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Yesterday, I had an awesome experience…. the kind that is so energizing and rewarding!

Start Where You Are And See The Potential

I was leading a small virtual group exercise session with parents and neurodiverse athletes. One of the young participants, when he first started with us many weeks ago, was unable to attend to the exercises and continually bounded around the room. “Hey,” his awesome mom said, “at least it’s movement!” So true.

But we knew he was capable of doing the exercises, of focusing and following along. So, with a little guidance from me and terrific prompting and modeling from his mom and neurotypical sister, this athlete has made gradual and steady progress over the weeks.

During our group Zoom session yesterday, I saw this young athlete doing hip bridges, planks, and squats with less prompting and more proactively than I’ve ever seen! Sure, his form and consistency aren’t perfect (whose is?), but we’ll get there.

And when I asked him to start the group off on some of the sets of exercises, he was right there kicking us off with, “Three, two, one!”

Progress Is More Rewarding When You Understand The Challenges

Exercise and staying fit is challenging for almost everyone. It’s especially hard for neurodiverse people, given the often overwhelming sensory inputs, motor planning, anxieties, attention issues – you name it – that many must work with.

So, to see someone making such terrific progress and overcoming the challenges they face is, to me, like watching a world-class athlete achieve a feat I’m certain I would be unable to achieve, or at least struggle mightily to do myself.

And it would be impossible if it weren’t for this athlete’s mom’s belief in his strengths, her persistence in raising the bar for him, and her dogged patience in working with him and me to make it happen. That’s real teamwork.

I closed out the Zoom session and my cheeks were hurting because of the constant smile I had on my face.

Now THAT is an awesome feeling!

What’s Your Story?

What’s your story of presuming competence, of raising the bar, of achieving something amazing, no matter how small it may seem to the outside world? I’d love to hear it.

Be strong, balanced and kind!

 

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