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Saturday, April 27, 2013

First Karate Lesson

PDD-NOS certainly is a pervasive developmental disorder.  I sometimes forget that Bubs 1 has this diagnosis, but it's there. He is a typical four-year old most of the time and that fools his mom and me into thinking that - just maybe - all those professionals made an error on his high-functioning ASD diagnosis. I sometimes wish that they had made an error. Although, we also love the bubs just the way he is.

Bubs 1 recently had his first karate lesson, which didn't quite play out as well as his mom and I had hoped it would. Bubs 1's mom and I hoped that karate would be an activity that he instantly liked. We had read a blurb on how karate helped kids with high-functioning autism participate successfully with neurotypical kids their age. Here it is:

As Bubs 1's parents, his mom and I were likely looking for a seemless transition, but perhaps our expectations were too high. In order to 'warm him up' to the idea of taking karate lessons, we began planting the seeds a couple of days before hand. It seemed to work. The bubs soon adopted our idea that he try karate. He even began demonstrating some quasi-karate moves and kicks. Where did he learn this? We don't know, but he did show interest and this was all that we needed to see.

I wasn't at the karate lesson, because I was at work. His mom took him. I just heard about it after. When his mom explained "how it went" she likened her experience to our experience when Bubs 1 took gymnastics, about a year ago. That painted a clear picture in my mind. Bubs 1's mom shared more.

She said that he was doing well in some areas, but struggling in others. For example, he excitedly  and willingly performed many of the running exercises, but when the karate instructors wanted the bubs to simply make a fist and punch, he had trouble following their request. His mom said that this is when Bubs 1 started to get frustrated. She and I know that when he gets frustrated that he sometimes turns to "odd" behavior. He also becomes rigid. I put the term odd in quotes, because it is obvious and typically goes against the grain. Then the mind games begin when we begin assuming that we know why the other parents are staring, when the reality is that we do not. Other people's stares could be simply empathy and not harsh judgement. However, we sometimes move with the indoctrination of our assumptions and associate their stares with the latter. So when the bub's mom was informing me of some of his odd behavior, i.e. making spitting noises and hitting his head with his new Gi belt, it led me to thinking about the negative thoughts.

The karate instructors were warm, understanding and patient with the bubs. Bubs 1's mom even told me how the other kids, the bub's peers, were even helpful to him. They would help verbally guide him through some of the exercises and simply shrug when he didn't follow their directions. It just seems like a good place for the bubs to be as he learns about the world around him. It is also hard to watch and hear about, because I wish he didn't have to experience struggle (but that's a worry that all parents deal with). The karate instructors convinced Bubs 1's mom that they wanted the bubs back for a second lesson. They said that they're even willing to work with him one-on-one.

We don't want to give in to our fears and allow the bubs to give up. However, we also don't want to scar(e) the bubs. If I've learned anything from my own life thus far, it is knowing that the many bridges in our lives may allow us to cross them for free on one side, but will also likely tax us traveling the other side.

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