Ali Baba and the Drummer Girl

I feel like I should write about the Culture Festival since my pre-Festival post finally came through (there was some message about rejecting it at first). I actually spent almost all of that day in the udon tent, where I would periodically grab a handful of seaweed and toss it into a bowl of noodles. During all the action on stage, I was helping to get everything set up. I slipped away to watch Lilia do her drumming. She didn’t smile, even though she is normally Little Miss Sunshine, so I guess she was pretty nervous. She did okay, but she dropped her drumstick at one point and I was afraid she was going to fall out of her chair while trying to pick it up. Luckily, a teacher rushed up to the stage and retrieved it for her. She did well in her role as Dancing Girl in Ali Baba, too, though she only had one line. She was in her SRC (a walker with a table in front) and it was too dangerous for her to move, she signed, so she just moved her hands. At one point, the other Dancing Girls held hands and danced around her. I’ll bet she liked being at the center of things.

I actually saw the dress rehearsal the previous Thursday, so I was able to enjoy the entire program.

The first time I saw a Deaf School Culture Festival, I was concerned about the dignity of the kids with multiple disabilities – Y-chan, the girl with cerebral palsy who, I believed, couldn’t communicate with signs and thus couldn’t convey her compliance or non-compliance; T-kun, the deaf-blind-autistic boy who can’t see what’s going on; and Y-kun, the autistic boy in Lilia’s class who doesn’t really like to do things with other kids. I thought it was kind of cruel to put these kids onstage without their total understanding. But this time, I thought how wonderful it was that they were involved.

The older elementary school kids put on a play in which Y-chan was a central character. In the first scene, she disappears, and the other kids, who are responsible for her, have many adventures as they search for their friend. In the last scene, she is found in a sort of golden grotto. I immediately thought of Lourdes, but I’m sure that’s not what they intended. Still, I thought it was kind of cool that the whole play was about Y-chan.

During the fashion show, where the students model the clothes they made in Home Ec, T.-kun pulled off his shirt and threw it in the air behind him. It was deliberate and funny and everyone laughed. He participated, and was memorable.

And Lilia. The kid can’t walk, but she can sure dance.


3 thoughts on “Ali Baba and the Drummer Girl

  1. Hmm, this is interesting. It does sound like it was a positive experience for everyone. Since I started my class on Special Ed in Spain, I’ve been very curious about how other countries serve children with special needs. From what you’ve said in the past, it sounds like Japan’s system is quite different in some ways. When I get my act together to post about Spain’s system, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  2. What a lovely post – so glad the drummer girl had a good time! 🙂 Speaking of drumming – I really love those Kodo Drums, I am told it’s great exercise,too!

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