Myra and I would often sit outside together. We both liked to sing, so I would sing a song and then she would, clapping to her own beat. I liked that she was an individual, and I often wondered what she thought about. Singing was her main way of communicating, and she could also really move. I called it her dancing.
Myra was autistic, had cerebral palsy, and was blind. She also was hard of hearing. She loved her name (so did I) so the kids in my class who spent time with her used it frequently. Most of the songs she sang were her own invention, and they were lovely.
She was about 11, which was older than some of us and younger than others. In some ways, I looked up to her. She wasn’t in my class, but she was so easy to be with and had a way of helping people calm down just by being around her. She enjoyed holding people’s hands, so we often did that as we sang.
With her speed, she beat us all at PE activities that required her to zip around, especially when out of her wheelchair, and we cheered her on. She liked the stimulation of fast movement, and so using a scooterboard was her favorite activity. It it was fun to watch her have so much fun in our large PE space, where no one (at least, not the kids!) was worried she might crash.
Myra was a calm person. When I look back, I think of this and how well she was able to meet many of her need for stimulation, given a teacher and environment that didn’t shame it. We just let Myra be Myra, and it was a good thing for everyone.