February 14, 2012

Taekwondo---A Six month Check Up

So, it's been six months since we started Taekwondo in the "worst environment ever" for a sensory-impaired child.  Why did I force my son who has auditory processing issues, had the motor skills of a four year old (at seven), and who could not follow simple instructions to endure an hour, three-four times a week, of loud pounding music, erratic instruction, and tons of required complicated motor skills?

In a nutshell...immersion.

Immersion is one of those buzzwords in the therapy world, usually applied as a treatment option for adults with absurd phobias who've been allowed by life to pursue their phobias to the point of isolation and ridiculous excitation of their own senses. 

Nope----definitely  wasn't something I was going to allow for da Creature.  If immersion has a purpose, that purpose is to de-sensitize the excitation, and force the individual to develop coping strategies for the phobic focal point.  Once immersed, you don't really have a choice anymore to avoid the stimuli, and the brain MUST learn to adapt.

Human beings are infinitely adaptable, and this is true of autistic children (and adults) too.  The problem is that the rest of us DREAD how our autistic loved ones are going to resist and avoid the thing they hate.  This was certainly true of da Creature, who peeled paint on the columns, punched walls and the floor, shouted out nonsense during quiet moments, hit the kid next to him, beat his ears with his hands, laid down on the floor periodically and REFUSED to do what they were asking, and generally made my life in the parent pen a breathless, shame-filled, living HELL one hour a time while the black belts of varying degrees of teaching ability dealt with him differently.  Every.  Single.  Time.   

Do you know what happens when you apply a scatter-splatter behavior plan to an autistic child?!?!?

Yeah, that'd be how that goes. So, it's been six months.  I have had to add private lessons once a week ($30 for 20 minutes) in order to get some semblance of understanding of the motor skills involved for the tasks in my head, 'cause guess what????   I have to teach him these things at home for him to have a chance at this.

So, it's moving forward.  He is a level one green belt, and he is doing okay.  I still flush with shame out there in the parent pen when I hear the heavy sighs around me as MY child is causing a kerfuffle, but hey....they just don't get it, and I have no intention of educating every single one of them.   What matters most to me is that da Creature is happy and learning and growing and the "worst environment ever" is a little less awful every week we make it through.

 We'll check back in in six months....

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