Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer Skills

It's summer again, our family's favorite time of year. We are back from our incredible trip across the country and looking forward to summer fun. For children with disabilities, summer is an excellent time to focus on one or two weaknesses (needs, challenges...). Creating daily rituals and summer camp classes to strengthen those weak areas is a great way to focus the summer activities. For example, although Alex's left hand is stronger and more capable, it is still significantly weaker than his right arm, which is now noticeably longer and bigger. Last summer we put him through a camp designed to strengthen that left arm and hand, while casting his right one to keep it immobile. This summer, we have chosen not to do the summer camp, but to focus on strengthening that left arm. So, our activities are all about strengthening left. Gymnastics camp, swimming, lacrosse camp and pushups are some of the activities we will use to work that left side. Of course Alex still needs work on his fine motor skills, but there is only so much advice to "work lefty" that Alex can tolerate in a day, and so we have made a choice to focus on the large muscles. Alex's personal goal is to run the 3 miler in our annual race, The Run Baby Run Baby Ultra in August. He has started a daily running log, and is slowing working up to running 3 miles without walking. This is a huge goal for him, as the heat and intensity of the exercise cause him headaches and exhaustion, but we let him work at his own pace, set his own goals, and write down his daily progress toward them. Finally, Alex is finally tall enough to participate in the iCanBike program, which teaches children with disabilities how to ride a bike (something we have been unable to do), using a weighted fishtail. And so, in the middle of August, we take one week to focus on one goal, learning to ride a bike. And while Alex is in camp, I'll be outside with Izzy to get her on 2 wheels as well. And of course, every day includes Alex's sugar free ice cream, homemade, creamy and delicious. We love summer.