Adam’s Piano Recital 2012

Filed Under (Adam) by Estee on 25-06-2012

Adam did really well at his piano recital yesterday and I’m so proud of him. I don’t take video because I want to be there in the moment with him, not ‘virtually there’ by making sure I got great photos. Grandfather is better at that anyway. When his teacher called him up to play (she’s standing behind him in the photo) The Muffin Man he walked up to the Grand Piano and played. Save for a few glances towards swirling fans high above in the church’s ceiling, he got through it just fine. Two years ago he was completely distracted by a piano painted with butterflies, a “hey this is cool… nope wait… hey look at that one” distraction that derailed his performance. I never took him to the site ahead of time to get used to it. Live and learn.

Adam can read his notes now and play with both hands. We started by colour coding his hands and the keyboard and notes with numbers and moved on from there. Now he’s learning his half notes and on we go, thanks also to his patient teacher and her assistant, Adam’s grandmother, who does exceptional preparation for Adam’s lessons.

Just before the concert, I kept Adam quiet and well fed. I wrote a quick schedule by hand listing the things we were going to do to prepare for the afternoon and we re-read it together. Then we practiced ahead of time — the walk, the playing, the bow. We arrived thirty minutes before the concert to walk inside and outside the building. He pulled at me when we arrived, wanting to explore. I purposefully stopped many times in hallways with lots of doors, which has caused Adam him lots of anxiety in the past — a compulsion to run off and open them. I then asked him to wait and talked him through it all quietly. I checked my phone, dug around his bag and I didn’t hold on to Adam’s hand. He waited with me even though I could feel he wanted to move on. When Adam calmly explored, and knew that he was going to get the chance with me, he was cool. He also accepted change of direction and areas that were off limits.

By the time it was time to sit down in his row for the performance, Adam was just fine. The sanctuary was hushed. He sat for the entire performance, bored sometimes and clapped others. When one of the boys got a little talkative, Adam laughed and wanted to talk back by repeating the last word he heard, “again.” He’s a giddy rule-breaker at heart.

We will definitely go back again next year.


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.