Just because my son has Aspergers Syndrome and special educational needs, it doesn’t mean he can’t do all the things your child can do! OK, a handful of those “Things” are that bit more difficult, but he gets there all the same!
Sometimes, I often find myself saying the above to Little man, a child who has lost confidence, through no fault of his own! This is a child who needs that push, a gentle reminder that everything is worth a try.
It’s not just the fact that Little man missed out on many trips and activities while attending mainstream school (though this has had a considerable impact) it’s also little man’s social and physical abilities that also play a part.
So, when I won tickets for a family trip to the Stratford City, Westfields outdoor ice rink, I knew Little man would struggle if but a little.
The great thing was that I actually bagged two lots of family tickets…well, 3 lots actually, all on different blogs that I read! I was delighted to discover I had won the first lot, then I was informed by yet another blogger, id won her competition too. This set I gave up for another lovely blogger and her family who had also entered, but then to discover from yet another blogger that I won a third time was absolutely great if not a little strange. With this revaluation, I decided to invite the neighbours along too.
Both my older children, Little man and his sister Alice-Sara, are gone friends with the children next door (in all honesty one of the children is Little man’s one and only true friend) so, I hoped that this would make the whole experience of getting out on the ice, a little less daunting for the Little guy, and it did… eventually!
Don’t get me wrong, there was no meltdowns, not one in fact (I know… shocking) it was more little man’s OT needs that posed a challenge! My son is what some would describe as a little clumsy, which is basically down to his gross motor skills! Yes, he can ride a bike, amazingly well in fact, but he often has a little trouble with his spatial awareness (knowing where his body is in space) his balance, can sometimes be a little off at times too. This impacted with the crowded ice rink would undoubtably pose a challenge, this I already knew.
Above: All friends together on the Ice
The staff at Westfields couldn’t have been more helpful, I didn’t notify them that a child with Special needs would be joining us (a group of 8 consisting of 2 adults and six children) but all the same I felt the staff went out of their way to help. There was one point when the little man started freaking out that his skates were not tight enough (he has this thing where shoes need doing up dead tightly, he states it’s so his feet have control of his shoes and not the other way around) Yes, it’s another OT thing)! The staff on the ice were amazing, rushing out to check he was OK and bending down on all fours to tighten his skates.
When we first stepped on to the ice, I noted how my daughter and her friends went whizzing of into the middle of the rink, as grateful as I am to have such a confident young daughter, I did feel some sadness for my Little man as he clung to the edge as if his whole life depended on it. He looked at me with fear in his eyes as he stated he just couldn’t do it! I continuously reassured him and bit by bit he came slowly away from the edge.
I found my biggest confidence booster for the little guy was, once the rink filled with more and more people I happily pointed out that he wasn’t the only one clung to the edge of the rink (Seriously, it was mostly the full-grown men, hanging on for dear life). Little man, is like lots of children of his age, where he feel incredibly stupid if he struggles to do something that others are finding a breeze, therefore seeing all those grown ups looking like they were hanging from a cliff, seemed to stop him from giving up and making his way back in to redeem his comfortable trainers. (Yes, he tried suggest it once or twice.)
We were on the ice around 45 minutes and despite his fear, he made it to the middle of the rink! To watch him skating with his friends and smiling having fun, has been the highlight to my year so far… all ten days of it!
Standing proudly with his friend at the centre of the rink
So… what about me, did I fall on my arse? Nope! Though I almost did once or twice, I just about managed to stay on my feet.
I was convinced the skating finished at 6pm, though I was wrong, the last session actually started at 6 pm, meaning the skating didn’t end till 7 pm. With this I gave in defeat and left the Little man and Alice Sara with their friends and their mother (my lovely neighbour) while I headed off to collect my comfortable flat shoes and off it for a sneaky fag 🙂
Little man was having a blast and now didn’t want to leave. I decided to sit out and just watch for the last hour (my excuse was that I was now a photographer, or at least trying to be)! Though I really shouldn’t admit this, sitting on the sidelines gave me a good opportunity to view some classic skating fails! Wow… Seriously, though I see a couple of women hit the deck, and of course a good number of children (my own included) I have never seen so many men fall over in one place in my whole entire life.And Oops a daisy
How can you not laugh, there were some classics. Plenty of men, one or two rather dishy I must add, skating around on their butts rather than their skates! Did I feel guilty for laughing so much that my sides were sores? No… not really, they all seemed to see the funny of things, eventually!
All in all… we had a brilliant time which was all down to them fabulous blogs that ran the competitions, (thank you Essex mum , Madhouse reviews & Emma and three) as well as those who took care of our needs at the skating rink.Alice & FriendOne of the Little man’s friends from next door
Essex mummy (one of the bloggers I won tickets from) has asked me if I fancy doing a guest post reviewing our experience, we had such a fabulous time it would be rude to decline (so, do keep an eye out for that).
For those interested, the rink is now closed but will return again next year for the festive season. We went on the last day before it packed up for the year and considering I thought that I had Christmas well and truly out my system, the festive christmas tunes and chilly ice made it feel like Christmas Eve again. I think January is a brilliant time to go, and I would highly recommend the Stratford City Westfields Outdoor Ice rink.
Oh… and Little man? He now wants roller-blades!
- UK Britain’s best outdoor ice rinks (leggotunglei808.wordpress.com)
- Samsung challenges mobile trade to a skate-off (mobile-ent.biz)
- Penguins get to try out London ice rink — cutely (newslite.tv)
- Somerset House Ice Rink (brewstersloft.wordpress.com)
- Sunday Supplement: Christmas Double (normsonline.wordpress.com)