Dancing in the Window

I have heard that some children on the spectrum have an affinity for windows.

Mine is one of them.

Drawn to the sun, drawn to the light, we often find her gleefully standing on a sill with her body plastered to the pane. The curtains have been brushed aside (or yanked down) to welcome the full rays of the sun. The bigger the window, the better. Even at the hospital a few weeks ago, she spent so much of her time standing in the window.

On several occasions I have found her, naked as a jay bird, dancing in the window that happens to overlook a busy street in our town. I can only imagine how many people have seen my strange little girl dancing in the buff to her own internal beat.

Her arms raised, her fingers keep rhythm with her toes. Sometimes she tilts her head and squints her eyes as she moves. The light shining on her angel face… oh, she is serene.

As her mother, I admit that I do not always understand my window-dancer. She is mysterious to me in so many ways. And of course, she cannot (or does not) tell me why she does what she does.

But I try to guess. I try to imagine the world as she experiences it. To see what she sees, and hear what she hears. Feel what she feels.

I imagine that the outdoor sounds come muffled to her ears through the windows. She often tries to hum along.

Sometimes she can see her reflection, and it seems like the only time she is comfortable with it.

There are window tiles in our house with stained glass colors, and as she bounces up and down on her toes, I surmise that she enjoys watching the outside world blur in shades of blue and mix with bright yellows.

The diagnosticians have said that she lacks pretend skills. But I believe that as she peers out the window, she is dreaming of the playgrounds she will escape to, the hills she will climb, the roads she will run, the rocks she will unearth, the grains of sand she will study, the blades of grass she will flap, the crisp air she will breathe.

And the feel of the sun’s warmth on the face and body? Who can pass up the pleasure of that hazy, bright glow? For some it saps, for some it invigorates. For her, I believe it is a response to intensity, a total sensory experience…


I had sprinted upstairs to grab something. The weight of the world on my shoulders, it seemed. Weary. So much work to do, so little time, no time to think, no time to rest. The sunbeams through the bedroom window slowed me.

I stood still for a moment.

Oh, why not?

So I climbed on a bench beneath the window and allowed myself to bask in the glow. I raised my arms, squinted my eyes, tilted my head, hummed a little hum, and danced the Rhema dance.

28 thoughts on “Dancing in the Window

  1. Yes why not!
    I also try and guess. My son also loves licking windows (especially train windows!) and watching the light reflect. I bought him some glass prisms, which he just looses himself in.

  2. This one of the most beautiful things I’ve read. (No hyperbole here; I am truly awed.) As soon as the sun comes up today, I’m going to go to the window and do the Rhema dance in your honor.

  3. What a beautiful post! I’m so glad you took the time to enjoy the sun.

    While I was reading the part about you feeling weary with the weight of the world on your shoulders, this verse came to mind:

    Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30

    I’ll be praying for you today.


  4. Dance like nobody’s watching!

    I agree with Mara & Beth — beautiful. Simply beautiful.

    My dad & stepmom just went to an autism-inspired dance performance premiere the other night… will post about it soon.

  5. here here!

    this is so beautiful.

    i am so happy for your glorious daughter that she has a mother who is so willing, so eager, so uninhibited in her search to truly understand her.

    she is incredibly blessed.

    we all are for having you in our lives.

    thank you.

  6. What a beautiful post! You know, when I started reading this my first thought was “oh my goodness, my boys all do that too!” Only instead of dancing they mostly just stand there on the windowsill staring out. Then they climb down, then climb up again, stand for a minute, then down, then up again… well you get the idea :). I had no idea that was related to autism, I just thought my boys liked windows :). In fact I’ve been meaning to post pictures of them b/c I thought it was so funny that my little guy does this too. But I’m still looking for a particular picture I remember of my twins standing in the window ~ age 2.

    I love that you took a few moments to yourself to experience what your daughter feels in the sunny window. I have found a lot of joy when I let myself try to experience things from my sons’ perspective, and kind of lose myself and my worries in a total sensory experience.

  7. Beautiful! It’s fun to stop being an adult every now and then and see the world as a child sees it and just be carefree. How refreshing. I think Rhema has more to teach us then we’ll ever really know.

  8. Pingback: Window Dancer « To Sleep, Or Not to Sleep…

  9. Pingback: Waiting For Rhema « Autism In a Word

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  11. Love this post, My Nico also loves to do all that you described. Its a great way of looking at things and I think I will do the Nico dance on the window sill when I get home 🙂

  12. Just Beautiful. Thank you for making me Stop and just enjoy.

    My son (9) loves to dance and specially loves to play with his shadow 🙂

  13. Thank you so much for your post..it was beautiful…I love to read them as Rhema reminds me so much of my 5 year old grand daughter Oona, and you of my daughter (her mother) Jody. My daughter lives on a farm, their house has a very large three pained window in their living room and she too loves to dance, play and sing in the sun..lol..often naked…..She will not let my daughter close the drapes and if they are closed for the evening it’s often her first task in the morning to open them. Oona is a beautiful little girl who brings light to any room she enters, and touches almost all who have the opportunity to meet her. She is our special little angel and I thank you for sharing about yours.

  14. amazing. Maybe if we all did the Rhema dance and appreciated the simple things…light, color, warmth and beauty, our worlds would be better. Maybe, just maybe, if we tried more to join our children’s world rather than trying to pull them into ours, the entire world would be a better place.

    And, just as a side note, if that window in the photo is where she dances, I’d like to dance there too! It’s beautiful!

  15. my son jacob does the same thing he too has autism and he is deaf. it was funny to hear this story. i cant keep him out the windows he just loves the sunlight. He too like the run for the window when he is naked as a jaybird.:)

  16. Pingback: Why she dances « Autism In a Word

  17. If you haven’t already please consider writing a book! I would buy one for everyone I know! You write so beautifully and it touches everyone so. Thank you for sharing your life.

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