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Conquering The Monkey Bars

Posted Mar 01 2012 12:00am
When Kayla was going through Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) it seemed gross motor skills were going to be her strong points. She sat unassisted at 6 months, crawled around 7 months, pulled to standing right before 9 months, went from sitting to standing w/out holding on to anything at 11 months, started taking 'lunging steps' around 13-14 months, started walking at 15 months.

Then 5 months before her 3rd birthday she had the big evaluation to move from ECI and go on to a DD preschool.

This evaluation seemed full of all the gross-motor things she wasn't doing. Things I didn't really think of in terms of gross-motor skills. I just thought of all the 'big' milestones she had met up until that point.

She couldn't stand on one foot with hands on hips for three seconds, stand on a line with one foot in front of the other for two seconds, with toe of back foot within three inches of front foot, throw a ball overhand so that it travels seven feet forward in the air, jump with both feet together, walk down steps without support from wall or rail, alternate feet while on steps, kick a ball to travel six feet forward, catch a ball.

She can walk up and down stairs w/alternating feet, but more often than not I catch her not doing so when she's walking down the stairs. It took her a few years before she could balance on one foot. She's not a pro at catching a ball, but she can do it. She still refuses to ride a bike .

Her balance, stability, reaction time, and coordination are all behind. So it takes her longer to accomplish skills. But she keeps at it. Remember when a classmate finally got through to Kayla how to pump her legs so she could swing by herself ?

She's now accomplished another playground favorite - the monkey bars!

A few months ago when I asked her what she did at recess she told me the monkey bars. Skeptical I said, "All by yourself?" She said no, that Mrs H. and/or Kegan helped her by holding her legs. Then one day when I asked if she did it by herself her answer was a very enthusiastic "YES!"
Me, "Mrs H. didn't help you?!
"NO!"
"Kegan didn't help you?!"
"NO!"
"You went across all.by.yourself?!"
"YES!" (much giggling)
"Your feet didn't touch the ground?!"
"NO!"

But I hadn't yet had the opportunity to witness this myself. Up until that point anytime we were at a playground with monkey bars she always wanted help. If I tried to step back and explain to just reach her hand across to grab the next one she would say, "I can't" or "I need help." If I did hold her waist she would wrap her legs around me so she wasn't really getting the idea of how to do it.

I don't know how her classmates at school taught her, but they did!

We were at the playground yesterday and initially she fell back to her old, "I can't" and "I need help."

The only thing I told her was, "You said you went all the way across the monkey bars at school, so you can do this!" And I stepped back and she did it. She went across. By herself. I was so, so proud to finally see her do this on her own. She kept doing it over and over and over ... so proud of herself as well.







Now if only they had bikes at school so those classmates could get her riding!

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