This week, some of my work was cancelled so that I could work at a week-long camp I agreed to work at one year ago. The children at this camp were not children I knew much about personally, and did not have an opportunity to get to know individually. After writing last weeks blog about Mastering a Skill; Measurement of Progress and Actual Development (http://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2012/08/mastering-a-skill-measurement-of-progress-and-actual-development/), I realized something. I had talked about home conditions of which a teacher or therapist may not be informed. What does one do without background information? One must do the best they can AND pay attention to those “little” signs that catch our attention briefly, or things that don’t quite add up, but we cannot pin-point. Sometimes there are so many priorities to take care of, we notice something but quickly move on because we have to, and then forget. I once read an explanation about intuitive feelings that made sense to me. The article mentioned (I do not remember where I saw this, I only remember the information) that “intuition” is not as mystical as some people think, but instead is many little things on which our sub-conscious mind is picking up. However you explain it, these things can be very important.
I first thought about this when an adult friend of mine was going through therapy. She had endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of her own father. During her course of therapy, I happened to witness a very violent physical reaction she had in dealing with the issues that were being brought forth. Up until her point of going to therapy, she had only told one person of this trauma. I remember thinking as I watched, “Didn’t anybody ever notice anything wrong?”
A true story. My oldest son came home from second grade one day and proclaimed to me that his friend “Christian” had failed a test and never studied. At the time, I probably was able to put a face with the name, but did not know anything much about this little boy. I found it strange that Nicholas even said this, since it was not something that ever seemed to concern Nick at this time. I told my son, “Nicholas, you don’t know that, you don’t know what happens at home,” listing a couple scenarios.
We had left that school at the end of the year, but remained living near by. A few years later, we joined a group and quickly learned that “Christian” and his family belonged there also. Nick and “Christian” are now 19, and have never again attended the same school, however the boys continued to get together throughout the years despite their busy schedules. They have remained friends all these years. Years later, I found out the at the end of that same school year, “Christian”‘s mother had him tested elsewhere and found out he was dyslexic. “Christian”‘s mother confided to me that he did not want to go to school and would wake up during the night crying . He did not want to get into trouble any more.
Nick and “Christian” have remained friends regardless of this conversation I had with Nick years ago. However, what a great teachable moment this ended up to be.
We don’t always have all the information, but sometimes we dismiss things that may make a big difference in a child’s learning progress. We might not be able to correctly label these things, but they may be worth paying attention to. Time will most likely give us some insight later.