The gym program takes place in an inclusive gymnastics setting; this allows us to both use different apparatuses to improve both gross and fine motor control, and to foster social interactions to improve social skills. Our program uses equipment such as balance beams, trampolines, trapezes and bars to teach motor skills.
The child is first assessed on their current motor skills and placed in a stage in our curriculum which matches their current motor skill level. As the child progresses through the stages, the motor skills become more complex and require a great deal of focus, coordination, balance and strength.
Types of Sessions
ESMT sessions are generally one-to-one, ranging from 30 to 60 minutes in duration and may be up to three times each week, depending on the needs of each participant. Each child is assigned one therapist who works with them at the same time every week from September to June. The one-to-one nature of the session focuses on building a trusting relationship between the child, their therapist and the busy inclusive environment. Once the child has adjusted to the busy gym environment and has developed attachment to their therapist, other kids who attend at the same time are introduced to them to augment social development. This process starts with a recognition and brief interactions perhaps on the trampoline or at the end of a session when they are putting on their shoes. It can develop into a shared session where the children follow a similar activity plan and learn to take turns with each other.
Many of our children have gained enough independence during their ESMT sessions and show social readiness to begin the process of integrating into a typical recreational gymnastics class at Club Aviva. This is a delicate process and occurs over time. The child may start by joining a class or same age and skill level for 2-3 minutes. The length of time is gradually increased until the child shows a desire to spend the entire session with this class. The therapist focuses on teaching the child appropriate social interactions and the development of social skills such as waiting for their turn, cooperative play and appropriate communication skills.
ESMT strongly values inclusivity and we always strive to prepare our children to be successful and contributing participants in their communities.