It’s almost the end of the school year for us. Only 4 more weeks to go until the summer holidays, but already things are coming to an end.
Today was the last of the term for the dancing classes the boys take on a Saturday morning at the Deeside Dance Centre (http://www.deesidedancecentre.co.uk/) in Banchory.
The classes have been absolutely brilliant for them. We came upon the classes through a listing on the local NAS monthly email. It was perfect timing, because M had just started Scottish Country Dancing at school, and D was a little miffed that he was too young to join in. Therefore when I saw the advert, I was really pleased as it would be something they could do together. Both boys were really excited about the idea. The classes are arranged by SCILL – Deeside (http://www.scill-deeside.co.uk/home), a local charity I have spoken about before and that I think works amazing hard as a group of volunteers that bring together families who have somebody with a disability. They offer advice and organise events. They are very hard-working people. The classes are subsidised thanks to a grant from Comic Relief, so I can honestly say this year was the first time I had seen their work in action and feel privileged my boys have benefited from the fundraising that goes on around the country.
Today at the dance class, the parents were allowed in to watch what they have been learning. It is a combination of music and movement. They learn actions and put them to the music. There are about 10 children in the class, mine are the only boys, but they seem to enjoy the attention from the girls! The children have various differences, and I believe it has opened the boys eyes to the fact that they might have special brains that throw various problems at them, but other people have their own challenges and that makes them no less valuable than they are. Understanding of others is an important lesson to learn and one I hope they can keep with them.
M loves to dance, and I think he would do really well in a formal dance class but he already bows to peer pressure and says doing that is for girls. I think it sad as the regimentation of dance and music would really give him a focus. I will keep dropping hints and see if he comes round to the idea before the new term begins in August. I am sure he would enjoy it if he gave it a try.
D enjoys the classes, but because of his size and is mobility problems that go with it, he gets breathless very easily. He does however give it his all. He is really a born performer and enjoys the attention that goes with it, that is until someone actually directly speaks with him and then his head withdraws back into his shell. I think he has benefited from having the organised exercise that the class gives him. It’s all fine for me and his Dad to get him up and doing stuff but it’s not the same as a person of authority doing it! He loves to please so will do his best to be praised.
The teacher they have has the patience of Job. She is brilliant with them, pushing them hard enough that they realise they have to do as they are told, but not so hard that they aren’t having fun! After all, it is a weekend activity so if it’s not fun they shouldn’t be being forced to do it.
I really hope these classes are resumed after the summer holidays as I think they will be sorely missed if they don’t.
I have put the boys on the SCILLs waiting list for swimming lessons, which would be wonderful for them as they have dedicated teachers that work one on one with the children. This would really help as they both love being in the water, but I don’t have the ability to teach them more than the basics. Fingers crossed we can get these classes.
I think getting the boys into out of school activities is a fine line. M particularly doesn’t understand doing organised extra curricular activities – his mind says there is a time and a place for things, learning is for at school, the rest of the time is for having fun. We therefore have to find him things that he doesn’t believe he is learning things. D on the other hand doesn’t want to do extras because he loves going into his own little world, be it while on the trampoline or by himself in the garden. He needs the down time to organise his mind. I think they need to do some stuff to widen their circle but I will never force them as I learned to hate the amount of things I did after school. I played in various brass bands, and so was out most evenings and weekends to do with it, and while I enjoyed it, I also felt I was missing out when I couldn’t do things with my friends because I was performing in a concert or going to rehearsal. This is why I want the boys to have enough to keep them occupied but not so much that they feel they have no down time. As I say a fine line to tread.