Sunday 11 August 2013

Time To Camp Up

Tomorrow registration opens for the city of Ottawa fall and winter programs for next year.  I've done my bit of poring over the catalogue and picking out programs for Nathan.  That part was relatively easy.

What was not so easy was finding programs for Alex.

The city offers both regular and special needs programs.  Alex doesn't have the social awareness to fit in with the regular programs.  But the majority of kids in the special needs programs have physical challenges, which means the programs themselves are not well suited to Alex.

This became especially obvious last year when we signed him up for gymnastics.  It seemed like a good choice.  Alex loves to climb and jump and move around.  His ability to balance himself rivals Angelina Jolie's in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and is probably as good as most Cirque performers.

But here is the problem.  The regular class was held in a large gym with eight classes happening simultaneously.  Too much stimulation and distraction for Alex.  Okay, moving on to the special needs class.  Where they were trying to coax the children to jump onto a platform a half-inch taller than the floor. 

My kid is ready for the uneven parallel bars and you think he won't be bored out of his mind having to jump onto a platform that barely registers as a change in elevation?

My father offered to serve as a personal coach for Alex, basically just using the equipment while everyone else was there.  But the city worried about being sued, no matter how much paperwork I offered to sign.  And so it just never worked out.

I wish the city offered two separate classes for special needs children.  One for children with physical challenges and one for kids who have social or sensory issues.  It's frustrating to see Alex tumbling right between the cracks and left with nothing.

We do things independently with Alex but he really needs the benefit of interacting with people other than his parents and grandparents.  He needs to learn that other people have useful information to pass on and can be interesting.  Not to mention that there's a limit of how much we can expose him to, simply because we don't have access to equipment or necessary experience.

He'll have activities through the fall, but they'll be solo, one on one efforts with his tutor and with us.  Not ideal, but it's the best we have to offer right now.

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