I’ll be honest, when Shelby was diagnosed with autism, Special Olympics was the furthest thing from my mind. Sports was something we always said we would allow our kids to do if they showed an interest. Well, with some special needs kids, they don’t know how to show an interest, per se. Shelby loves to run, she loves the water and surfing and she loves jumping on the trampoline and balls in general. But nothing to really suggest an “interest” in any type of organized sports.
Then I got a note home at the beginning of the month from school…Shelby’s class would be learning to play bocce through the Special Olympics and a few field trips to a local park. I needed to sign a permission slip and indicate if I would be willing to chaperone, I did and was. Yesterday, I chaperoned the group’s second visit to the park. Along with Shelby’s class, children from two other special needs classes at the school and classes from a high school and middle school would be present. The teacher at the high school is actually a certified Special Olympics coach. We were taught the basics by a parks and rec employee who made a shortened, modified course. (The big kids used the full length courses.) The high school teacher came over and gave some great tips for modifying the game to suit our kids’ needs. Of course, our main goal was for Shelby and her classmates to work on social skills and waiting, taking turns etc. But it was beautiful weather and the kids loved it!
I chaperone again next week when Shelby and her friends take to the bocce court. It was so much fun playing and watching the kids interact and being a part of that. Not to mention meeting some other moms and getting to know some of the other teachers in the special ed program at her school.
photo credits Lori Bordeaux Petro copyright 2011