I'm in the middle of a miracle and I'm blown away. Ronnie...strange Ronnie, sad Ronnie, Ronnie who curls up into a ball in class sometimes got up in front of the class and told a heartbreakingly beautiful story. I'm so full of wonder that I'm almost numb. Here's the story behind that story:
Ronnie is autistic. Ronnie is from an extremely dysfunctional family. Ronnie's mom uses drugs and drinks..a lot. Ronnie flinches if anyone moves their arms in his direction. Ronnie comes to school unbathed and not dressed very well. Ronnie often has to take a nap at school because he didn't get any sleep the night before. Ronnie breaks my heart.
I'm a storyteller. It's my passion and bringing storytelling back into peoples' lives is my dream. To that end I go into classrooms and tell stories whenever they'll have me. I tell historical stories, funny stories, tall tales, fables, myths, anything that fits. I always encourage the kids to get up and tell stories of their own, and have had some success, but not much.
Today I went to my daughter's 4th grade class like I do every Thursday to tell stories. I made my standard plea for anyone in the class to come up and tell a story of their own...and I got a taker! Tim came up and told a great story..an African folk-tale. He's a very unique boy, and did a great job. I was so excited. Then...Ronnie said he had a story. Both the teacher and I almost groaned. Ronnie rarely follows conversations. He either doesn't understand how to communicate with others, or he doesn't chose to. He's usually on a different track than the rest of the kids. We thought that Ronnie would forget what story he was telling, or that he'd go on and on, or that his story wouldn't have a storyline. We were wrong...so very wrong.
Ronnie walked to the front of the class and sat down in the chair next to me. He began "This is a story I made up about how the swan saved the world." Ronnie's story was incredible! It had a great storyline, lots of action, wonderful characters, plenty of magic...and I sat there spellbound. Ronnie told of how the Leopard was always teased about his spots (Ronnie has alot of freckles), and how the Lion was jealous of his speed. He told about how the Lion plotted against the Leopard, to kill him, but the Swan overheard the plan and lured the Lion after her instead. She escaped by diving into a river, where her beautiful rainbow colors washed off, leaving her the pure white that she is today.
I need to learn more about Autism and how storytelling fits in.