Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Adaptive PE

When Daniel was younger, 1st and 2nd grade his "specials" were really difficult. The "specials" in our school district are art, music and gym. They go to art once a week for 1 hour. Music and gym are twice a week for 30 min each (I think). So this is 3 hours a week total.

Daniel uses a visual schedule every day. The schedule is stored in a clip board size board system. His schedule is lined up on it each day. If the routine is changed there is a "change" sign alerting him. He doesn't like to see the change sign, but he deals with it. Years ago this visual schedule (which he still uses) helped him TREMENDOUSLY. He is a visual guy and he knows his schedule. To this day if you say "Daniel did you go to your friendship group today?" He'd say "no, mom that is on Tuesday, during lunch, today is Monday." He has it down. But we always seemed to run into a problem with the specials. He would get upset before going to whichever special was next. I finally got the bright idea that, it just says Phys. Ed on his schedule. He doesn't know if he is going to play kickball, basketball, soccer. It's too unpredictable. So, probably much to his teacher's chagrin, I asked that when he gets to whatever special it is they have it posted somewhere, it could be on the wall, in art at his desk, a brief list of what they are going to be doing that day. Guess, what? It worked! He doesn't need this anymore, but it helped him transition until he began to use his own prediction skills (a skill that was being worded on in speech!) See how it's all intertwined?

Gym was hard, well, so was music, but today, I'm focusing on gym. He just couldn't do the things other kids were doing. It was frustrating him. Wouldn't it frustrate you if everyone else in the room is doing something and you don't understand? I can't remember where I heard of Adaptive PE, I'm sure it was from a parent. It helps them improve those skills. Coordination, running, serving a volleyball everything. Whatever it is. I asked for an Adaptive PE evaluation. "No, he doesn't need that." Bicker, bicker back and forth. I finally said, "well just evaluate him, then that will determine if he needs it, won't it?" He couldn't pump on a swing, couldn't ride a bike (but you've read that) most anything his peers could do. Why oh why oh why would they not think he needed it? Besides the obvious, of course. But that just may be me being a bit cynical? I have to give credit where it is due. They did it, with a pretty minor amount of arm twisting. You'll never guess what internet??? He qualified. Shocking. I know. It is really hard for me not to gloat in these situations. But I try to restrain myself. Of course I'm not happy that he NEEDS the service, it means he's behind, but you see, I already knew that, hence me asking. It just proves me being right, which I enjoy very much.
Daniel has been receiving these Adaptive PE services now for what we think is in his 5th year. Todd and I discussed this last night and neither of us could really remember. I think he started in 2nd grade and now he would be in his 5th year. Somewhere in there the instructor retired and a new young fresh out of college gal came in. This is one of those situations where you are terrified. It's going to be upsetting to him etc etc. This change was one of the best ever. She has some gung ho! When she laid out the goals after 4th grade, I actually said, "you're kidding right?" They were VERY aggressive. In a good way. It has been one of the top 5 best things we've ever done for Daniel. I would like you to read a passage she just sent me in an email. We are having a "team Daniel" meeting on Tuesday, she can't be there, so she sent this as an update.

I would love to share that Daniel is doing awesome for me and in PE. I make his PE time a couple times a month. (meaning she shows up at his PE to see how he is doing and incorporates it into her instruction time with him. Usually Adaptive PE is in addition to PE) The Monday before Winter Break he had a Sub para and a Sub PE teacher. I was there and they played line soccer. Daniel was number 13 (the last number that would be called). He had to play goalie (with 10 other classmates) while he was waiting his turn to go out and play soccer. He did awesome. After 15 minutes of waiting for his turn, I asked him if he wanted to keep waiting for his turn or ride bike. (when the activity is too much or he has had enough he rides an exercise bike, which he loves.) HE wanted to get his turn, and then ride bike. While he was out on the field during his turn he was excited and several classmates were encouraging him to kick the ball, chase the ball, etc. I thought that on a day with two subs Daniel did so well.... and HE wanted to play!!!! YEAH!!!!!

Now doesn't that just make you smile?? I feel so blessed by the support Daniel has. His peers, his instructors. He has thrived. He is coming along, little by little day after day. We WORK TOGETHER to make this happen. Not at a small price. This is my priority. I don't work outside the home, even though my children are in school all day. I am a college graduate with a decent earnings potential , but I am the puppet master behind the scenes making sure things are all happening when and where they are supposed to. I keep track of it all and keep coming up with new ways to solve problems right along side the professionals. It is my job. I do it well. At times like this it makes it all worth it.

1 comment:

Mama Mara said...

I love the puppet master description. It sounds so omnipotent! Yay for you in pushing for the adaptive PE, Ms. Gepetto.