My daughter’s genetic make-up is unusual in many ways and I suspect her DNA also includes a unique elastic gene. The girl lives to flip, jump, roll, climb — basically anything that results in her body leaving the ground for any length of time.
Avery was first introduced to gymnastics by her cousin — it was love at first back bend and we knew we had to sign our little monkey up for a local program.
By “happy-stance” I met Canadian Olympic Gymnast Jessica Tudos on Twitter and she recommended a gym for us. She said it would be a perfect fit. She was right. Though Avery has developmental and physical challenges, Schlegel’s Gymnastics Centre is fully inclusive. Avery is just another active kid in a leotard climbing a rope. Can I just say how thrilled this makes me??
Guest post by Lisa Thornbury
Lisa is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. She is the author of Forever in Mom Genes, a blog about raising a child with special needs, and is a contributor to Yummy Mummy Club.
Several years ago Avery attended a play gym and because of her special needs she was placed in a program with kids half her age. There was poor Avery out on the mat with toddlers. This didn’t do anything to develop her physical or social skills. We quickly pulled her out.
Schlegel’s focuses on each child’s individual strengths and needs. It’s non-competitive and based on the three Fs:
In 1998, sisters Elfi and Andrea opened Schlegel’s Gymnastics Centre in Oakville, Ontario. Elfi, pictured above with Avery, was a member of the Canadian National Team from 1976 to 1985, won two gold medals at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and won Canada’s only World Cup gymnastics medal in 1980. Andrea specialized in Rhythmic Gymnastics, representing Canada on the international stage.
Avery has a 90-minute class once a week. It’s the highlight of her week; of her young life really. Hearing her shout, “I did it!” across the gym when she’s mastered a new skill is the best.
I grew up doing cartwheels on the lawn and handstands against the wall. I miss my bendy days and wish I’d kept it up. Elfi mentioned a night class for adults interested in getting back to back bends. I must say, I’m intrigued. Though in my aged and atrophied state I fear the cartwheel. A few years ago when I was still teaching, I took a dare from a seven year old student. She challenged me to do a cartwheel. Not one to turn down a challenge, I put down my yogurt and yard duty whistle and did a round off. I wonder if the kids could actually hear the ripping sound that emanated from my inner thighs? Maybe I’ll just stick to the log roll because I’m clearly missing the “elastic gene.”