Just the other day, Anonymous of Ontario slipped a letter beneath the door of Karla Begley, mother of an autistic son called Max, and told Mrs Begley (among other things) that "you have a kid that is mentally handicapped ... they should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science ...
Silence, perhaps counter-intuitively, is one of the most powerful tools in a music therapist's armory. Because through the journey from silence into music and back again, comes meaning. And often our job as music therapists is to help clients find a balance between the two; for example with clients on the autistic spectrum.
Jacob, like me, has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. He is 14 whereas I am 48, and although I openly admit I was born in another era when autism was much less understood, I fear the road to realizing an Asperger's true potential (in my case, creative writing, I can't add up for toffee) will be neither simple nor straightforward.
Trying to protect a child with special needs from being bullied is like trying to stop ice melting in the desert. There were calls to the school, meetings, promises of closer scrutiny in the playground. But basically, when it comes to defeating bullying - particularly when your child is an obvious target - a parent might as well be standing up to Voldermort with a butter knife.