Hello! This blog is about my daughter Hailey (currently 12 years old) and her experiences living with auditory processing disorder. Auditory Processing Disorder is Hailey's primary issue, however she has also been given the labels Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, Visual Processing Disorder, Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Disorder and Phonology Disorder at various points in her life.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Group Lessons??? The Coach Makes All The Difference

Recently my daughter Hailey started to take off-ice lessons as well as her twice weekly figure skating lessons. These are lessons where they do aerobic exercises, strengthening exercises, stretching exercises, and practice jumps in their sneakers - off the ice.  Her lessons on the ice are one-on-one with a coach that she adores and works very well with. Her off-ice lessons are in a group format with nine other girls.  She also has a new coach for these lessons whom she is not familiar with and to top that off, she has an accent.

At first, I was concerned that these off-ice lessons would not work for Hailey.  She generally just falls apart in group lessons: she can't understand what is going on, what she is supposed to do, and the atmosphere feels too chaotic for her.  She also doesn't usually do well understanding people who have accents.

Pleasantly, we have both been surprised!  Her new coach for the off-ice lessons makes a point of telling the students what to do and briefly showing them.  Then she taps Hailey on the shoulder to get her attention and shows her step-by-step how to do the activity with Hailey following along.  It works wonderfully. Hailey understands how and what to do so she doesn't feel like things are out of control.

The other girls can still be noisy and active around Hailey, but she seems to be handling it well.  She just focuses on what she needs to be doing and doesn't let them distract her.  Sometimes one will get into her space a little too close (like they might accidentally kick her) and she either moves herself or the coach motions for her to move to a larger spot.

Overall, I'm happy that Hailey is doing so well in a group lesson.  Not only because she is getting the instruction she needs for ice skating, but she is also tolerating a group of noisy, active kids around her.  This is a milestone!

PS:  I didn't even have to talk to the new coach about Hailey's needs.  Hailey's original coach, her on-ice coach, explained it to her ahead of time.  Yippee!  How wonderful to have people who are so caring and pro-active for my child.

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