Sunday, January 29, 2012

The gym issue, how to turn it into a positive learning experience

This week as I alluded too went pretty bad at the gym. It was show week and during the class all of the other kids got to show a skill except for Alvin. At the last station demonstration when he realized that he didn't get a turn he came to me and said "we go home now". He calmly walked out of the door went and got his shoes, socks and jacket and asked for help to get ready to leave.

I was heartbroken for him. He realized that all the other kids got to show a skill and for whatever reason he didn't. In the process of leaving I told the teacher that was out in the lobby something along the lines of you guys don't get it. He knows when he is treated differently and it does affect him.

I was fuming mad and upset for a good 2 days. Whether or not it was intentional was beside the point. I was mad because of how hard he has worked and how much he had improved and didn't get to have his turn to shine. The days following Alvin was pretty low key about the gym. If I brought it up he would tell me he wasn't going back. I blame him, not really. I decided Thursday morning that until I could address the issue he would not be going to his extra practice the next day and his next class would be questionable at best.

Friday night when my daughter had her class I got my chance to clear things up. When I got there I asked to speak to the program director after class about what happened. Instead of after class we spoke right then and there in the office. When I told her what happened she was shocked and immediately went and pulled the teacher from his class. As soon as we spoke about it I could tell he felt horrible. This is a teacher that Alvin adores. When I told him that the trust that was built was now gone the look on his face said it all. Alvin has put full trust in very few people outside of family. It takes a while for him to build trust, but once its there he will do almost anything for you.

I fully believe that what happened to Alvin in the gym was not intentional. He adores his teacher and his teacher knows how important trust is to him.

One very important thing though about this situation. There is reason to be proud of Alvin as well as an opportunity for him to learn something.

The first thing is what he was able to tell me when he was upset. He didn't have a tantrum, there was no kicking and screaming, just a calmness. He used words and his understanding of emotions to tell me he wasn't happy. These are things he has been working on for months at home, school and with his music therapist. It was simply amazing to see.

The opportunity to learn is about adults making mistakes. Granted he sees this in school because according to his teacher anytime something is wrong Alvin politely corrects them. These are the times where we talk about how everyone makes mistakes even adults. As he gets older this is going to be a recurring lesson, but one for him to remember.This week we will be talking about that on and off and addressing it directly with his teacher on Wednesday night.


In the end I am glad we were able to work everything out. What Alvin is doing as shown below in the videos shows how far he has come. The skill on the high beam he saw demonstrated only once and needed no verbal cues from the teacher to do correctly which completely floors me!



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