Response for the Healing Power of Fun

13 years ago, Tom Fields-Meyer needed help understanding and connecting with his recently diagnosed, 4 year old autistic son, Ezra.   He was told by doctors and therapists about Dave Rabb, who operated a storefront children’s gym.   Dave believed that a person’s ability to make genuine, caring human connections was what mattered most and he did so with a Brooklyn accent and attitude to match.   He facilitated parents to not be troubled or intimidated by their children; he contributed them tools to appreciate their children and to notice the things that make them delightful every single day.
I enjoyed reading Tom Fields-Meyer’s essay “The Healing Power of Fun” about his experience with Dave Rabb.   Without difficulty I could see how he would be overwhelmed with a diagnosis of autism with his toddler son; in what manner he would be anxious to find someone to help him figure out how to interact and connect with his son, Ezra.
I felt I could have been sitting with Tom speaking about a shared friend for the reason that I have known individuals like Dave. I can picture his calm, take charge attitude. He would remain steady and dependable for not only the children but the parents as well.   Dave had no advance degrees and learned his people skills from the streets of Brooklyn’s Sea Gate neighborhood.
He was a one-time drill instructor who “playfully shouted commands at kids and routinely cracked off-color jokes for the entertainment of the parents on the sidelines”.   His directions—“firm, direct and precise” helped to guide children through obstacles courses consisting “of ramps, ladders and slides”, with “pads and ladders that looked like they dated back to the Ford administration”.   When Ezra’s therapists talked about “proprioceptive input and sensory integration”, Dave would have the kids “lie on the floor, roll a giant, inflatable hot dog over their bodies, and watch them giggle.”
He contributed to parents the ability and awareness to know their children and connect...