Monday, May 9, 2011

Ice Show

My son skated in an ice show this weekend.

His group of kids with special needs has been working on their routine on Saturday mornings for the past two months. Kai hated the practices. For one thing, they were long. Some went for as long as an hour, which was long for the kids with attention issues considering that the routine doesn’t last much more than two minutes. And the practices weren’t as fun as when he was skating at his class. Most of the time, during the practices, the skaters were not actually skating. They were supposed to be listening to the coach as she taught them the movements.

My son, who did not do well listening to a teacher in a regular classroom setting, struggled with listening to the coach for long stretches when all he wanted to do was skate. Still, he usually was able to at least somewhat maintain his attention for about 20 minutes. After that, though, it was too much for him and he couldn’t stay focused on the task.

I wasn’t sure how he would do in the actual show. Would he even be willing to skate? Would it be overwhelming for him with the music blaring, the spotlights on, and the crowd of people watching?

His first performance was Friday night. When we got to the rink, it was something to see all of the kids in their beautiful costumes. You could tell that many of these young skaters were very devoted. Would Kai fit in with all of these serious skaters?

Waiting to go on was difficult. “Is it our turn?” he asked. I patiently explained that his group would skate after the group of young boys in the red baseball uniforms. If he didn’t see the boys in red, then he would know that they would have to wait some more. Just as I was thinking how well I had answered his question, he repeated it. And then again. And again. Literally every 5 seconds it was “Is it our turn?”


But then it was their turn. His teen skating buddy greeted him, took his hand, and they were off. A few minutes later, they were back. He was smiling. She said that he did really well.

The next afternoon, he skated again. This time we had tickets to sit in the stands to watch the entire performance. Kai enjoyed watching the skaters before him. Then it was time to get ready for his number. It was fun to see him perform. Unlike during the practices, he seemed to really enjoy the routine. With his group dressed in Cubs’ blue and the baseball music playing, they skated in a big circle, then waved their arms together. Kai’s favorite part was grabbing a simulated bat and smacking the woman dressed up as a baseball. We could see his smile even from where we were sitting in the stands. He did a great job.

We returned for one final performance the next day. He again enjoyed it.

The teen girls who had skated with him all these months were happy for him. I wished that he could answer their questions better and return their compliments. Instead, I spoke for him, thanking them for teaching him to skate and being there for him.

As we were leaving the rink, I thought back. Seven months ago, when we first came to the rink, Kai could barely stand up with his skates on. Now he had skated in an ice show and enjoyed it.

One of the girls told him that maybe next year he can learn to twirl.

I can’t wait.


  1. Amazing! I've always wanted to get skating lessons for Audrey. I would never think that I'd live to see the day that she'd be in an ice show, but now you are inspiring me! I may have to travel Northbrook next time and catch your little Brian Boitano :)

  2. Lynn, before he started, I did not think that Kai would be able to learn to skate. We are lucky that our area has a good, inexpensive skating instruction program for kids with special needs. The volunteer girls were fabulous. I'm sure Audrey would enjoy if she had the opportunity.

  3. Good for him. He has an outgoing personality...that is good. He is looking to engage with the world. That is very important.


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