The First Day of Ice Skating Lessons

by Katie McCall

My daughter is currently seven and I have just discovered SPD. Though she has not yet been diagnosed, I truly believe this is it... the "Aha!" of our searching. Her school has referred her because she is so distracted and the therapist on campus looked at me, puzzled, and said, "Well, I just don't get it. She's obviously NOT autistic, but there's something more there than ADD".

I myself grew up with so many of the signs of SPD that I wonder... though at my age I've learned numerous ways of coping, including things I just CAN'T and WON'T do.

Anyway... as we begin our journey, I just wanted to share one of MANY little Christiana stories from her earlier years...

I knew that my daughter loves to be in constant motion, and trying to get her involved in something that would enable her to develop some social interaction (she's never really been able to develop friends), I enrolled her in the local ice skating rink's toddler class. It was for 3 and 4 year olds and my daughter was nearly 5.

She was almost a head taller than all the other little kids. She wobbled out with all the little munchkins onto the ice as I stood on the sidelines (I've always been morbidly afraid of falling and ice skating is a definite NO for me).

As the class began, the teacher had all the kids do some balancing exercises. Christiana tried a few and then decided she'd had enough and began fearlessly attempting to ice skate away from the class. She actually did alright for a few paces but then fell hopelessly and dramatically. The instructor was forced to tear himself away from six other obedient little students to rescue my daughter.

I, of course, at this point, was standing on the sidelines on my tiptoes hollering "Christiana! Get UP!"

She heard none of it. She saw none of it. She responded with oblivion. Instead she was totally focusing on the ice shavings her skate had made in front of her.

As the instructor attempted to get her attention, she proceeded to lick at the ice shavings repeatedly... and with great fascination. This was a wonderful thing to experience apparently, ice shavings in the mouth. :)

It took both the instructor and another adult helper to get my daughter off the ice. She fitted all the way into my arms.

To my dismay, but understanding, the instructor requested that she not come back to class. "She's just not mature enough for a class yet. Bring her back next year when she's older, maybe?" Of course I never tried to explain that she was probably the oldest child IN the class.


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Nov 26, 2008
Just when I'm about to stop....
by: Anonymous

It seems like I run into these stories and comments from other parents whose hearts are breaking like mine, to see our kids be so different from their peers.

I have yet to get Annaliese in to see an OT, but she has gone to a pediatric psychiatrist, who suggested a neurological evaluation. We have OK weeks and downright terrible times, but sometimes it seems like we can 'live with it'. I know Annaliese doesn't like to be pulled to all these appointments and scrutinized by people she doesn't know. However, I feel like I need to start pushing again. The older kids on the street, and some kids her own age, don't want to play with her, though they do want to play with her 2 1/2 year old sister, because of the odd way she sometimes acts.

Her dad was gone last week and her teacher told me that she had a heck of a week... went through 3 sets of crayons (she kept shredding them with the edge of her desk, or biting them) and she constantly got up to exchange pencils or had some other reason to fidget or make noises.

Fortunately now her teacher realizes that she is quite possibly the brightest child in the class, and she definitely belongs there, but she considers her simply 'socially immature' for her age. I have to wonder WHY she is so immature compared to her classmates, and she even displays behaviors that are less mature than kids even a year younger than she.

I guess it's time to start plugging away again. It seems like I'm swimming against the current when I try to find someone to diagnose this child with SOMETHING. Especially since most people are writing her differences off as immaturity or her personality. I just hate to see her struggle socially (can't ride a bike, can't follow directions to play games with other kids, is avoided by a lot of children) and academically(handwriting and cutting are very difficult, following step by step directions in order seems impossible for her, has a hard time staying focused and on task at school) and I know that she would be so relieved not to have to try ten times as hard as her peers to achieve results.

Prayers to all of us. I sure hope it's in the Lord's plan for me and my daughter to pull through this obstacle. If we manage to do this before she loses faith and belief in her abilities, this child will be unstoppable!

