Erik's Reflection

By GoodLife Kids on 30/11/2016

As the weather turns cold, we’re here to warm your heart! This story is brought to you by one of over 70 passionate GoodLife4Kids Coaches who bring fitness, dance, and yoga to grade 4 classes at partner schools across Canada with the GoodLife4Kids School Program.

I have a student at my partner school, Erik, who has Autism. He's high-functioning but has a number of issues all the same, including following direction for use in gross motor skills. 

Recently, I told my partner teacher that the exercise of the week was going to be lunges. She thought maybe I could just have Erik hop or something. "Both legs working in opposition? There's no way…" But we agreed that he's integrated in the classroom for a reason and to just leave it out there for him to see and that maybe one day he would pick it up.


He rocked the lunges at first go. 

The look on my partner teacher's face… She stood shocked, "How is this happening? Did I miss you saying something to him?"

"Nope. I instructed the class, told them we need to know this new exercise to play Robot Tag and started them on practising it."

Erik’s EA showered him with praises and that made the boy work even harder. Erik was fully immersed in our tag game where he played it perfectly -  followed rules and behaved just like his classmates who really, really enjoyed having him participate as fully as he did.

It got pretty sweaty in class that day. Erik made the comment in dismissal line, "The classroom is going to smell like a monkey house!" That got his classmates - and us adults - howling. 

On my next visit to the school, the EA took me before I met with the children. He said, "I've been working with Erik for a while. I don't know if it's just perfect alchemy or if fitness was the key, but something's been unlocked in him. Something joyful." 

After the "monkey house" class, Erik told his EA that his face felt itchy. "That's sweat, Erik. Why don't you splash some water on you and see if that makes you feel better?" When he saw his reflection in the mirror, Erik noticed that his cheeks were rosy. He told his EA, "I look like all the kids in the class. I have red faces like them. I'm the same!"

We can't wait to see what else is coming Erik's way this school year. 



Funds raised at Spin4Kids support the GoodLife4Kids School Program at over 100 locations across the country, helping more kids like Erik fall in love with fitness.

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GoodLife Kids
GoodLife Kids Foundation shares resources and links to help you provide a healthier and more physically active lifestyle for the children in your life.

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The Confidence to Try #FEELGOODFRIDAY Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team. Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa. When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!” As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”

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