He Got His Bounce Back

Of course, we tried to extinguish it. After all it is a stigmatizing behavior. Robert bounces and flaps his hands. This behavior immediately sets him apart from others. Not that he jumps high. His feet hardly leave the ground. Nonetheless, it attracts unwelcome attention. He bounces when he doesn’t know what to do,when he waits, or when he attends a gathering with speeches. Everybody else listens or pretends to listens. Robert doesn’t know how to listen or pretend to listen. He bounces. I put my arms on his shoulder and he stops for a few seconds, then bounces again.
He bounces when he is excited. He bounces when he feels shy or confused.
Except, he hasn’t been bouncing recently much. I don’t think I saw much of that soft jumping in the last four or five months.
Yesterday, we attended a rally All Aboard the ARC ARC meaning The Association for Retarded Citizens. Many people representing local chapters of ARC attended the gathering held in Boston Common. They didn’t jump. They listened or talked softly with each other. Robert bounced. He heard the music and felt it was an invitation to bouncing. We moved around from place to place. We were not the only people moving, but Robert was the only person bouncing. I sensed that his light bouncing although much less disruptive than other people talking or walking attracted attention not completely devoid of disapproval. Although I kept placing my hand on Robert shoulders which always resulted with a temporary break in bouncing, I wasn’t concerned much about this behavior. I was in a way glad that Robert got his bounce back.
When robert bounces, he seems happier. When he doesn’t bounce he is tense. When he stops bouncing, he gains weight. I know that watching Netflix on his IPAD is less stigmatizing than bouncing during the rally. But bouncing during the rally is still better for Robert than watching Netflix on his couch.
So, we came to the rally. We slowly moved around. Someone gave Robert an orange banner so he could wave it too. Waving a banner would be much more typical behavior than bouncing. Good try. But it wasn’t his banner, so Robert gave it back. Then he bounced again. We walked around, stopping frequently to pretend to listen and look at other participants but Robert couldn’t help himself. He had to bounce. And so he did.

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