When we walked up Roseberry Topping it felt like such a big achievement for our son. He had wanted to start ‘climbing’ as many of the other kids in his class were doing it. He just wanted to be like them and yet he thought it was beyond him. I think it gave us all a lift when he picked up the courage to finally do it.
The other thing about that climb was the sheep incident. We were stood at the top eating a snack when we noticed a scruffy sheep stood next to us. As we moved it followed. It seemed to be fixated on the half eaten apple I was holding. So I sat down and proceeded to feed the sheep this fine apple. I then told my son “always do a good deed to an animal as you never know when you might need that animal to help you”. When I stood up my son burst into laughter. I had sat down on some sheep droppings. White shorts and sheep poo is not a good cat walk look. Never used that stupid phrase again.
Another thing our son is conscious of is that he has poor fine motor skills and finds coordination difficult. This has been characterised by a number of issues which have continued to plague his life and have really effected his self confidence:
- Unable to tie knots – shoe laces
- Accident prone
- Takes a long time to dress
- Struggles using knifes and forks
- Poor balance – can’t ride bikes
- Can’t swim
- Struggles to open food packets
- Inability to catch balls
- Struggles to play all types of sports
We have tried a number of strategies to help with these problems. Many have been unsuccessful but some have helped.
- We have tried many types of balancing exercises, most have proved frustrating failures. But two exercises, the superman stretch and the one armed superman have been more successful. It is something that he has managed to get a hang of and improve.
- Reading from a grid of numbers while trying to do something else like clapping. This again was really frustrating at the beginning but has started to improve. Apparently this exercise can help with coordination and also in some cases help with dyslexia.
- Bouncing a ball while talking. Our son has always liked to go in the garden and talk. Everything from Pokemon to dinosaurs. Last year I started to encourage him to try and bounce a ball at the same time. At first he hated it, struggled to even bounce the ball while talking. If he did bounce the ball he just couldn’t catch it. Then we tried it with a brightly coloured small bouncy ball. Suddenly he found it easier to bounce the ball but he still struggled to catch it. But for some reason he started to enjoy the challenge and would set himself targets. It started off with trying to catch two balls in a row, then three. After a few months he seemed to be talking and bouncing the ball independently. The number of successful bounces has slowly increased. Now we are at 100 in a row.
- Bouncing on a trampoline. Buying a trampoline has been a real success. Initially our son was keen to have a trampoline as he hoped kids would come to use it and he might make new friends. This sadly hasn’t happened but our son has fallen in love with it. He says it shuts out all the distractions and worries. He spends a lot of time on it. Then one day I started throwing a ball into the trampoline for him to catch it. He loved it. After a couple months he can now bounce on the trampoline and catch at the same time. He has even started diving and catching one handed. It’s just been a big success. His general catching skills have been significantly improved and he’s found an exercise he loves doing.
His improvements in catching have allowed him to dream. One dream is that one day he can be a goalkeeper for a football team. Let’s hope.