The big show is just one week away, and Dylan and his classmates are hard at work fine-tuning their routines. They’ve been meeting for weeks learning how to tumble, jump, reach and roll and they are more than ready to show off their moves to anyone watching.
The gymnastics class is where a lot of kids go from “I can’t’ to “I can.” The goal is to help children with coordination, balance, strength and confidence.
“Our gymnastics class not only works on the physical motor skills required for community classes, but also provides a supportive environment to work on social interactions, taking turns, and being a part of a group,” says CTC occupational therapist Alli Payton.
As with any therapy class, there’s more going on than meets the eye. What looks simply like play is actually a highly coordinated activity where children with special needs can practice their skills in a low-pressure environment. Children come into the class with different abilities and it’s helpful for them to see that not everyone performs at the same level. One child might have a lot of hesitation about moving their head around too much or having their feet off the ground, while another really struggles with following multiple steps in a routine. They watch and learn from each other. Often, they’re more willing to try something if they see another child doing it. The class helps children learn to move their bodies in ways that feel safe, and that can be a gradual process.
Watch a class video!
It’s not only motivating for the children to work together, there’s also the “cool” factor of gymnastics to be taken into consideration. Often, children with special needs have difficulty participating in typical community classes. In CTC’s gymnastics class, they feel comfortable and confident, and this often leads to them being able to eventually transition into a community-based class.”
In the meantime, though, there’s an obstacle course to be navigated, yoga poses to practice, and cartwheels to perform. “This class is an absolute blast,” says Alli, “and it’s so fun to see kids learn new skills together and cheer each other on!”
To learn more about whether CTC’s gymnastics class is appropriate for your child, please contact your therapy team.