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Saturday, May 29, 2010

That time of year again

It is that time of year again. Summer is coming and with it all the outdoor activities such as swimming and bike riding and hikes and gardening. Although it is hard to believe that warm weather is coming due to a particularly cool and rainy May in the NW, it is coming indeed.

Most kids and families long for the sunny, warm days of practically living outside enjoying all that Summer has to offer. In some ways, of course, our family does too. Our daughter was ready to put up our pool weeks ago. She's just about always ready to ride a bike (as long as it includes training wheels). She has no problem getting dirty as knee-high mud stains on her pants from yesterday's school outing will attest.Our boy, is an entirely different story.

He has already told me that transitions such as this are difficult for him. The one super warm and sunny weekend we had last month, he squinted when he had to be outside and preferred to eat indoors alone while the rest of us revelled on being able to dine on our back porch. The light is too bright. The temperature change too sudden. And of course there are those bugs. Seemingly harmless to you and I, ants and flies seem deadly at times should they come too close to my boy.

We talked about planting his vegetable garden but haven't gotten past dispatching a few bachelor buttons and California poppy seeds in our front yard. We haven't tried hiking yet but usually the boy requests a pass due to bugs.

Biking is a problem for us as a family unit. Everyone is ready and willing although again the girl still needs to finally get rid of the training wheels. The boy shows just about zero interest. After his most recent occupational therapy evaluation, I think I know why. His balance is simply not all that good. Luckily, it isn't the can't stand up, always falling down kind of imbalance. But it is the just-enough-to-make-learning-new-skills-like-biking-supremely-scary-and-difficult kind for sure. A friend passed on information about a great program that just might get our boy on a bike with confidence although we haven't had a chance to get there yet...The Bike First Program

And then there is swimming! Sure enough just about every other friend of my son's loves either hanging out in our backyard pool or the neighborhood one and becoming part of the swim team is becoming all the rage. We are so not in that loop. Well meaning parents invite him to various swim activities but for the most part we pass. I've read multiple articles about what is to blame but clearly with our boy the biggest issues appears to be getting his face/ears/head wet. Underwater - I DON'T THINK SO - not if he can help it. We are stuck in the swimming lesson process. We've tried the various techniques to get him used to the idea, including practicing in the tub with hair washing and rinsing (still hates it), using goggles (helps but he still doesn't want anymore swimming lessons thank you very much), and allowing him to hold a towel to his eyes. They all help us to get his hair washed and he will go in a pool and maybe float around but once there's a good splash, he is often pretty much done. And so it goes.

We keep trying and keep searching for some answers that will move us forward one step at a time.  If your child cringes at the bright summery sunshine, prefers being indoors rather than out, fears bugs inordinately and/or just can't seem to find his way to bike or swim... he (or she) may have a sensory processing difficulty. I know we do! It has been suggested that I read "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" and I'm sure I should. Looks as though that just might have some great suggestions on home activities that might help our less-than boys (and girls) of Summer!

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