I received a letter home from school this week that made me do a ‘double-take’ as it said that Joshua had been selected to take part in a Dis-sports athletics competition for the school!! A son of mine has been selected for a sporting competition when he would be representing his school? It made me giggle and it made me proud at the same time: I am not at all sporty nor competitive in the least, I used to dread sports day and was never picked to be part of any school sports team. I was once asked to stand in for someone in the school’s second hockey team, which was my proudest sporting achievement, but needless to say, they did not ask me twice and I do not even recall if my team won! My husband on the other hand was good at school athletics and it is always one of his regrets for Joshua, that his disability has robbed him of sporting success that might well have been his, given his slim, long legged physique but that would depend if he had his father or mother’s motivation.
But Joshua has been entered for two races/contests : 25 metre walking and throwing a ball. Now I know that he is never going to be a Sebastian Coe or Linford Christie, but his ball throwing is accurate, deliberate and consistent, so I have higher hopes for his success in that event. So I ticked the box, yes of course I consented to him going in ten days time and I will report back on his success, or otherwise. We will do some training at home before then so that he gets ‘his eye in’. I joked in his home/school diary that he may need poking if his races coincide with his sleepy time and I got a message back that he could be bribed to walk faster by dangling some crisps in front of him, for him to chase. That might well be successful, although probably not in the spirit of a sporting event!
Since Joshua’s brain surgery in 2014, he is much less mobile and consequently much less active. Prior to that he would bounce for hours on his trampoline in front of a rock concert on the TV and this always seemed to be great exercise both for his stamina and as it involved both feet and legs. He coud not bear any weight or walk when he came back from Great Ormond Street and gradually his mobility has improved, but not to the same level that it was. Around this time last year, he had two weeks of rehabilitation in hospital, when he underwent intensive physiotherapy and occupational therapy as an in-patient. One of my goals then was to re-introduce his trampolining at home and the therapists and doctor assessed him. They concluded that due to his deformed foot position and his posture, that he would no longer feel safe on a trampoline and that is borne out by the fact that, whenever I have encouraged him back onto it, he does not bounce; he simply stands there and indicates that he wants assistance to get off again immediately.
So that is disappointing as along with swimming and Riding for the Disabled in the spring and summer – it starts again on Monday – it was about the only physical exercise Joshua gets. As a young boy, pre-epilepsy, he would walk miles with the dogs, attempting walks that now would be inconceivable. So now I need to think what other forms of exercise we can introduce into his life, that will be good for him and that he will enjoy.