My Son Takes Dance, and It’s Awesome!

dance - Boston Moms Blog
Photo cred: Molly Ferguson

We started looking for extracurricular activities for our son, who is on the autism spectrum, when he was in preschool. We knew the typical sports would not be a good fit for him. While he is verbal, he does have limited communication and many processing delays. I know preschool sports are not highly structured or intense activities, but I also know my son. He is not interested in kicking a ball — instead, he would prefer to gather the balls and line them up (and he would have most likely lined up the cones as well).

We needed to find an activity where he could socialize with other kids and adults, but his teammates would not be dependent on him to perform themselves. A friend told us about a dance studio in our town that accepts children with all abilities. The studio offers both conservatory and integrated classes, as well as therapeutic classes for children and adults with more limited abilities. So we tried a class, and my son enjoyed it. We stuck with it the next year — and every year since.  

Every September, when it’s time to think about the next year’s classes, I wonder if we should re-enroll.

“Should we try something else?” I think. “Will he be bullied at school for taking dance lessons? Does he mind that he is the only boy?”

Ultimately, we always stick with dance. Because he loves it!

Like, he really LOVES it! He loves the recital and performing on the big stage. The choreography is right up his alley, and he often reminds his dance teacher if she does the wrong step. He is constantly dancing at home. And if his teachers put music on at school for indoor recess, he will dance there too. It gives him joy and pride. He knows and loves his “dance girls.” We are truly grateful for dance and this studio. They even allowed my son and my daughter to perform a short duet last year to a song my son composed on his iPad. I mean, how cool is that!

When the recital was over this year and we gave my son flowers to congratulate him, he said, “Oh my, I am so happy — I have the tears of joy!” So, dear son, you go on dancing. Watching you dance gives us all immense joy. We are so proud of you.

Leah is a Massachusetts native who grew up in the MetroWest area. She met her husband in 2006 and they bonded over all things Boston. After moving to North Carolina for 4 years, they realized they had to move back to New England. (love that dirty water!) In 2011 they welcomed a son into their family. Then 2014, 1 week before having their daughter, their son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The last but not least little guy came in 2017. With three kids and special needs in their life, they rely on an amazing support system of friends and family. Leah is a stay at home mom, who is also growing a small business, and enjoying the independence and freedom it has given her. Loves: Great food (mostly made by her talented husband), playing with the kids, the beach, date nights, The Pats, The Sox, The B’s, new socks and bras, and American history, and movies. Can’t stand: Cotton balls, weeds, broken crayons, pollen, and vacuuming up Cheerios every half hour.