non-verbal still, but makes a lot of sounds that are often hard to make out. Is he trying to communicate? I don't know either. I just rewatched Autism The Musical a few weeks ago and remember that scene well.

  6. Anonymous11:07 PM

    I was moved by that scene as well. He has an excellent point.