Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Day

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We took Noah out in the backyard for the first time to try out his special needs Cerebra Sled.  Noah has never loved the snow, the cold weather, or the glare of bright white surroundings, but as soon as we strapped him in his 5 point harness sled, his face lit up with a big smile and the laughter followed.   This sled was a huge hit with Noah.  His dad just did circles in the yard.   Noah was all bundled up like a giant ball of fabric, having the best time ever.

This sled is amazing!  It glides perfectly through the snow.  It was easy to load Noah into it and buckle him in - even with gloves on.  It has a good center of gravity and didn't tip to either side.   People might think that fundraising for a special needs sled is a waste of time and energy, but to see him be able to participate in a simple winter activity that typical children do, means so much - to him and to us as his parents.  We want Noah to be able to participate in everyday activities the best that he can.  To enjoy life, to find laughter and pleasure in all aspects of play. 

We had hoped to build a snowman, but our temperatures have been too low for long-term exposure outside, so we had our ten minutes of fun and came in.   The perfect snowman still awaits and since we can't seem to catch a break from the snow I'm sure we'll have plenty of more opportunities later on. 

Noah's county services inquired about some of our out of pocket costs last year - when I told them about the purchase of Noah's sled I got a big laugh on the other end of the line, followed by "what for?"   I rarely am able to think of quick comeback for people's off the wall assumptions when it comes to children with special needs and the perception that they can't possibility join their peers in regular activities.  

But after the fact I would have told this caseworker, about all the health benefits that winter play can offer a child:  Things like being outdoors even in winter months, helps reset circadian rhythms (circadian rhythms refer to your unique body rhythms of waking and sleeping in sync with the rising and the setting of the sun, and how the benefits of natural light and fresh air serve to not only improve physical health, but also emotional health.   And bonus it helps Noah with proprioceptive and vestibular sensory input, while also increasing attention , focus, postural stability and gross motor coordination. 

I know that's a lot of therapeutic terms... in short it just means it helps Noah find his center of gravity and improves things like balance, trunk and head control.  And provides Noah the ability to self-calm his spastic tone to aide in more intentional type movements.   So it's not only recreational family play, but yes, built in therapy. 

They of course would disagree and reminded me such items are not worth pursuing or funding.  I'm convinced it's going to take a long time for society as a whole to get up to speed on what truly matters in the day and a life of a child with special needs and the potential of what is possible if they have access to things that make them capable of participation!

Until then, I'll just blog about all of the gains Noah is making as a result of a lot of love and help from others and a parent's mission to find all ways of helping him.

People are kind of like snowflakes. There is no one like us; we all have different skills or designs that make us who we are. P. Eveland

Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.