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How do I help my non sporty, nearly 8 yo son?


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#1 zogee

Posted 05 February 2020 - 11:40 PM

Hi all
My gorgeous boy is about a year behind his peers with motor skills, particularly gross motor. Ive been told he is also quite hyper mobile. He’s had OT for fine motor skills and he does karate once per week but doesn’t like any team sports.

He finds running very hard and has said to me numerous times that his classmates ‘yell’ at him during sport to run faster etc, especially when they’re doing races. I witnessed it myself at the carnival when he dropped the ball in tunnel ball and a few kids were really hard on him. :(  

I try to reframe it and say that maybe they are trying to encourage him and also highlight all his other talents eg: artistic, kind, funny  etc. and to try and laugh at himself a bit and not show that it bothers him.

Does anyone else have any words of wisdom? I really feel for him at the moment!

#2 Paddlepop

Posted 05 February 2020 - 11:52 PM

Talk to the school. The PE teacher can talk to them about being more supportive of each other and to quit being so critical of those who aren't super sporty. Good sportsmanship and all that. Class teacher can talk to them about being more supportive of each other in general, being kind, and focusing on the positives instead of negatives about each other.

That sort of negative crap from classmates is so damn demoralising. I had it for 12 years at school. Always the last to be picked for a team. Always last in races. Always made fun of in all things sporting. Once I could drop PE in year 11 I did and did no sport. If 40yo me could go back in time I'd tell them all to shut their damn mouths if they couldn't say something positive, or maybe I'd tell them to write better or do maths faster or spell better or get the correct answers more in the classroom and give them a taste of their own medicine. If it was okay on the sports field then it should have been okay off the sports field. Bet it wouldn't have been but for some reason their crap talk to me was ignored because sporting prowess and superiority was untouchable.

Edited by Paddlepop, 06 February 2020 - 12:55 AM.


#3 Islander

Posted 05 February 2020 - 11:52 PM

Have you ever seen a paediatric physio? I wonder if some strengthening/stabilising exercises might help? At that age I got referred to podiatry and being prescribed orthotics which made a huge difference. I still remember coming third the following year in cross country- felt like I’d won!

#4 BusbyWilkes

Posted 06 February 2020 - 12:06 AM

I think the reframing is helpful. Focus on his strengths. If he is arty, are there drama/music/art/pottery etc classes nearby? Joining something like that may provide enjoyment, opportunity for feeling successful and the chance to meet like-minded kids.

If you want to (and if he wants to!) get better at gross motor activities, there are also some options.
* Seeing a specialist paediatric physio to assess and provide specific ideas.
* increase the number of sessions of karate - once a week for any child isn’t enough to develop strength/coordination, but especially for a child who finds these tasks difficult
* add exercise into your daily routine - walk to school, ride bikes as a family, play at the playground regularly after school, bushwalk/play at the beach etc on weekends, do a kids yoga off YouTube together
* look into if any universities nearby offer kids gym classes. A couple near us (that teach Physio, human movement etc) run kids classes to develop core skills for participation in sports/physical activities. These are run by students but supervised by qualified staff

But mostly, just continue to let him know that he is loved and is awesome just the way he is.

#5 zogee

Posted 06 February 2020 - 12:07 AM

Thanks so much for your replies. I think I’ll definitely talk to his teacher because it’s affecting his confidence a bit. I did also say something at the carnival but it was a student teacher supervising and she didn’t really do much.
He does have orthotics but his brand new sports shoes don’t fit with them in! Gah!
We could definitely look at physio because that’s one of the few extras our health insurance covers.
Thanks again x

#6 BusbyWilkes

Posted 06 February 2020 - 12:09 AM

zogee said:

1580911631[/url]' post='18558937']
Thanks so much for your replies. I think I’ll definitely talk to his teacher because it’s affecting his confidence a bit. I did also say something at the carnival but it was a student teacher supervising and she didn’t really do much.
He does have orthotics but his brand new sports shoes don’t fit with them in! Gah!
We could definitely look at physio because that’s one of the few extras our health insurance covers.
Thanks again x

Rookie mistake re the orthotics! I’ve made that mistake too. Now I refuse to buy new shoes for my older kids unless they take their orthotics to the shop to put in the shoes they are trying.

Edited by BusbyWilkes, 06 February 2020 - 12:10 AM.


#7 UniKitty

Posted 06 February 2020 - 12:47 AM

Sounds very similar to my now almost 13yo son.
Auskick was a disaster of mean kids and parents who were unforgiving  of muscle tone issues...What worked for us was karate 3x week and swimming. Both were non-team so less pressure but helped build strength and coordination.

We also joined Cub Scouts. A fabulous option for non-sporty kids who do want to do 'teamwork' stuff.

