Because Emma has a wide variety of sensory issues and because she is so active, we are always trying to find things she can do that might give her some of the sensory input she so craves as well as help her focus while doing something she enjoys – moving. Finding someone willing and able to teach her is often challenging. It requires a special person who can keep her focused without using a great deal of language, who also has the patience and desire to continue to work with her for more than one of two times.
When we finally found Brett, a gymnastics instructor, we leapt at the chance to make this into a weekly affair. So on Sundays Emma and Nic have an hour of gymnastics – or they did until Brett hurt his ankle. But now Brett is back and off they went last Sunday to their first gymnastics class in almost four months. Emma was very excited and kept saying, “Oh, Brett’s ankle is broken.” ”Brett hurt his ankle.” ”Ankle all better now.”
To which we would answer, “Yes, Brett hurt his ankle, but now it’s much better!”
When we arrived and Brett came out to get Nic and Emma, Emma bent down and gently patted his ankle. ”You hurt your ankle,” she said, sadly.
“Yeah, but it’s better. Thanks Emma.”
“Ouch! Have to get a bandaid,” Emma said. Because to Emma, anything that hurts requires a bandaid and will feel better if a bandaid is applied.
Emma and Nic stretching with Brett
Since it’s been awhile since Emma had gymnastics, I was curious to see what if anything was different. Would she be able to stay more focused? Would she attend more? Would she be able to follow instruction better?
During their stretching period, Emma managed to keep up.
And while her form wasn’t great, she did do all the various stretches as best she could.
Later she was able to do straddle jumps on the trampoline and forward and back rolls on the mat. She became a bit distracted when a birthday party took place in another part of the gym, but for the most part she attended and tried to listen.
Waiting for her turn on the trampoline.
All in all she showed progress, slow but steady progress.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com