So I know I’ve gone on about ballet class quite a bit, but bear with me. The term is coming to an end and I have to make the decision about whether or not we’re going to re-enlist in the trenches. I’ve thought a lot about what Frankie’s getting out of the class, does she enjoy it, what it means for her in the grand scheme of things…and then I realized maybe the person who is learning the most in ballet class is ME… As I’ve been watching her each Saturday morning, I’ve come to realize that she’s a very visual learner. When the teacher demonstrates something, Frankie is ace at copying and following along. When she’s TOLD to do something, she needs more time to hear it, process it and perform it (see video). She is very engaged when she is contained and the movement is small and entrenched in song and direction. When the children are encouraged to move about the room, she loses interest and strays. I’ve been concerned about how this looks to other parents, wondering if they’re attributing it to her disability and I thought maybe she wasn’t really ready for such a class. But then it occurred to me – if I don’t keep giving her opportunities to understand, she will never learn. Like any child, exposure, routine and repetition are great tools for her.

And finally, I’ve realized that inclusion means more than just having her in the room at an activity geared toward typical children. Frankly, she’s not just sitting there waiting for the class to include her. It’s more about drawing her in and engaging her.

Though we have attended classes before, this is really the first chance I’ve had to sit back and observe her in a classroom setting. I’m shocked at how much I’ve taken away from the class and excited to apply all of this to what we do at home.

Needless to say, we are in for another 10 weeks. Take all of my money, Rose Academy of Ballet!