Edited by UniKitty, 06 February 2020 - 12:53 AM.


#8 Elsegundo

Posted 06 February 2020 - 04:22 AM

I second scouts. It's cooperative rather than competitive and there is a surprising amount of physical activity. A few running kind of games each week as part of start of the night. Plus group walls and most camps include obstacle courses.

We also try to do.things like trampoline park or a play Centre each weekend. Not my preferred place but does get my kids racing around for a few hours where normally they'd prefer less sporty activities. My 8yo is asd and sees an OT and these are some of the few physical things he will do in public.



#9 Dianalynch

Posted 06 February 2020 - 05:16 AM

My nephews are the same...one has low muscle tone and is hypermobile...the other not far off it...swimming helped tyem both out a lot. Neither can run, but they do well at the swimming carnivals, and that’s enough to give them credibility with the sporting crowd.

#10 Bigbaubles

Posted 06 February 2020 - 05:48 AM

What about drama? I remember my brother doing a lot of physical drama games and stuff. Or even swimming or scouts? Or if he's interested in trying to run a bit more, then maybe you could do park runs or something together?

I was tall and gangly and really felt like I was all arms and legs most of the time. I played soccer but always felt like I let the team down with my running and kicking. My dad always took me to the park to practise together and it definitely helped me feel a bit better. I was still never amazing, but it helped!

#11 Silverstreak

Posted 06 February 2020 - 06:33 AM

My DS with ASD has lower muscle tone and is hyper mobile as well (will be eight later this year.) We have a trampoline in the backyard, as a physio recommended it to build up leg strength (he was landing stiffly after jumping) and we have just bought him a bike as well. Swimming lessons are also on the agenda (he was afraid of swimming pools for a while, but is getting more confident.)

Re team sports I have no idea, but maybe gymnastics. DS loves jumping around and I've been meaning to look into this and check whether the hyper mobility would make it a no go. We do Sportism every fortnight (it's run by volunteers.)

#12 Backtoschoolchef

Posted 06 February 2020 - 06:52 AM

View PostSilverstreak, on 06 February 2020 - 06:33 AM, said:


Re team sports I have no idea, but maybe gymnastics. DS loves jumping around and I've been meaning to look into this and check whether the hyper mobility would make it a no go. We do Sportism every fortnight (it's run by volunteers.)

My girls have low muscle tone and gymnastics has been good. They also dance, swim and play netball all of which helped.  

To the OP - could you have some fun informal ball games with him, maybe handball, beach volleyball, beach cricket etc?

I also agree with a word to the PE teacher. Maybe they can set the class up a bit to show something DS is good at or put him in a position where he can be successful in a few games to build his confidence.

#13 Ozquoll

Posted 06 February 2020 - 07:06 AM

Your poor son 😟. I was just like him at school, and my DS is pretty much the same. I can remember being mercilessly harangued by other kids to run faster or throw better. I still hate team sports of any kind, too many bad memories.

PPs have given good advice - especially the advice to go to the school or the PE teacher and ask them to address the bullying (cos that's what it is) of your DS during sport. It isn't okay for them to abuse him.

#14 BungyBaby

Posted 06 February 2020 - 07:19 AM

Has your son been tested for dyspraxia? It used to be referred to as clumsy kid syndrome, essentially it is signals from the brain not transmitted through the body as normal. No cure, but activities that focus on motor skills help a lot. Karate is great, swimming, piano, painting, even just throwing a ball against a wall. He will always have issues with co-ordination, but you will be able to understand why a lot easier.

#15 Lady Monteagle

Posted 06 February 2020 - 07:36 AM

As I had suffered just like that all through school, when my eldest was turning out to have inherited my (lack of) gross motor skills, I took him to music lessons, which has given him a whole field of endeavour where he can be skilled, and can participate in teams (orchestras), and be a leader.

However, it remains the case that sporting prowess is ingrained as being superior to all else.  At least in my son's very early schooling years his PE teachers were very good at actually teaching PE in a way they could all participate in - he could know other kids were better than him without feeling like less of a person because of it.  So your school should definitely be handling this differently.

#16 seayork2002

Posted 06 February 2020 - 08:20 AM

My son does scouts but does not like team sports and does the basics at PE/sports days, he won't join in swimming etc.

For him he is just not interested and again for him only as it is not causing him any issues we leave him to it.

With scouts they are heading towards being self interest (not sure how to word it) what I mean is you get a hand book and the scout chooses more what they want to do - abseiling, rock climbing, canoeing, sailing, camping, bush walking are the main things that stand out that DS has mentioned. So my son decides and tells the leaders.

