Dance and anxiety

Yesterday, Mickey took his very first tap class at the studio.  As I have mentioned previously, Mickey has taken an acro class (he wasn’t good and he knew it, but it was his first class and he learned how to do a performance, participate in a class and enjoy dance), ballet and hip hop.  He hated hip hop and asked not to take it again.  The two types of dancing Mickey was the most interested in was were Irish dancing and tap.  So, we decided to sign up for a week of tap dancing camp.  It started yesterday and suffice it to say, Mickey has found his dance style.  He LOVES it. He is taking a jazz class too, but that one he is still on the fence about taking for fall classes.

Half way through the first class he came out and said “this is me.  Go ahead and get them to pull out the shoes, I want to get fitted right away”.  The grin on his face was a mile wide and we fit he new tap shoes at the end of class. Minnie also tried the class, but her opinion on tap hasn’t varied since she was 5 and asked to drop tap.  Today, she didn’t bother and Mickey had the instructor all to himself and they worked on a routine for the end of the week.  He was sore, tired and ridiculously happy when the class was over.

The anxiety referenced in the title is mine.  I don’t talk about it much, but I have a diagnosed social anxiety disorder.  I have meds and I also use essential oils to help me manage my symptoms, but I also use avoidance whenever I can get away with it – and that is anytime that I can avoid without impacting my job or my children.  I don’t do parties or chat at the grocery store, it took a very long time for me to warm up to the other mothers at the dance studio or the soccer fields, etc.  These are areas I struggle with.  I am also a member of a large online support group for special needs parents.  As a general rule, I never initiate conversations though I will respond if someone asks a question that we have experience with.  I don’t attend the social gatherings, though I have met with a couple of people that Mickey has had playdates with and one that helped me with some IEP issues we were having.


So, imagine my surprise when I found myself talking to the owner of the dance studio today and asking about a special needs class.  Then I found myself typing a long note and volunteering to organize a discussion with the school to host a special needs class for kids at the dance studio.  I am not sure how it happened, but I see a ton of requests for special needs activities and a definite need for the activities.  Mickey has been able to fit fairly well (with the right supports and instructors) in a neuro-typical class, but there are many kids who can’t, or whose parent’s don’t think they can.  I was that parent and Mickey was that kid for a while.  Luckily we have found a couple of supportive people at this dance studio that encouraged me and him and got him started.  And it has made a huge difference in him – in his anxiety, in his confidence, in his spacial awareness and coordination, and in his awareness of his abilities – for the good and the bad.  I want other parents to be able to help their kids find that.

And I guess that means I have to step outside my comfort zone….wish me luck.

I hope all of you dads out there had an amazing Father’s Day.  We spent the day with my dad – the man who fixes things – house stuff, bikes, toys, hearts and everything in between.  He is a cheerleader, mine and my brother’s biggest supporters and now he takes that on at every soccer game, ballet recital, cheerleading competition and art show that his grandchildren participate in.  The man that slept beside my crib for a week when I sneezed because I might need him.  I am a Daddy’s girl and I am ok with that because I have an amazing Dad.




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