Every mom wants to hear her child say, “Mom, look at me!” The Adaptive Skating program at Franciscan Hospital for Children recently gave Andrea the opportunity to hear just that.
Forming lasting relationships is a skill children with Autism often struggle with…
Nine-year-old Adam is on the Autism spectrum. As a result, structured sports are a real challenge for him, but on the ice, there’s less pressure, so he’s less anxious and can actually enjoy getting some exercise. Skating has built Adam’s confidence and allowed him to compete by watching and working to keep up with the other children. Adam has also built a strong relationship with his coach, Maeve. Forming lasting relationships is a skill children with Autism often struggle with, so that bond has meant a lot to Adam and his family.
This year, for the first time, Adam’s four-year-old brother, Anthony, is also participating in the program. According to Andrea, besides learning beginning skating skills, Anthony is learning the importance of being patient and loving to other children who have special needs like his brother. Adaptive skating gives them the perfect opportunity to work on something together, which they don’t often get the chance to do in activities.
Neither boy is a stranger to Franciscan Hospital for Children, and both visit the dental clinic where Pediatric dentists are specially trained to treat children with special needs. Calming and readying any child for a dental procedure can be trying, and a child with Autism can be especially challenging.
When Andrea found out her son Adam had Autism, she thought the world was ending. “Once we were done dealing with the sadness of the diagnosis, we recognized that we needed to move forward. Adam has participated in this program since the pilot four years ago, and every summer, he begins asking how long it is until skating begins again. The Adaptive Skating program has meant so much to our family and we hope it’s around for more years to come!”
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