Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sometimes you need a reminder of how lucky you are.

Today, I slept in and skipped my own class. My jaw still hurts a little, but I'm not ready to get into sparring in class, and felt I needed the rest, and I did. I slept in and my jaw hurts a lot less today. But I had promised to help out today with the Special Abilities class, so I went.

I knew a few of the kids because I had seen them before when Drew used to go to Cubs class, and their class was before his. Two of them were clearly autistic tweens, but they are somewhat responsive. Another kid, an Indian boy whom I can't guess his age but he's at least a teenager, has a lot more going on. Even today, I'm not sure, but after class he may have been having a mild seizure. :-S His mom said he hadn't been connecting much all day, and his limbs are very bent and such. The other two guys there are probably older teens. One is Micah, who is clearly MR ,whose parents are black belts I've met in graduation and in class. Micah usually is yelling all sorts of stuff, but it's enthusiastic stuff because he loves TKD. He's a pip and very good natured, so I like talking to him. And then came in the other teenager, Tim-- about 6'1", very cute that you'd not realize he was autistic until you tried to talk to him. He never said a word, and talk about the disconnect. I had to work with him. It was fine, but man, it's a little intimidating. With the Downs Syndrome kids whom I usually pair up with in class during the week, they are fine in comparison, as at least they make the mental and social connection. It just takes them a little longer to do it. I can deal with them much more easily that this crowd today. I admit, it scared me a little, but I did my best, and since I was only assisting, I just cheered a lot and help them.

I know it sounds awful that I wasn't comfortable with these kids. I think that's probably normal for someone who isn't used to dealing with people who have some truly serious neurological disabilities. But it definitely puts things in perspective. Drew has disabilities, but nothing like these kids. NOTHING. Yes, he has big time speech issues, and he might have some reading issues, it's hard to tell at this stage (at least for me), and he does have the sensory issues, but in comparison to these kids, he was NORMAL. Sometimes you need a reminder like this to make you remember how lucky and blessed you truly are.

If I can help it, I think I'm better off with the adults and Tiny Tigers from now on. Unless is Michael and Matthew (the two boys with Downs) that I've worked with before are around, I'm just too uncomfortable with those kids. I know I sound like an awful person for saying so, but at the same time, I think it's good to know your limits sometimes.


John Vesia said...

Sounds like you're getting some good tournament experience. I'm aware they allow kicks to the head in TKD, but I'm surprised they paired you up with a couple of 2nd dans. All the better experience for you though. I admire your tenacity to teach a "special abilities" class. And I don't blame you one bit for feeling uncomfortable. Take care of that jaw!

Windsornot said...

Thanks. I was surprised too. Both Jeri and Karla are people I'd go up against in class, but as you know, class and tournament situations are different. And thank goodness I had my mouthpiece and head gear on, or it would've been worse! Kicks are the only thing allowed to the head-- 360 degrees except around the neck, or something like that. I'm much better now, just with some rest and not eating anything super chewy like a bagel. Going to the chiropractor tomorrow, as I know that'll fix it. I'm sure that as I get to know some of these kids better, then perhaps I'll feel more comfortable. I think it's that I know what it's like to not be able to communicate effectively with a child due to my son having a serious speech disability (he speaks pretty well now, but that was due to very intense therapy) and his intelligence was never in question. With some of these kids, I can't gauge what they understand because they won't even make eye contact with you, at least. Sometimes you can read it in eyes, but I couldn't with these kids.