Did I make the right decision by not going to the camp?
Posts Tagged 'athletes'
Anthony Robles from Mesa, Arizona was born with no right leg. He was given a prosthetic leg and at the age of 3 he removed the prosthetic leg and has never put one back on. When he was 12, he set a record at his local elementary school for the most push-ups completed by any member of the school. “I really don’t see missing my leg as a handicap. My parents raised me strong and they didn’t give me any special treatment.” He worked very hard to do different exercises to keep his body strong.
Are you a teacher, an educator or a coach of sports? Is there any difference? The distinctions between the three are not necessarily obvious. Not all coaches are good teachers. They may have an excellent knowledge of the sport, understand its skills and tactics, and yet be very poor at sharing their expertise with their athletes. Likewise, not all teachers are good sports coaches; they may have a sound grasp of pedagogy (how an activity can best be delivered) but lack the insight and experience a coach might bring to the sport.
In last week’s blog I discussed to importance of adapting an exercise program to the unique needs of the athlete. Today, I would like to expand on that theme. Let’s assume that a special needs athlete asks you to coach them. How would you go about designing an exercise program that is challenging and yet respectful of their capabilities?
My sons have autism and yes I have seen film “The Rain Man.” If someone gave me $10 for every time I have heard that, I would be a wealthy man. I remind myself that I have to accept that not everyone carries an informed understanding of autism and its challenges. Sometimes I get mischievous and tell them that my eldest son – Michael – is an excellent card counter; cue the Rain Man in Vegas dialogue. The conversation usually concludes with someone saying“it’s amazing the math skills those kids have.” There seems to be genuine surprise when I tell people that my son has poor math skills (learning disabilities can often accompany autism), but he is an excellent distance runner. Michael has won many races and is a joyful participant with Islanders Running Club – a club we started for kids that needed a bit of support.
About six years our youngest son Colin was diagnosed with autism. Not the greatest day of lives. I remember sitting quietly in an austere office trying to make sense of this news. My mind leapt from thought to questions to ill-informed attempts at answers. Do we really have a disabled son? I could accept the diagnosis but not the idea my son was without abilities. I asked myself what would this diagnosis mean for our family? Of course, I had no idea beyond fear or imagination; but I knew that our lives would be forever different. My mind buzzed like an annoying fly around the question: “What could I do to help him?”