This semester, Archer has been participating in a theater group sponsored by a local pediatric therapy clinic. ACTS Jr. (Acting Creates Therapeutic Success) combines children of all abilities -- some severely disabled, some high-functioning with disabilities, and some with no disabilities -- to create a play from scratch.
Their performance was tonight, and Archer had a blast. He completely throws himself into the performance setting. It was actually his first-grade teacher last year who suggested the theater group, after Archer performed with great gusto while reading a book to the class.
I've tried to imagine what makes acting so attractive to him. It could be the chance to practice having emotions in a setting that puts them completely under his control. More likely it's the scripted nature of the play. Knowing what comes first, then next, then next, then next has always been both comforting and energizing to Archer. It's routine and it's ritual. When he plays, he announces (and often writes down) a schedule for himself.
Participating in the creation of a script, and then following that script -- that's all the power he wants. I see him smiling with secret delight as he proceeds from step to step. And already he's asking if he can be in ACTS Jr. next semester.