When we enrolled Colin in Karate, we decided, along with his teacher, that it would be best for him to do private lessons at first so that he could get used to the routine, learn some of the moves, and adjust to what was expected before putting him in a class setting. It was a really good choice because there have been some little things to work through and as with most aspects of Colin's day to day life, some days are simply just better than others. This is true for most kids, but for Colin, it's even more so because of some of the challenges that make some things more difficult for him.
Since things have been going so well and he earned his half-yellow belt, we talked to his teacher about trying out a class last Monday for the first time. He was nervous and hesitant at first but once his teacher helped him get out onto the floor, he was excited to be there. For his first time, he did really well, following directions, actively participating, doing what the other kids were doing (even on moves he hadn't learned yet) and then when the 30 minute mark hit, he started to break down a little bit. Private lessons are typically 30 minutes and classes are 45 so we expected that this would start to happen. He didn't do anything in terms of misbehaving, but he started to tire and would sit down. Due to the snow, he didn't have his private lesson on Thursday and then we tried the class again today. This week was a little bit tougher in that he had a harder time, but for different reasons.
It's hard for Chris and I on days like this to watch as an "outsider" because we know he can do it and we also know that there's reasons why he can't. When Colin is tired (after a 4 day weekend and the time change, he was definitely "off" schedule), he gets into what we call "sensory mode". I suppose it's a self soothing technique but he becomes focused on things like little strings, fuzzies, the edges of shirts, hair, etc. and rubs his fingers along them slowly. Although we had his teacher trim his belt of the strings before class, he still found ways to do this today. Sometimes when he was tired, he would sit on the ground but would get up when asked. In addition, Colin has always been an observer so even at times it seems like he's not paying attention or doing anything, he really is. Today was one of those days where he didn't really seem to be paying attention yet when we got home, he asked to do a "Karate class" with me in the living room and went through the warm up, some of the moves and even included positive reinforcements that were utilized during class. It's hard to watch days like today, but we also know that for every day like this one that's a little bit more challenging, there are plenty more encouraging ones and positive ones to come.
We are so proud of Colin for continuing to work hard, even on days that are more challenging for him. We are also so thankful for Karate instructors who are patient yet still push Colin at the same time.