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Oct 22, 2012

Adapted Opportunities

Today, I read the sweetest little article about a Russian ballerina in NY who teaches free adapted dance classes to children with autism.
I have a great love and respect for the people out there that are willing to spend the time to work with these cute kids and give them the chance to learn and experience the same things as their "typical" peers.
I remember one of my first times I let myself cry after realizing that Caiti had autism.  I was watching the evening news, and they had a story about an adapted ballet class for special needs children.  I saw all those beautiful little girls in their tutus and tights.  I just balled my eyes out.
I remember complaining to my kids' ABA supervisor that I was upset that there weren't more opportunities close by for my kids.  I felt bad that they weren't in Little League, etc.  I don't think my kids cared though.   I know there are special teams out there, but if you have three kids with autism, and limited transportation, it's tough to follow through on those.  Luckily, this amazing ABA supervisor decided to add "therapeutic rec" to their ABA.  They were able to learn, slowly and surely, a bit of soccer.  They have all started to have swimming lessons, and they are so much more comfortable in the water.  That gives me the most peace of mind.
A dear woman from my church is a Yoga instructor, and she has worked some with my kids.  We have worked together to develop a curriculum for them that they can understand, including a picture schedule with things they are familiar with (like fun songs), in between the different poses.
My children also are able to take adapted P.E. in school.  This is so wonderful because they are able to feel good about themselves by accomplishing things that are tailored to their ability.
The main thing I have learned about these adapted opportunities is that you might have to make them happen on your own.  Take the initiative and ask friends/family who are good at different sports, etc., to learn a little bit about how to teach children with autism and maybe donate some of their time to helping these kids find things that make them feel happy and successful.

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