Another autism Mom told me about a gymnastics/acrobat school that offers one on one classes to kids with special needs. Her child really enjoys them, and she considered it like inexpensive OT. The intake form that they had me fill out led me to believe that they had a good understanding of sensory processing issues.
R. was very good, like amazingly good. She held my hand and walked from the car to the building – about half a block. Then we had to go up two flights of stairs to register, and of course she had to wait while I filled out paperwork. She whined a little and we told her that we would be going to play, and she actually waited.
Parents are not allowed on the “floor”, so we sat on the benches along the edges. That was a novel experience, just watching. I was certainly worried how R. would respond to someone she just met in a new and busy environment.
Each section of the room had different equipment – trampolines, balance beams, ladders, all kinds of mats. Two separate classes were going on, while R. had her session. I wondered if R. would become distracted or disruptive. She actually loved watching the other kids doing tumbling and animal walks.
The instructor was very pleasant and engaging. R. seemed to like her instantly. She did not follow any specific commands to use equipment. But she did respond to the instructor calling “R. come here.” The instructor seemed to be able to easily follow R. around and inject herself into everything she was doing. R. let herself be rolled around by the instructor and they played ball with two different size balls. And she also allowed the instructor to redirect her when she wandered into the other children’s class. It was almost like watching chaos in motion. The two classes rotated around the room and the instructor managed to keep R. in whatever areas were vacant.
We’re going to continue with the classes, at least through the summer. It is just half an hour, once a week. I’m not sure if R. will learn any real gymnastics. That likely depends on how long we keep going. I think it is a good experience for her to have one on one time with someone else in such a fun environment. I also think that being able to watch the typical kids classes is valuable.