Monday, April 24, 2017

Spectra Gymnastics

Last week we took a wonderful trip to Spectra Gymnastics. Spectra is a gymnastics studio that was specially designed for children with Autism and other disabilities. The instructors at Spectra have a background in gymnastics, of course, but a background in Autism as well--making it a great place for us to visit.

The owner and I corresponded in advance about the specific plans that would benefit our students. She designed the perfect plan for both our class and Miss Amanda's class to get the best experience that we could. She used visual schedules to show the kids what we'd be doing, pre-taught the activities, and used differentiated instruction techniques tailored to each class. We oriented to spots on the floor, just like we practice in APE, to have a "home base" between activities to receive specific instruction for what we were about to do next. The kids had the opportunities to try lots of new activities to challenge them physically and socially. They handled the new sensory challenges and demands so well! I am so proud of them!

In addition to the excitement of Spectra itself, we also took advantage of the life skills opportunity of travel training! We took two tri-met buses each way! This meant lots of walking and LOTS of waiting. We had to check our travel plans and observe stop numbers and bus numbers. We had to be kind and courteous to strangers on the bus, and practice greeting the bus driver. We had to walk and wait in the pouring rain and use some situational observation skills to find an awning to stay dry! We also practiced being really close to our friends safely so we could share the dry space!

What a day of excitement and learning! I am so impressed with how well they did, and so excited to see what new challenges they can handle in the future! As one kindergartener commented when we got back to school, "Wow, that was such a wonderful adventure!"

For more information about Spectra's classes and camps, visit their website here:
http://spectrapdx.com/