Saturday, September 24, 2011

A rough week at the gym

So this week Alvin had a makeup class for missing his gymnastics class the week before and the next night he had his regular gymnastics class. After missing a week I wasn't too sure what was going to happen with dance class and gymnastics on back to back nights but I figured we would just go with it.

Dance class went fine. He participated in all the moves but declined to wear the tap shoes. No major issue though. He still had fun and that's all that matters in the end.

The next night didn't go as well though. It was his normal class for the new season and he knows the instructor so I figured he would pick up right where he left off with Jesse from the summer. Well I was wrong. He did good for about the first 30 minutes then just completely spaced. He was wondering more and more and loosing focus in stations. I finally went back in to re-direct him back to his station and help him do a skill. One of the little girls (who has never had a class with him until now) told me that he was a bad kid and wouldn't stay with the group. I had noticed that 3 of the girls kept their distance from him during the first part of the class but didn't make much of it until then. At the end of the class one of the instructors came in during their closing circle and had a quick talk with all of them about how we are all different and they only needed to worry about themselves.

The comment had me in shock and almost to tears. It finally hit me that this is the way the other kids see him. They see him as aloof and a bad kid.

The parents were giving me odd looks too. Most of them (except for one) has no idea what is going on with him. I'm trying to figure out if I need to say something next week or not to inform the parents of why he acts the way he does. I'll probably just play it by ear and see how things go.

After I helped him back with the group I walked out to the lobby and the other instructor immediately recognized something was wrong. I told her about what I had noticed and proceeded to just avoid the other parents and get our stuff ready for a quick exit. When class was over I just wanted to get him dressed and run away. I helped him get his shoes and socks on and got him out. I was on the verge of tears and all I could tell his teacher is that we would work on his skills this week and figure out what to do next week.

The horrible feeling I had was made worse the next day when discussing this with a co-worker who thought it was good for him to get bullied. He said that helicopter parents just make it worse. Seriously! You have 2 normal kids. How in the world do you know if what I am doing is making it worse or better?

After 2 days of cooling off I was able to let Alex know that I needed to talk to him during Elliot's class. I asked him what he would suggest doing at the next class. He agreed with the plan of me sitting on the wall during the entire class and re-directing him back to the group every time he leaves. The thing is he has been in the gym long enough to know what is expected of him. Now after having months to learn the system he is going to have the same standards of behavior that the other kids have. He will be expected to stay with the group at all times. Granted at this point he will not be doing skills at the same level, but socially we want him to follow the same rules.

I know that this won't solve all the problems. He still has issues with the skills. Ok he has major issues with the skills. He has a really hard time putting things together in sequence. Like putting his hands down and jumping up with his legs to try and do a donkey kick or monkey jump.

There is a huge part of me that wants to pull him out of the gym. I have the worst time seeing him fall farther and farther behind in skills from the other kids. II hate seeing him struggle so much and just barely get it. He tries so hard and I have to wonder when its going to hit him. When is he going to realize how different he is with his social skills? When is he going to realize that his skills are well below the other kids in gymnastics?

For right now we are just going to stay the course. I'm going to work with him the best I can the next few weeks at home with the basic skills he does in the gym and I'll stay in class at the gym and see if it helps. Overall I'll continue to work on the dozens of things we do everyday in hopes that things get better through preschool (and working on his handwriting as homework), soccer, gym and soon music therapy.

I'll try and remember to update next week as to how things go and if the new strategy at the gym is working.

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