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Help with special needs instructor/ program

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure if this belongs here or in the beginner forum, but I'll try here first.

 

I have a 15 year old daughter that, while not disabled, she has severe muscular incoordination, very poor reflexes, and overall, is fearful of anything really physical.  For example, she has never ridden a bicycle before.  She has a tough time catching a ball.  

 

So, you may ask, why even try skiing?  I think, with patience and guidance, she could ski at a very beginner level and it might give her a sense of accomplishment.  The rest of the family enjoys skiing, but none of us are good enough (or patient enough) to be a good teacher.

 

Is there a resort in the western US that has a program that will work with kids/ adults like this?  Or, would it be better to hire a private instructor for the time she is skiing?

 

Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks.

post #2 of 14

Vail has some very good adaptive instructors.  I think you are correct that skiing can bring a sense of accomplishment, especially for those that may struggle with other sports.  

 

Its a different case than your daughters, but one ski friend of mine walks with a severe limp, but skis better than 95% of the people on the mountain.  I am always impressed when I see 1 legged skiers, or those with other disabilities who ski at a very high level.

 

Welcome to Epic and best of luck!

post #3 of 14
Quote:
 severe muscular incoordination, very poor reflexes, and overall, is fearful of anything really physical.

I've volunteered with some special needs projects, not skiing, and I'm not sure of your plan.  Of course, you know her and we don't.  I'm thinking that winter forest walks and maybe tubing might be something she could enjoy.  What will she feel the first time she goes splat on hard snow?  Will she ever get up and try again?

post #4 of 14
Absolutely. I have friends here who do "Dream" every week. I think it's even multiple days. Where are you?
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrierdoc View Post
 

I'm not sure if this belongs here or in the beginner forum, but I'll try here first.

 

I have a 15 year old daughter that, while not disabled, she has severe muscular incoordination, very poor reflexes, and overall, is fearful of anything really physical.  For example, she has never ridden a bicycle before.  She has a tough time catching a ball.  

 

So, you may ask, why even try skiing?  I think, with patience and guidance, she could ski at a very beginner level and it might give her a sense of accomplishment.  The rest of the family enjoys skiing, but none of us are good enough (or patient enough) to be a good teacher.

 

Is there a resort in the western US that has a program that will work with kids/ adults like this?  Or, would it be better to hire a private instructor for the time she is skiing?

 

Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks.


Try searching on "adaptive skiing STATE" where STATE is the name of the state you are most interested in exploring.  There are many ski resorts with adaptive programs, not just big resorts.  In the southeast, several of the small ski areas have very active adaptive programs.

 

Paging @T-Square for comments.

post #6 of 14
Breckenridge has the BOEC. Aspen has Challenge Aspen. Winter Park has an adaptive program, although I do not know the name.

I know that the BOEC and Challenge Aspen are fantastic.
post #7 of 14

I would start by picking a somewhat local mountain/hill, and giving their adaptive skiing program a call.  Explain your situation.  They deal with a such a wide range of individuals (deaf, blind, amputee, autistic, CP, etc., etc.), and would most likely be able to help develop a plan for your daughter.  They will also know what tools they have at their disposal for someone with coordination/instability issues, those are things that are associated with a variety of conditions their athletes may have.  I'm only familiar with the program at our hill, but they'll be out on the hill with a one-on-one guide/assistant who knows the equipment, unless at some point they choose not to (depends on the specific situation).

 

Also, you may ask them about assistance programs.  Skiing is expensive, and taking advantage of such a program to get into the adaptive skiing school is not something to feel awkward about, its just a smart move.  Think of it similar to the various "learn to ski" programs, because that's what you're doing.  I know around here (NY), their are such programs, however I'm not sure if there needs to be an associated diagnosis to get on one.

 

Good luck, I hope it works out for you.  For quite a few adaptive athlete's, skiing really is a chance for them to break out of their shell for a few hours.

post #8 of 14
Joe Wilson @ Keystone is worth calling. He may be able to help you figure out if your plan is within her capabilities. If you like I can pass your on your contact information or give you his.
post #9 of 14

harrierdoc,

 

Welcome aboard.  You daughter sounds like she would be a blast to play with and happen to teach some skiing to along the way.  (If you ain't playing, you ain't teaching!)

 

Here's where you can start.   http://www.disabledsportsusa.org/chapters/

 

DS/USA (Disabled Sports USA) is the overall champion of adaptive sports in the US.  That means any type of sport, winter, spring, summer, fall.  They support a large number of programs throughout the US and they support and sponsor the US Paralymic Team.  Check out the various chapters where you are located or plan on skiing or for any other sport your daughter might be interested in.  I be very surprised if they don't fall over backwards trying to give you a hand.

 

If you'd like drop me a PM and we can discuss things further.

 

Have fun.

 

Terry

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Wow, what a treasure trove of info.

 

We live in Texas, and don't ski regularly, in part, because of our concern for her difficulties. 

 

We'd want to go somewhere in CO or UT, so I'll look over the info posted on here and go from there.  I'll check back here regularly to see if there are updates and will let you know how we end up doing.

 

Thanks for all the input given and for any more info that may be posted subsequent to this post.

post #11 of 14

Good luck, and definitely do the follow up, I'm sure the people on this thread would love to know.

post #12 of 14

A lot of very good an earnest advice here. One thing I might suggest is taking a step back to view the larger picture. Enrolling an impressionable 15 year old girl who is not disabled into disability services could possibly result negatively on a variety of levels. It could be considered a possible equivalent to enrolling a non-disabled student with poor academic skills into a special needs class.

 

Especially due to your accounts of her having never learned to ride a bike or catch an easy ball, both coming with well-known factors of intimidation, I wouldn't be surprised if the issue were more centered around anxiety and intimidation, something far easier to address than a disability yet, possibly as frustrating. With all due respect to the challenges of fatherhood, the extremity in the language used to describe her "inabilities"  could suggest a that certain amount of frustration may be present that can feed into the child's anxiety and intimidation.

 

I think that upon a cursory examination, you will find plenty of highly experienced and professional level 3 instructors that pride themselves of there ability to lure the anxious and timid into the the world of busy, crowded and fast moving excitement that skiing has to offer. I might recommend simply asking for a day-long private lesson with a fully certified female instructor known for patience and is likely going to have the experience you would be seeking under these circumstances.

 

If that doesn't work out well and you wish to continue in the disability services direction, adaptive skiing instructors are often also regular instructors that can deliver more specialization without the disability tag.

post #13 of 14

harrierdoc, you're describing my wife, who has severe proprioception loss, was told not to take up skiing by doctors, did it anyway in her 30's, and has become a very good skier.  Has your daughter been professionally evaluated, so you know whether this might be the issue for her?  As my wife has already traveled this road, I'd be happy to put you in contact with her.  She could provide valuable information on what the challenges in this endeavor will be, and how to overcome them.  PM me for contact info.  

post #14 of 14
Our son has difficulties (because of brain damage prior to birth, cause unknown). Originally, walking maybe, talking maybe, running no. Now he skis, swims (working towards the national Para team) and is working towards a college education.

The approach we took from day one was simple. The disability must learn to live with him.

This means there are no limitations of what can be done. Nothing! It only means it might take longer. But the truth is they get to enjoy the experience for a longer period.

As to which is best, inclusion is best (finding an instructor that can do so in a normal group is the key) as she will thrive in this setting.

His swim coach expressed it best, he is normal because even the "normal" kids have issues which make them abnormal so they all normal! Strange, confusing but true and telling as all have faults just the levels vary.

PM me if you have questions. Cheers, best wishes and most importantly go for it.
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