Activities with non-SN kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 04-26-2005, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Do your kids participate in activities with kids who don't have special needs?

I'm working on branching out here, because I think it's good for Aidan to see normal socialization. (he has autism, and is near the severe end of the spectrum). We are currently taking a parent and tot gymnastics class, but that's going to end when school does, because their summer schedule is different, and conflicts with his ESY classes. (summer school, so he doesn't regress, basically). It was an easy choice to put him in that class, the teacher/coach is actually a special ed teacher during the week! So she was totally cool with us joining, and has been really helpful and understanding.

So now I'm looking for a summer activity. I was thinking T-ball at the Y. Dd did that last year, and the parents could be really involved, so it wouldn't be "weird" for me to help guide Aidan to run the bases and chase the ball. But I'm really worried about the other parents. The coaches are all volunteers and stuff. What if they don't "get" it? *sigh*

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#2 of 7 Old 04-27-2005, 08:28 AM
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We have different circumstances than you (DS has Down Syndrome & is a bit younger) but I would give it a try. I would talk to the coaches before hand to get a 'feel' for them and probably the Y staff before that to make sure you get on a 'friendly' team. I've talked to other parents who have written a letter talking a little bit about their DC's disability, etc and given it to the coaches, teammates, etc to help ease the transition. That seemed to make everyone a bit more comfortable.

We are actually trying to do the opposite as you. We participate in activities 100% with children w/o special needs and are trying to locate a social group for DS with other children with disabilities. I think it's important to strike a balance- very scary!

You know, even if you try it and it doesn't work... at least you gave it a go. It'll either be a great experience or it'll not go so well and you will have learned something from it. Good luck & let us know how it goes... I'd love to see some pics!
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#3 of 7 Old 04-27-2005, 04:10 PM
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Two years ago, almost all of our activities outside of school were with other families with special needs. My kids weren't ready for other types of activities (it just caused them stress), and I was fed up with having to explain things wherever we went. Now, my kids are ready for more. My 6-year old with autism started weekly Religious Education classes last fall. I stayed by his side for the first few weeks, then faded into the background. Now, I wait in the hall so I'm available if I'm needed, but I haven't been needed yet. He loves it and he is accepted by the other kids. We're starting to do more mainstream activities with all of the kids now.

I do talk to the instructors/coaches first. I let them know the situation, the limitations, and the accomodations. So far, everyone has been welcoming. If I am the best helper for my child, then I help, and if I'm not, then I stand back. I don't worry about the other parents unless there is a reason they need to know -- the need to explain was mine because the "right" to know wasn't theirs.

If you feel good about the activity and think your son would benefit, it's worth a try. If it doesn't work, you can always pull out. And if it does, what a great experience!

Good luck!

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#4 of 7 Old 04-29-2005, 04:01 PM
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We do both. Our son has AS and I personally find it refreshing to be around other parents who have children with SN's. I think they are a lot more open minded and tolerant. Noah socializes about the same with both, but I am definitely more comfortable with parents who are going through the same challenges.

ETA, we just began a *normal* soccer league and I'm not sure about it yet. Thankfully, one of my best friends is on the team and the coach is part of our church, so there is a lot of support in that aspect. However, other parents do not understand a child who doesn't conform to the norm and thus, judgement shows on their faces.
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#5 of 7 Old 04-29-2005, 05:58 PM
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I have found with Abi that she does better in a group of children of all ages. She tends to gravitate towards the older kids because they are less "wild" for lack of a better word. They also seem to play by the rules better. Like, if they are going to have a play scenerio, everyone sticks to their role that they agreed on rather than changing the rules all the time on who gets to be what. She also likes the way older kids (12 or so) because they will often take her under their wing and show her how to play a complicated board game or dig a sand tunnel using the right technique so it won't collapse. She loves stuff like that.

I have not had much luck with acitivies such as dance class, because I think it's too busy. She loves Spanish class though, through Parks and Rec. The teacher has a structure to the class and is very good at mananging all the kids so it's not chaotic.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
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#6 of 7 Old 04-29-2005, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I can't really talk to the coaches before I sign up unfortunately. The coaches are just parents of the kids on the teams, and the teams don't get divided up until all the applications are in. I'm thinking dh and I could just volunteer to coach. The problem is, I'm not all that patient with other people's kids. : Maybe just dh should coach, I'll be Aidan's "assistant" I'll bring all the snacks :LOL
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#7 of 7 Old 04-30-2005, 02:12 PM
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we have a really good play group of mostly mdc moms that meets on saturdays that the kids love. having said that, they all know zane's diagnosis and we all watch out for each other's kids. we do a lot with parents and kids that don't have sn, but, they tend not to be the moms that live in the town we do.

i've been through a lot with moms of "normal" kids not wanting zane to come, but being ok with rei, our daughter. that is not cool with me. so- i am working hard on finding moms that understand and want us

good luck.
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