One of the suggestions we got from the autism whisperers back in the early days was to see if we could get the Captain involved with sports. You know, the theory being that if he was really good at baseball, then the other boys would let some of the other strange behavior slide.
That was, of course, before they saw the Captain play sports. Or…not play sports.
Sadly he and Little Miss have some fine and gross motor issues that make it difficult for them to really play well. She’s better than he is, but still it’s just not a happening thing.
The Captain does have some creative and dramatic skills that have received approval from his classmates when he can tolerate company long enough to complete a group project. Little Miss has gradually become more friendly over the years, and while she won’t have a discussion on fashion or boys any time soon, it’s thrilling to hear her ask one of us, “What did you do for your day today?” and really listen to the answer.
So our humble athletic aspirations are concentrated in Ditto Boy. He has a limitless supply of energy, and when his attention can be focused, he can be quite the court warrior. Though he’s a little short, he works hard at basketball. He played on intramural volleyball last winter. He likes swimming, too.
This summer he will be part of a special ADD curriculum that will be taught by our wraparound agency, which up until now hasn’t had any services that would suit him. They have a sports-based alternative that works on a points/rewards system, where the children in the program will have to keep control of details in whatever game they’re playing, so that when they are called on, they know, for example, who scored the last point, or how long there is left to play, or what the current score is. The director said it’s supposed to have a 66% improvement rate. Now wouldn’t that be something?
In the meantime, we bought a heavy plastic horseshoe set for the yard. The Cabana Boy went over all the details of the game at great length, how not to stand where someone was throwing the horseshoes, how to keep score, how to handle the horseshoes themselves, and so on, including every possible safety measure he could think of.
We replaced the little plastic pegs they used with larger sticks, in hopes they’d be able to hit the horseshoes more often. Explaining how they could run up to the stick, but not past it, Dad demonstrated how to toss the piece to the other pole.
Ditto Boy, very excited indeed, grabbed up the set of horseshoes and went to run for the pole, prepared to toss them. Just before he slid into the pole with his crotch.
Maybe it’s time to think about volleyball again.