David and I have been working together for over a year now. Being a #nonspeaking#autistic teenager, He has made enormous strides in his overall body control as well as expressing himself through #alternativecommunication. His main forms of communication are through a handheld letter board and the iMean letter board app for iPad. Because David and I also go to the same church, we recently had a worship experience that we felt was worth sharing. This is David’s first attempt at a short blog.
David’s Worship Experience
I experience music all over my body. Sometimes I see colors. It makes me feel happy. I like listening to music. My favorite music is worship because I have a relationship with God. I experience God’s love in music. I love God desperately so I need help to worship. Right now I stim. Stimming means I forget how to control my body, so I need help to raise my hands and clap to the music. My helper gives me control to worship the way I want. It matters so much to my worship experience.
Trish’s Worship Experience
David was high energy when we entered the auditorium for live worship. In my attempt to help calm him down I tapped the beat of the music on his back but it wasn’t helping. Thankfully I remembered to bring the letter board with me so I asked him what he needed from me. He spelled, “I need help to worship.”
David’s hands are in constant motion, also known as stimming. It is an over fire of his nervous system, muddling his ability to fully control his brain to body connection. Thus it is really hard for David to participate in worship as I do, i.e. clap to the music or raise hands in praise. But if I apply pressure to David’s hands, giving feedback to his brain, his stimming stops and he gains control.
Thinking quickly, after David indicated that he needed help to worship, I shifted him in front of me. From behind, I put my hands out on either side of him and I said, “When you’re ready, put your hands in mine and my hands will be your hands, worship how you want.”
Immediately his hands were in my hands, and with a little bit of pressure, his stimming stopped allowing David to clap to the beat, raise his hands in praise, and sway to the music. In being David’s hands, I got the privilege to worship through another person who loves his God so very much. It was raw and genuine, and an experience I will not soon forget. May my own worship experiences be forever changed, never taking for granted that I can praise my God however I wish. #defyinglabels #trainingwithtrish #benttreebible #specialneeds #exercisetherapy #movementtherapy #nonverbal