Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Some ends, and some beginnings

Today was the last day of my Cubs classes for a while. Next week, their class is cancelled in favor of a stranger danger seminar that SW is trying to coordinate with a parent of some kids at a couple of the local prep schools (including my alma mater. Yes, I'm a prep school brat, minus the brat part). An extra friend came along named Imogen, who had come to the very first class, and I couldn't convince her mother to sign her up, even for a trial class. She is a darling little 3 1/2 year old with curly blond hair, looks like a little doll, and sweet, quiet disposition to match. I didn't mind her coming, because even though her mother didn't pay for her to join, for one class it wouldn't hurt, and if she went home and said that she liked it, then maybe her mother would reconsider. So, of course, I still have my laryngitis, and the kids thought it was funny that I had to either whisper or have a gravely voice. Naturally, Jacob tested my patience. The child is going to have SO many problems as he gets older, seriously. I don't expect the kids to stand perfectly still on their spots, but he shouldn't, especially by now, be walking up to me, and grabbing my hand, etc. Annoying! The one good thing is that when he is given a direction to do a certain thing, he tends to listen a *little* better. Today I finally got a chance to teach the kids something new, namely an inner forearm block (or a "muscle block" as we call it with the little ones), and a simple side kick. I think because Carly and Jacob have older brothers who work on that stuff, the principles of the side kicks came to them pretty quickly. Imogen seemed to pick it up pretty quickly too, considering she hasn't been with us for the past few months. Afterwards, I gave them the temporary tattoo and gift certificates that we gave everyone else, but I also gave them some leftover candy from the Drop N Shop, and wished them a Happy Hannukah! (All of them were Jewish, and it's coming up this weekend, after all, if I recall correctly.) After the new year, the kids will be taking their TKD at the Jewish Center preschool they attend, and SW will be teaching that! I'm a little relieved. She said that if all those kids came to the school, then she'd give it to me, but not that kind of situation. So I am glad to get the break. I didn't mind teaching the girls, especially Carly. I hate to play favorites, but I think some kids just set themselves up. It's not that I dislike Jacob. He's not a bad kid, just a super undisciplined spoiled brat who makes it difficult to teach the other kids who are willing to pay attention and participate correctly. Carly has her moments too, but she's much more into it, and I foresee her becoming a student in leadership eventually. She's got the right stuff already! So, that's the end of a short era-- my first forray into teaching TKD. I think it turned out okay in the end. The kids liked me, and generally respected me. I figure that if Jacob didn't like me, he wouldn't be coming up to me and trying to be close to me, even though I was strict with him and always getting after him, y'know? To have that trust from a child carries a lot of weight, even if that child is a bit of a nuisance. Kids have a sixth sense like that, so if the kids were happy to come to class, and they did learn what they needed to learn, then my job was done right.

The beginning is something I decided to do on my own. The ATA puts out a quarterly publication called, "ATA World" for its membership. We just got our copies (Drew gets one, not that he can read something like that yet, although he's an awesome reader at age 5 1/2), and in reading the articles, I felt compelled to write something of my own. Drew, as I have mentioned before, has a condition known as apraxia, which affect the motor control of his body, in particular his speech. He does have global apraxia, which can make him a little on the clumsy side, but his speech is what is affected most. He has a severe to moderate case of verbal apraxia, which has definitely improved over time, and his global apraxia (meaning how it affects the whole rest of his body) is not that bad. After all, the kid learned how to ride a two-wheeler without the training wheels when he was 3 1/2. But I found that through a listserv I belong to which is a support group for parents of apraxic kids, many of us send our kids to martial arts programs, especially ATA programs. The ATA has always (as far as I know) supported teaching TKD to all abilities, and even has special abilities classes for those who are either physically or cognitively disabled. The ATA Women's Black Belt World Champion for physical disabilities goes to my school--- Em, whom I've mentioned many times here before. SW is considered THE SA expert in the ATA as well, and I've helped as well as taken classes with kids who have Downs Syndrome and autism and other conditions. But apraxia--- that's a different story. It's not the same as being autistic or having CP. It's often where the child is cognitively and physically fine except for this problem. Many of us parents of apraxic kids have found that having our kids in the ATA, because of their positive attitude in helping any kid find their niche at their own pace, has been a very positive experience. So, I put the notice out in the listserv to see if I can get some parent and instructor feedback, and so far, I've gotten two responses as well as a referral to another ATA instructor who has worked with an apraxic child. Let's hope I get some more responses! I'm going to try to write a freelance article and submit it to the ATA, and see if they will publish it. So, wish me luck! If you know any ATA TKD people who have kids with speech issues, let me know! ;-)

I still have, as mentioned, my laryngitis. Yes, I've seen an MD, and I'm on antibiotics. I'm starting to get my voice back a little, but I still have a lot of congestion in my sinuses and chest. I can't laugh without almost choking! At least I'm starting to sleep at night, and getting some of my voice back, but I'm not pushing it too much if I can help it. I can still do all my other physical stuff for the most part, and tomorrow we start with a new form, the only one I haven't done for the color belt series so far...Songahm #5! Should be interesting. And I'll have to see about what weapon to do. I think it's ssang jeh bahngs (SJBs), aka numchaka, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure if SW will want me to do singles or doubles either, so we'll have to see about that. :-S

1 comment:

Miss Chris said...

When you were writing about the "little ones" at karate I know what you mean. I don't know how the instructor has enough patience with them sometimes. Argh!