Nov 25, 2008
Hang in there
by: Anonymous

Ice skating, swimming, "toddler games", dance, gymnastics... we've tried it all for her and basically been either asked to leave or been given "the look" and decided it was time to go... she has so much energy and no way to burn it off.

She is a "no fear" child who jumps into water and you just have to dive in and hope you make it to her. Luckily, two important things happened over the last year. The co-owner of a dance studio was her Sunday school teacher and has a son with ADD... she invited our daughter to come to her dance school, and the teachers realized that this was a special case. They recommend which classes she should be in (some of them are better able to cope than others with a kid who just can't be told to focus).

The other thing was we were blessed with a kindergarten teacher who called me and said that she wanted to have a meeting. She sat down with me and said that my daughter was wonderful and smart, but she should see the OT. We got a diagnosis of SPD and the school is actively working with us.

Sep 17, 2008
thank you
by: Anonymous

I love your story. I always felt very sad to see my son been different. Now he is 8 and we still are working. The school does not recognize his SPD because he is borderline. So I have to work with him a lot. While other kids are playing he is sitting with me learning, reading, cutting, playing. And yes give them time it does not matter how old, they finally WILL do some extra activities. Now at 8 he finally is swimming and now starting Gym. Every year I enrolled him and let the teacher know about his condition, that usually helps a bit so they are more understanding, specially if 5 year old sister is in the same class breezing through it.

My motto with him is WE WILL DO IT BIT BY BIT TOGETHER WE CAN DO EVERYTHING WE WANT, I ALWAYS WILL BE THERE, JUST BREATH AND WE WILL MAKE IT. And lots and lots a positive action, no matter how many times you have to do it (just take a chill pill :) and do it again. We don't have it easy however we have wonderful children that will show us their love and happiness when they have reach a goal in such a rewarding way that it make you cry.

Gosh so many stories that come to my mind. One is when he was learning how to ride a bicycle, but just with long pants, long shirt, and when we took the training wheels off, oh my Good he cried for a week because he miss them so much and not just a normal cry it was one of those hard broken ones that make you cry and make you feel really really bad. Yes it took us month but now he drives his bike.

So yes thanks to these type of sites we can feel better and help them.


Sep 11, 2008
Same type of experience.
by: Andie

Wow. Me too! First it was t-ball... instead of waiting in line for instructions and her turn, she wandered off to collect pine cones. Then ballet. All the little girls were lined up, following directions, trying to do the positions and learn a few basic steps. My little prima ballerina tried even harder, but toppled over a few times into the girl next to her. Eventually, she decided to go to her favorite activity, spinning, while the class went on without her.

Next was swimming lessons. Again, all the kids were lined up hanging onto the side of the pool waiting for their turn to try to swim to the instructor. Annaliese could not stay in that position, so she was constantly letting go, trying to swim on her own with no one aware that she had pushed herself away from the wall. Fortunately I never left the side of the pool, and caught her each time. Needless to say, we didn't continue t-ball, ballet, or swimming lessons. She has not been diagnosed yet (except by me! The ever-researching mommy, determined to find a reason for my daughter's 'differences') and during all of these types of lessons, I figured it was ADD - since that's what we all hear about when it comes to inattention and distractability - and thought I just had a bad kid who didn't listen. I am positive SPD is her affliction, and I will be so relieved when someone gives it a name.

She is struggling in Kindergarten, and the teacher thinks of her as a nuisance. She insinuates to me that my child has been loosely disciplined, if at all, and will most likely have to repeat Kindergarten. This was first stated to me on the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! That was when I went nuts trying to get my daughter an appointment with a behavioral psychiatrist. I just know there is something way more going on with her that no one cares to recognize. She is very smart and inquisitive, and very friendly - although kids usually shy away from her because of her intense personality. I sure hope we find help for her soon. I'm afraid that her self esteem is suffering more and more with every day that she lives with this uncontrollable behavior. God bless to you and your daughter!

Mar 24, 2008
Aww :-)
by: Anonymous

Very cute story. Do you suspect Asperger's with your daughter in addition to the SPD? It is often missed in girls, as it can present differently, but you did note some social difficulties.

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