I do not consider myself an athlete. I have never pushed Bridget’s older sister to compete, join a team or do anything but follow her passion. I do wish her passion wasn’t horses or adopting every stray animal, but I have been perfectly happy not having to sit on the sidelines at some cold and rainy soccer field.
It is easy, with Bridget, not to worry about typical events in children’s lives. We have been so busy trying to make Bridget verbal and a member of society, we can forget to expose her to normal, run-of-the-mill life experiences. Recently her SPED teacher told me that she thinks that parents with children who have disabilities forget to do the normal childhood fun, like sledding or skiing or just playing outside. I tried to explain that, for me, having faced failure before it makes me less likely to try again. It is definitely easier to just let her watch her I-Pad then to continue to expose her to experiences that are going to make her cry. Last year we tried basketball, epic fail. We tried soccer and watched our little girl happier sitting on sidelines than kicking the ball.
Yet, I do not want Bridget to sit on the sidelines of life. My entire goal with Bridget is to make her a functional member of society. I want her playing with other children, not lost in the world of videos. Lucky for me our town recreation department is making a concerted effort to work with Special Olympics. For the winter they offered bowling. We talked it over and felt, well she won’t get knocked over by her teammates, let’s give it a try.
She loved it. I mean loved it more than Fig Newtons kind of love. She might win the World Record for slowest bowling ball down an alley, but she had so much fun!
The next day she walked into her first grade class and actually shared what happened during circle time. “I go bowling with J”. Her teacher told me that Bridget’s excitement was beyond measure. Bridget articulated her story and added to the classroom activity. Bonus, she retained what happened and will tell anyone she comes into contact with how she went bowling.
This is something we can do as a family. Bowling is not only accessible it does not need to be adapted for Bridget to access it. Except the gutter guards, but even I would benefit from that help.
I always want to have Bridget access “typical” experiences. Special Olympics has taught me that by exposing her to adaptive experiences first she will have much more success.
I am incredibly thankful to the Sandwich Recreation Department, their partnership with Massachusetts Special Olympics and for the generosity of Ryan Family Amusements for donating the lane time to let “special” families feel typical for a few hours on a Saturday.
Have you tried the activities at the Cape Cod Challenger Club.They have some great activities and sports.
We are so excited that Bridget had a great experience with bowling! It is definitely one of the sports that children can carry with them into adulthood. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to learn more! email@example.com