Yesterday he walked away with the silver but it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t as joyous as the pictures depicted LOL – First off, Tyler has refused to participate in special Olympic events – sensory issues – SO is a WONDERFUL organization but for many SENSORY ISSUE people it’s not SENSORY ISSUE friendly, making it not Tyler friendly – lol. (SO is very cool, they have a HUGE opening ceremonies – like the Olympics, Parade of Athletes, Anthem, Oaths, lots of loud cheering BUT at the bowling, they have the National Anthem and the SO Oath and that’s it – thank you God!) The bowling alley is loud BUT I’ve taken him at various times INCLUDING to the alley where the competition was held to so he was no completed unprepared – even though we do most of our practices early morning – not as crowded) Next, unlike his sister and more like his mother, Tyler is NOT a highly competitive person, he enjoys playing and participating, but is just as excited for someone else to win as he himself. Well in order to keep his place in the S.P.O.R.T.S. program he has to compete in at least 1 Special Olympics event. So talking with the coaches, after seeing we weren’t able to get him to go to Bocce Ball (which he loves – i.e. lawn bowling) we decided to see if we could get Tyler to bowl, since I’ve taken him periodically and he’s gone with the S.P.O.R.T.S. group in the summer. I can’t let Tyler lose S.P.O.R.T.S. S.P.O.R.T.S. is Tyler’s safe haven, his go-to happy place and since transitioning into the adult group this year, his love for the program has expanded immensely. He may not go and participate at the events, but he participates in the practices and activities each week. (though the bell choir participation was a 1 time thing – he won’t be doing that –he used his words and said “it hurts my ears”) – the adults have taken him (and all the jr high and highschool students) under their wings and many of the female adults become mother hens to the younger kids (I love the unconditional love.) Well LPSO does not have golf and Baytown is too far. Tyler is loving his private golf lessons and I want to keep that love of the sport in place and not force competition on it. I also tried swimming for Tyler at PSO and that did not turn out well. Tyler swims for pleasure definitely not for competition. (Just because you enjoy something and are good at it doesn’t mean it needs to be put into competitive form IMO)
So, since LPSO is adult bowling and Tyler is in school when they go to practice, we started spending our Saturday mornings, 900a sharp at the bowling alley (which we will continue to do as he does enjoy this). I had to get score sheets to turn into the coach so he could show SO that Tyler was practicing and that they had scores on where to place him in competition. The for about the last 2 weeks I’ve started prepping him that we have to go to a SO tourney – this has not been pleasant and I had to tell him, if you don’t bowl in this competition then there is no more SPORTS, no Mr. Jeff or Ms Shanae or Ms Jan, no more – he would be very puzzled – lots of information to process, which is why I’ve been working on this “reasons you have to compete” for about 2 weeks (Delayed Processing is a big issue for Tyler)– he was very resistant to participating, even having a small meltdown at the bowling alley prior to his bowling time. (the meltdown was SMALLER because I had used YLEO in the morning, anda again at the house before we left to go to the tourney as well) it was loud and he didn’t want to do SO – kept saying no SO. I got him in a chair and we did squeezing calming exercises, breathing exercises and MORE YLEO – then we get to the competition area. They do league style competition and the coaches can’t help and neither can the parents. The bowlers were awesome though and encouraged Tyler to sit with them (which he did). It didn’t take Tyler long to pick up on the league bowling style – (you have to watch the arrows to see what lane you are bowling in during your turn) he followed the guy before him and would bowl and sit back with the bowlers and wait his turn. First game – no problem. Second game started getting a little ancey – His group and the lane next to them each had 5 bowlers and sometimes it’s a slower process. He took a bathroom break and returned to the bowling –he did GREAT (I did take him to practice yesterday morning and KNOWING I would not be able to sit and help him along, I used my hurt leg (yes I pulled a muscle lol) excuse and sat at the table and had him work through each bowl w/o me helping him along during our morning practice (so this was not 100% foreign to him yesterday afternoon). Once the games were over and they were tallying the numbers, he was READY TO GO – I told him we have to wait for a Ribbon (I had not idea he was gonna medal but even if I did, I would not have wanted to tell him that). I had to get him to wait, he kept saying “go home and get some rest” – I don’t know what I was more proud of the way he bowled or the fact that he USED HIS WORDS and wanted to go home. He was on the verge of tears prior to the games starting and after the games, but he held them back (and I was waiting for a full blown meltdown when we got home, but he did not) We stopped and got food on the way (he did not want to go inside he wanted his food at home), he didn’t want to look at Christmas lights, he wanted to go home. So I turned down the radio and just had a quite ride home to help him unwind – when he got home, he got in his house clothes, made his plate of food, got his Kindle and just did his thing until about 930-945 at which time he was ready to lay down. He was proud of his medal and he did what he had to do, but Nov, Dec and Jan are some rough “out whack” months for Tyler but he was VERY READY to go home and “rest” as he puts it! BIG BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT in recognizing what “he needed” to help decompress. Great words in wanting compression hugs, breathing exercises, and oils for calming(I asked him if wanting his calming oils and he said yes – HUGE – when I put the oils on him each day, I remind him that these are to help stay calm, vitamins are to help grow and night time – medicine is for brain and the melatonin is for sleep – I try to generalize and tell him these things so he can try to relate how his body feels and what each of the things do for his body) Expression of how he feels and other things are so difficult for him (and remember Tyler MIGHT be able to answer you appropriately, but it’s not always a correct answer, you have to get to know him to know if it’s truly correct or appropriate). Praise God for learning calming techniques, Praise God for Young Living Essential Oils, Praise God for teaching me acceptance and knowing how far to push the envelope (some days I really mess up in this area) with Tyler. These are baby steps, the words are a big improvement but can’t be guaranteed every time. The meltdowns can still be huge but I will take the small ones anytime I can get them and I will help him decompress as needed!