a blog about raising a daughter with cerebral palsy and learning unexpected lessons along the way

Thursday, September 19, 2013

She Rocks PE

So, the PE issue... an update regarding my last post.

That phone call sparked my need to join Oia for a PE session last Friday. I emailed her classroom teacher and school principal to tell them exactly when I'd be in and why. I'm courteous like that. On Wednesday, two days before my scheduled visit, I received a second call from Oia's school PT. She called to inform me that she just witnessed Oia during PE earlier in the day and that Oia "did great". PT noted that Oia enjoyed herself, only fell once but wasn't hurt, that the class was cautious and mindful around her, and that she did all the exercises well and as best as she could. The best part of all? The assistant that day only provided Oia with verbal cues to keep her safe and on task. PT was pleased. And admittedly, a bit surprised. I told her I wasn't surprised in the least.

She then asked if I was still coming in on Friday and was curious to know if so, was I going to allow Oia to see me there. She feared I may be her distraction. I told her that given the tone of her previous phone call, ie. the spectator comment, I was planning to attend and act as Oia's assistant in an attempt to show them how to facilitate her participation. Then I continued to tell her that given the report she was currently calling with, that I wasn't so sure now what I would do come Friday's PE class (observe or assist). Frankly, I told her I'd decide once I got there.

And I did. I arrived just after Oia and her class were inside the gym and seated for PE to start. I watched from the hall through the gym door's window, deciding right then and there that I would not interfere unless necessary. Turns out, I stood outside the gym for the entire session. Oia ROCKED it. She ran. By herself. She attempted yoga-like exercises. By herself. She jumped back and forth, over the lines of the gym floor. By herself. She stood at the parachute, held on with two hands, and flapped it as directed. With minimal assistance. My heart was full and proud to spectate my mostly able-bodied 6 year old among a combined physical education class totally approximately 40+ Kindergarteners. Oia's laughter while running laps around that gym and flipping balls inside that parachute was heard loud and clear through those cinder block walls. She never knew I was there. All because she didn't need me. The kid has come a long way.

Following class, I spoke with her school PT. In a nutshell, I said, "Let her play. Use verbal cues for redirection and close supervision for safety always, and hands-on assistance only as needed. Never deny her the chance to participate. She's good."

And with that, I left the building wanting so badly to squeeze my girl, kiss her sweet neck, and tell her how amazing I think she is. Because she deserves to hear it as many times as I'm able to say it.

PE saga over.


  1. This made me smile. What a girl. :)

  2. Well done Oia! Inclusion is so so important - I used to love PE in primary school, but it was so dependent on whether the teacher was able and willing to make changes to the lesson plan to make sure I was included. I remember being really upset one day when I was around nine years old when we had a substitute in, he was adamant the class were playing basketball, which there was no way I could participate in. He basically told my support assistant and me that it would be unfair on the other kids if they didn't play basketball, so I had to sit in an empty classroom with my support assistant and read for the afternoon. I was devastated.

  3. Hooray for Oia, hooray for you! And Hannah's smile looks just like that right now, by the way. You are just the right mom for that girl, Mo!