Getting Out Of The House
Of course you do, and I have never yet heard of a parent who has said “no” to that question (“No, I want my child to play more video games and watch more youtube videos”). To me, a more important question is:
“WHY doesn’t your child get out of the house more?”
The first thing to remember is that, for a Special Needs child (really any child), inside is safe and controlled, while outside is mysterious and unpredictable. Inside the house you have your room, with your toys, and you get to play all by yourself. Outside you have to get dressed, maybe put on a bulky jacket if it’s cold, and then you are challenged with the two things that are most naturally difficult to you– physical coordination and social interaction. Imagine if you as an adult are sitting quietly on your couch watching TV or surfing the internet. You’re enjoying yourself, resting maybe, enjoying a little snack, then all of a sudden somebody comes in and tells you to go outside and play Australian rules football at a cold, muddy park. What would your reaction be? You’d be resistant, right? You might say that you’re comfortable relaxing on the couch. You might note that you have no idea how to play Australian rules football, and only have a vague idea of what it is. This is the same dilemma faced by a Special Needs child.
Parent of San Mateo 6th grader
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Parent of San Jose 5th Grader
“Our son Filip used to hate his ABA sessions, but now it’s his favorite time of the day. The tutor has taught him many new skills, and even potty trained him after years of failure with others. He has been a great teacher and friend for our son. We are very glad.”
Parent of San Francisco Kindergartner
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Parent of Oakland 9th Grader
Our Approach To Sports
- Indoor Skill-Building – We start the sports training inside the child’s home, learning the basic skills of the sport on a micro level. If the child was learning to play soccer, then we might practice kicking a ball back and forth from just a few feet away in the child’s room. The focus here is strictly on movement and technique. At first, depending on the child’s abilities, this might mean that the trainer has to physically guide the child’s foot into the kicking motion until the child is able to do this him or herself.
- Outdoor Skill-Building – Once the child has mastered the basic skills on an indoor level, we will transition the practice outdoors. Depending on the sport, there may be some necessary outdoor skill-building such as running and jumping, but ultimately the goal is to get the child to work the skills on a larger scale.
- Game Situations – Now that the child can successfully implement the basic skills of the sport on an outdoor level, we will transition those skills to simulated game situations. For soccer, this might mean bringing out a portable net and having the child kick the ball into the net, then kick the ball into the net past a goalie, then dribble the ball upfield and kick into the net, etc. At this step, the child will begin to see the sport as having a clear purpose with a clear reward.
- Game Situations with Other Person – Once the child is able to play in game situations, the focus then becomes playing with another person. This person could be another child or a family member, but the goal is for the child to learn to interact with others in the context of the game. For soccer, this might include learning to pass before scoring a goal, learning how to steal the ball from another player, or learning how to run and kick a loose ball before the opponent can.
- Simulated Game – Now the child is ready to play a real game. At first, this modified game might only run in 1 minute increments (depending on the child’s attention level) with frequent restarts. The trainer will introduce the concept of time limits and scorekeeping, compelling the child to operate both. Depending on the sport, the trainer will bring a physical timer that the child can start and hear stop, and a physical score-keeping mechanism such as tally marks on a chalkboard. The important thing is that the child is taking control of the overall game operation, seeing the play through from beginning to end.
- Actual Game with Modification – Finally, the child is ready to play a real game with other people. The trainer will likely take the field alongside the child, coaching and maybe even physically leading the child from place to place as the child learns to adapt to the speed of a live game. The hope is that the child will ultimately be able to play the sport without assistance, but obviously just getting to this point is a victory in itself.
Of all the services we offer, Sports Training is typically the one that produces the most immediate and astounding results. Once the idea of playing a sport is demystified, you will likely find that your child wants to go out and play during free time, and even displays pride at his or her newfound abilities.