RCYF has been running their gymnastics program for special needs kids and young adults for a few months. The parents have been so thrilled with the outcome and experience for the kids, but in addition to that, something else has been happening.
Parents are getting a great secondary benefit from their kids participating in the inclusion program at RCYF.
Here a few things that parents share about what they are gaining:
1. They chat, a lot. Parents have gotten recommendations for doctors in the area as well as for education advocates. Discussion of what each of the counties kids go to for school offer (and don’t), private school, medications, sleep issues and so on.
The sharing of funny stories brings much laughter too!
2. The parnets have gotten together for dinner and drinks. It’s one thing to talk to a neighbor or even a best girl friend about what a day in the life of looks like for us but to talk to someone who gets it, actually really gets it, it’s wonderful. There’s no pity or feeling sorry it’s just understanding and compassion. Some tears too but a lot of laughter.
3. The kids have gotten together outside of RCYF for pool dates and each others birthday parties. They are real friends just not people who see each other once a week for an hour. It’s strengthening our kids sense of belonging in the community. It’s helping us all network and learn about things we might not have found yet and also bond with other parents who are going through similar things and loving similar children.
What one mom shares about her child in the program:
Abby, age 12, greets each day with the challenge of both an anxiety disorder and an intellectual disability. Abby’s weekly class has been LIFE CHANGING! She’s proud to tell everyone now…” I am a gymnast!” In addition to strengthening exercises & having fun, Abby loves to help and encourage the younger students. The individual attention and passion for each child to feel successful is extraordinary. Thanks to RCG she has new friends, play dates & invitations to birthday parties on the calendar.
And another says:
When our family relocated a couple years ago to Richmond from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to be near family and friends, we were excited about the possibility of more resources that a large city affords for kids with special needs. One of our greatest “finds” has been River City Youth Fitness with its Inclusive Gymnastics classes. At first we were just happy to have an adaptive inclusive gymnastics place for Porter, now 12, who has a chromosome abnormality which affects her sensory system, balance and coordination. We are thrilled that both daughters can attend River City Youth Fitness together. What a giant gymnasium with an enormous amount of equipment and support staff! Porter greatly benefits from all the activities promoting gross motor skills, spatial and body awareness, in an environment where she is having fun and gaining confidence. Allowing Porter’s typical younger sister a place to join into the fun too was a huge bonus. Not only do the sisters get to learn and play together doing the same things, it was a chance for Blythe to step up and be a “Big Kid,” a typical example and model for some of the activities, building her self-esteem. We are so grateful how Coach Mike works at the level of each individual child, and has such an instinct with how much to push and where to give room. Under the watchful eyes of Coach Mike, Coach Katrina and others, these kids get the chance to socialize, and work on crucial interpersonal skills such as take turns, waiting in line, and navigating others. What started out as a terrific gymnastic class quickly became so much more. Not only could it be a place for both daughters with differing needs, we met so many terrific classmates, and I was able to make some new adult friends. It is priceless to talk amongst those who automatically speak the same language of special needs. While watching our kids push themselves to do bigger and better things, we have shared doctors, therapist, special needs care contacts, and other invaluable resources that can be difficult to find. Us fellow moms have met at times for lunch and dinner, and we have had many playdates, birthday parties, and even gone to the swimming pool together. Kudos to Coach Mike, Coach Fletcher, Coach Katrina, and all the wonderful support staff at River City Inclusive Gymnastics for designing and creating this powerful program that has blossomed into so much more than just a weekly gymnastics class.
RCYF has a lot to choose from, if you would like more info or to try a class, check out the site and/ or call.