These are hands on things but there are lots of other activities it is just I mentioned what DS is telling me

#17 zogee

Posted 06 February 2020 - 08:54 AM

Thanks everyone at least I know I’m not alone in these struggles! I’ll definitely try swimming again soon but am limited in what I can do with him after school due to work. He has seen a paed but he was very dismissive of dyspraxia /DCD. I guess the only ‘treatment’ is therapy anyway, which we will do when I get another Medicare chronic disease plan.

#18 Silverstreak

Posted 06 February 2020 - 09:35 AM

View PostPoolsideMasterchef, on 06 February 2020 - 06:52 AM, said:

My girls have low muscle tone and gymnastics has been good. They also dance, swim and play netball all of which helped.  


Ooh thank you, will look into this further. He's started doing a gym class at school, but now I'm thinking of an extracurricular, cheers.

#19 Chaotic Pogo

Posted 06 February 2020 - 09:44 AM

Trampolining has been good for all 3 of mine with poor gross motor. We go weekly and sometimes take one of their friends.

Team sports suck, but DS1 learned soccer in a coaching, non-competitive lessons and has decent ball skills now.  Enough to join a game at lunchtime at least.  I do not plan to put him into a team though, wouldn't be good for him.

#20 Gudrun

Posted 06 February 2020 - 09:52 AM

Swimming!

#21 Lady Sybil Vimes

Posted 06 February 2020 - 10:03 AM

I have two with hypotonia and accompanying motor skills issues. They’ve seen an OT/physio in the past. They do gymnastics, karate and swimming weekly and we have a trampoline and a good climbing tree in the backyard. We also practice bike riding most weekends to help with core strength.

Neither of them will ever be winning medals but we’ve seen definite improvements in balance, strength and coordination.

#22 coolbreeze

Posted 06 February 2020 - 10:11 AM

Swimming is fantastic for my son who had slight low muscle tone. I also found classical ballet helped with core strength. Being hypermobile is sometimes a plus with these sort of activities.
He found team sports not his cup of tea.
good luck
CB

Edited by coolbreeze, 06 February 2020 - 10:27 AM.


#23 robhat

Posted 06 February 2020 - 10:25 AM

I think the immediate issue here is to deal with his peer's understanding of his difficulties.

Because he has muscle tone issues it'll be a long while before his gross motor skills will catch up near his peers. Of course you should look into activities that help improve his muscle tone, but that's not going to change the teasing and bullying soon enough.

Go talk to the teacher and be open to the idea of the class discussing muscle tone issues openly. Kids need to understand and accept differences and it often has to be directly taught. It would be worth it (I think) for your son's class to be told directly that he has hyper mobility and what that is and how it affects him. That he'd love to be good at sports, but that it will take longer for his muscles to do what theirs can do. That it doesn't help him to give him a hard time about no being able to do things his muscles won't let him do well yet. The teacher should be able to do this in a sensitive way and it need not focus entirely on your son. There may well be other kids in the class with different struggles and the teacher can simply focus on being kinder towards others who have various difficulties for various reasons.

I wouldn't be aiming for team sports at this stage. Stick with whatever therapies you have and individual activities that will help his muscle tone. Look for non sport activities for him to develop friendships, a band, coding club some sort of science club, art group???

#24 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 06 February 2020 - 11:23 AM

View Postzogee, on 06 February 2020 - 08:54 AM, said:

Thanks everyone at least I know I’m not alone in these struggles! I’ll definitely try swimming again soon but am limited in what I can do with him after school due to work. He has seen a paed but he was very dismissive of dyspraxia /DCD. I guess the only ‘treatment’ is therapy anyway, which we will do when I get another Medicare chronic disease plan.

I agree with all that has been posted.  My dyspraxic, low muscle tone and hyperextensive DS is now 14, and has 'come through' a lot of the primary school angst.

I found that the OT's and physio's were more understanding and knowledgeable about dyspraxia and therapies than the Paed, just saying.

Swimming isn't his thing - he just gets exhausted.  

His two saviours have been tennis and music.  He plays guitar and percussion, and is in the A team for tennis.  Whilst it's a team, it doesnt have the pressure of a group, if you know what I mean.  It's just a one-one game, or 2-2 if doubles.

Gymnastics was good when he was younger, but his upper body strength never really improved enough as he got older.

Keep persevering - it's heartbreaking when the other kids are so horrible.

#25 Backtoschoolchef

Posted 06 February 2020 - 11:32 AM

I think there are different sorts of muscle issues as well.  DD1 is bizarrely well co-ordinated so does well at team sports but she gets really exhausted afterwards. Shes played center at netball, had a great game and then come home and passed out on the couch because she was too tired to walk to her bedroom. Whereas DD2 is more your typical unco-ordinated kid but has a bit more stamina in the day to day stuff.




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