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

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Morning at The Little Gym

For Oia's 2nd birthday, her Grandma and Grandpa gave her a semester of classes at The Little Gym. The Little Gym is organized chaos for the very young. Oia's class is for 2 yr olds. There are mats on the floors, balance beams, soft climbing structures, bars, circle time and song, and each week focuses on a different skill, such as balance, body parts, etc. I had been wanting to try these classes with Oia for a long time but I was hesitant without knowing the structure and layout of the class. I had some reservations, my hang-up, I know, but as a parent you just always want your little one to be able and do what others can do without your child's differences being the focus of those around you. I wondered if her level of mobility/ability was suitable for the activities of the class so I held off joining until she became independently mobile to avoid any of those 'heartbreaking moments'. We started attending in August (the month Oia began walking on her own), going each week for one 45 minute session. Truth be told, there is little she can't do (at least with my help) and she is willing to try everything at least once. Generally speaking, this is Oia's 45 minutes to do as she pleases; her break from the 3 sometimes 4 therapy sessions each week. It's turned out to be a wonderful experience for us. Wonderful not only for the physical challenge it provides but also for the social aspect as well.

Our typical session is Friday mornings while Rob is at work but we attended a make-up class this morning so he could see her in action. Here she reached up for the bar as I helped her right hand get a good hold. (It is sometimes a challenge for her to rotate her right shoulder that high.) Once holding with two hands, she doesn't do too bad maintaining that hold while I swing her legs out for her.

"Balance beam? No problem...as long as daddy helps me."

Oia loves to play with balls and I love that playing with balls provokes her to use two hands; often times without a verbal cue from Rob or I.

Clean-up time is one of her favorites. Here she is on her way to the ball bucket to put her ball away.

The instructor always blows bubbles for the kiddos at the end of each session. Oia has never reached out to pop the bubbles yet. I don't know if it's a visual thing or not. She generally stands among the group and watches everyone else pop the bubbles. I know it takes a lot for her to remain standing, balanced, and aware of her space so reaching for bubbles may make her feel like she is jeopardizing her stability. No biggie, we'll keep working on it.

I leave each session with a full and happy heart. I feel so fortunate that our daughter is in her own way able, and willing and can participate in such a class. What she can't do on her own, I help her do. She can't jump. But together, she jumps the highest. She can't run. But together, she is the fastest. Once again, my little teacher has taught me another lesson. Hang up all reservations. So far, she has found a way to do whatever it is she wants to do and for that I am thankful.

1 comment:

  1. So inspirational. My 10 month old daughter may be getting AFOs in a month for toe walking. Although minor in comparison, it was good for me to see your Oia playing at The Little Gym with her AFOs on. We are going to our TLG free class tomorrow and I will be talking to them about her wearing AFOs and shoes during class.