Bah. It pisses me off!

I know I shouldn’t really be annoyed about this, but I am. I am even pissed off at something that I have often wished people WOULD do. Right, let me start at the beginning.

My son loves jumping on his trampoline. He loves flipping and jumping and it makes him very happy. So I had the clever idea to find a trampoline class where he could learn to do it properly. Although it’s not a team sport, he would get another chance to try doing something in a class that would be using his energy productively. I figured he wouldn’t be too anxious about it because he is pretty good at bouncing already. So I sent out some enquiries to a place nearby. As I always do, I explained the situation with my son so that they would be prepared for his behaviours. I got a polite and informative response basically telling me that they weren’t willing to accommodate a child like him. They have waiting lists and their classes are full and blah blah blah, we don’t want your kid he’s too hard to deal with.

See, I’m annoyed. I shouldn’t be because I am always wishing people would be upfront about it and not let me get him there only to find out that they can’t cope and then he gets disappointed, so realistically they did the right thing by me, and him for that matter. What I’m annoyed about is how hard it is to find places who will give him a chance. There is no way I can ever get him to have positive group class experiences if people won’t give him a go. By give it a go I don’t mean letting him try it their way and fail. He isn’t capable of going to a class he’s excited about and not acting crazy. He is just not there yet. He really needs some patience and understanding for a couple of goes until his excitement reduces and he can settle and slowly start to join in and follow the instructions.

I get that the above is not an easy thing for any class to accommodate, but his tap dance teacher and class managed it. Now he goes every week and he follows instructions and joins in (mostly). They understand that if he wanders off or stops doing what they are doing, they just ignore him and keep going until he gets bored wandering around and joins in again. Our end goal is to get him to engage the whole time eventually, but the only way to achieve that goal is for him to keep having positive experiences when he does join in and not have negative reactions when he disengages because that triggers his anxiety and then he won’t even try at all.

So now I’m just sad and annoyed that it has to be so hard to find things that he’d enjoy and then I have try and convince people to give him a go and not expect him to immediately follow their structure and rules. I always offer to come in and help out so that they don’t have to leave the other kids if he moves away, but often they don’t understand that I can make that work.
Blah.

On a slightly better note, with it being school holidays, he’s been enjoying some ‘down’ time, which interestingly has been quite educational. He’s been doing colouring in of his own choice. He’s been playing Monopoly with me and Chess with Daddy. He’s been playing with his toy cars independently on the rug and making up little conversations. It’s been lovely. I keep trying to organise interesting activities and play dates, but last week he spent 3 nights with one of his grandparents and he’s been ‘recovering’ ever since (his words!). He said he’d had enough of going places and doing things and being shouted at and just needs a rest. So, he’s been doing just that!

Maybe next term I’ll have some success at finding a new group activity he can try out.
At the end of term we went to a games night run by a gifted kids group. He was so highly excited by it all that he couldn’t settle and ran around like a crazy nut and wouldn’t play any of the games or join in. He just slid around the floor. He did meet two little boys that he liked, but he couldn’t engage in the games with them very well due to his high level of impulsive excitement. We will try again next month and hope that he will have more success at calming himself down.

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7 Responses to Bah. It pisses me off!

  1. Anonymous says:

    I understand your frustration with the trampoline class, but I have both an explanation (which they probably already supplied) and a suggestion for you.

    Trampolining comes under the broader ‘gymnastics’ umbrella. Trampoline parks are springing up and it’s becoming more high profile and more people are interested. They are probably being truthful when they say they have wait lists. Recreational gymnastics classes for school aged kids sometimes have wait lists with kids who have been waiting for 3 terms. Gym places almost always give priority to reenrolling students before opening enrolments to new students and use wait lists for this. GymNSW recommends a ratio of 1 coach to 8 gymnasts, I don’t explicitly know if this ratio is maintained in trampolining. Trampolining is a high risk activity for both the kids and the coaches, so I would expect, like in gymnastics that the coaches can’t risk a child wandering off at all. Parents are not allowed on the floor unless in a mummy & bub class for insurance reasons and for the same reason wouldn’t allow you to be in a ‘coaching’ situation. Coaches tend to be teenagers or young adults until higher levels so I can see how they would feel that it’s not appropriate to put him in their normal classes.

    BUT, most places could probably run private lessons, during the day when the gym is empty and will probably allow you in as a helper if you’re not helping him with equipment if you phrase it right. A few sessions like this may allow him to get over the initial hyper-excitement and prove to them that he can follow instructions well enough that they may give him a go in their normal classes if a place becomes available. It’s worth at least asking. I hope it works out for you.

    • KL says:

      Sigh. Yes. I know and understand all that. Really I’m just mad at the universe for making it so everything is harder for my child than so many others. I’ll be over it tomorrow. We can’t afford private classes and the reality is he probably won’t ever be able to follow their instructions without being impulsive…which also makes me mad…at the universe, not really at anyone 🙂 thanks for reading and commenting though!

  2. bronxboy55 says:

    It must be very frustrating for all of you. Is there any way of finding a couple of other kids and a private instructor, and forming a small class of your own? I don’t know much about trampolining as a sport, so that question may not even make sense.

    • KL says:

      That is an option I guess. There might be a gym out there who would take on a bunch of homeschooling kids in a less formal and structured way…. but can I be bothered searching for them? Probably not… and if not… then too bad for us right? 🙂

  3. Paige Young says:

    Thank you so much for writing this down! I can relate to ALL of it! “I’m not sure we can meet his needs and blah de blah de blah …” Here in Atlanta, I’ve found a teacher at a private school who teaches sports classes outside school for children who are receiving occupational therapy for sensory issues. It really works! He modifies the sports so that they are easier for kids with poor motor control, he makes it less competitive, gives lots of positive feedback (no matter how skilled a kid is, he praises them for trying) and gets kids to “check their engines” or “cool down” when he sees them getting agitated. It would be great if someone who “gets it” could start that up in Sydney (and everywhere!)

    • KL says:

      It sure would Paige! what a wonderful service you’ve discovered. It really does get disheartening after a while. Especially when we are constantly under scrutiny by professionals and the government because we homeschool and they want to see that you are involving the children in out of the home activities. I would love to involve him in everything, but that’s not always possible! Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to find great things for your kids!

      • Paige Young says:

        I didn’t realize that the government in Australia sends professionals to your home to check that you’re involving your homeschooled kids in out-of-the-house activities. Maybe the professionals and the government could spend more time providing the activities, instead of going round asking people if they’re doing any. I homeschool too, and it’s been so much better than the public school – No regrets at all!

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