Posted by: Marie | December 7, 2014

(971) Reaching out

Post #971
[Private journal entry written on Monday, October 8, 2012]

In the days since my therapy session, I have been wondering what Edward must be thinking about what happened between us . . . his being willing to hold me and my telling him that I had no idea how one does something like that. I wonder if he is shocked that someone can be as old as I am and not yet know how to position her body in order to allow herself to be held.

I wonder if, when he goes home to his family, he is consciously aware that the two females who are in his life – his wife and his daughter – both know what it is like to be held in an affectionate and caring way. I’m sure he is grateful that he is in a healthy enough state to provide that for them.

I’m sure that they both already know that when someone holds you, you can hear his heartbeat . . . because I’m sure he cuddles with his daughter and wife. I’m sure they both already know what it is like to feel safe and comforted while being held. I’m certain that Edward makes sure they have that experience on a regular basis.

I want to be mature about this . . . and generous . . .

I am glad for them . . . truly I am. And, I am sad for myself. And, I’m a bit jealous. I don’t want to be jealous, but I am.

It’s not that I don’t want them to have that . . . I just wish I had it as well.


One of the parents of one of my younger students is a CASA for the next county over from mine. A week or two ago, I asked her (Annette) if she would be a reference for me on my CASA application. She said she would be delighted to be a reference. She was so excited that I’m going to become a CASA . . . she said I would be a perfect fit for the position.

Well, it turns out that there is a huge fund raiser for the CASA organization and other similar/related organizations coming up this Saturday evening. It is a “top chef” event where a bunch of chefs and their crews prepare food for the event attendees and the attendees get to vote for their favorite chef. There will also be a panel of judges selecting the “top chef”, and Annette is one of the judges.


Photo by Martin Chen

Annette and her husband purchased a whole table of seats, and because she is a judge, the table is located right up at the front of the venue. Now, purchasing a whole table of seats is not a small deal . . . I think the tickets are something like $50 a seat, or maybe more. And, there are like nine seats per table, I think. So, that’s a considerable amount to spend.

Anyway, Annette asked me if I would like one of the seats . . . she offered it to me as a gift since this event would allow me to interact with the “powers that be” in the network of child abuse prevention agencies. She felt it would be good for me to meet some of the main players.

Of course, I jumped at the chance!

She told me that she would hold a second ticket for me for 24 hours . . . if I could find someone to go with me . . . but, after 24 hours, she would pass it along to someone else.

I contacted Cindy (the paramedic) and I contacted one other parent with whom I’ve developed a friendship. Neither of those ladies could go. So, I guess I’m going stag . . . which doesn’t bother me one bit as I’m rather used to showing up places by myself. It’s a comfortable zone for me.

So, those are my big plans for Saturday evening . . . guess I’ll have to go dig in my closet for fancy clothes . . . it is a “dress to the nines” event . . . not sure what I have that I can wear . . . guess I have a few days to figure it out . . .

I think it’s going to be a blast! I’m really looking forward to it!


One of my students has some unusual learning challenges. The experts have been unable to map his disability to a particular disorder. He has the sensory overload issues – including a low ability to focus in on one specific stimuli while tuning out others. So, that part of the disorder is similar to what kids with autism experience. However, he has none of the interpersonal challenges and behaviors that are usually seen with autism . . . it’s clear that he is not on the autism spectrum. But, the experts really don’t know what is going on with him.

I have been working with him despite the fact he is only four years old. The earliest I normally will start lessons with a child is age six. However, I believe there are some developmental benefits that music will provide for this little guy that will be critical at this point in his development. His mom, Lori, was referred to me by some other parents specifically because they felt I could help this little boy with his development of certain skills. I agreed to work with him to see if I could help him.

I did some informal testing with him to find out which of his music-related skills are already strong and which components of his learning ability are lagging. It turns out that he is very sensitive to color, including the various shades and tones of each color. His color-related vocabulary is incredibly impressive.

When it comes to numbers, he can associate a number he hears spoken out loud with a specific finger or number of beats. However, if I ask him to write down the number of the finger I’m holding up, he is unable to do that. If I write down a number and ask him to play a note that many times, he is unable to do that. However, if we do the same things using just our voices and our ears, he is easily able to do those exercises.

All the kids in his family are home schooled. So, I was surprised when Lori told me she was not aware that the break-down in his comprehension of numbers is in the visual component while his auditory abilities are very strong. She wanted me to explain how I had tested for that so she could do further testing at home. Of course, I showed her. She was grateful to have that information.

Anyway, I have been pondering how to best set up a learning system for him. Obviously, we should use his auditory skills as a pathway for teaching him new material. And, we should use color coding to enhance the visual aspects of reading music.

This week, at some point in my pondering, I remembered a color-coded learning system I developed several years ago for my autistic student, Matt. The system did not worked well for Matt because Matt’s perfect pitch over-rode the color-coded pathway of learning. Once I knew the system was not going to work for Matt, I stuck it on a shelf and didn’t use it again . . . until now. I’m betting that the system I created for Matt will be ideal for this little guy.

Today, at his lesson, I showed it to him. He fell in love with the color coding and was able to immediately start playing the songs, almost without mistake. He was so excited because he loves music and he has been wanting to play “real” songs on the piano for a long time like his siblings. He almost couldn’t sit still long enough to play a song because he was so excited. Both his mom and I were awestruck and we both were fighting back tears . . .

He was in a world of his own, playing song after song . . . he didn’t need our help . . . at least not for a few minutes . . . so, Lori and I sat back and visited a little bit. She asked me what education or training had taught me how to figure this stuff out for my students (she was wanting to know if the training would be available to her) . . . I hesitated a bit before I answered . . .

She is a pastor’s wife . . . and I’m always a bit leery about talking about my paranormal experiences with evangelical Christians . . . I really didn’t want to open that can of worms with her . . .

But, I finally decided that I believed she would be respectful of what I had to say . . . I didn’t think she would try to cram her beliefs down my throat . . . her vibe indicated that she would be cool about it . . .

So, I told her how I have no training but that my intuition is very strong and how I often hear angels whispering in my ear, telling me what to do . . .

Her mouth dropped open . . . she said she absolutely believes in intuition and in angels helping us out in that way.

She then asked how it is possible that I have no education or training in working with special needs students . . . hadn’t my general music education touched on that?

I explained that I have no music education, either . . . that I only had four years of lessons as a kid . . . and a few lessons with Matt’s mom in the last year or two . . . that I had never intended to be a piano teacher, I just fell into it due to a series of serendipitous events.

That made Lori all the more curious and she started asking me a million questions about how I ended up as a piano teacher. The conversation started getting into territory that was not appropriate for young ears. So, I asked Lori if she was pretty open-minded . . . if much shocked her . . . she said that very little shocks her and that she is very open-minded . . . that, as a pastor’s wife, she has been exposed to more than I could imagine.

I offered to email my story to her, including the parts I felt I couldn’t discuss while the kids were nearby. She said that would be great. So, this afternoon, I sent her the 13-page document that summarizes my story.

I guess we’ll see what that brings . . . I hope it is not offensive to her . . . she seems pretty cool . . . I guess time will tell.



  1. Hope it worked out with Lori.

    My guess at Edward’s reaction was that he has worked with people with touch issues before and was delighted with your breakthrough.

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