To Youth with an NVLD- Growing up facing fine and gross motor skill deficits did bring some confusion as it seemed I was the only one who had these difficulties. Early on it caused me to be so sad when my mom said we needed to leave for OT or when my APE teacher would say things like “Eileen you’re with me today so we can do a music and movement activity that involves jumping, doing jumping jacks and skipping.”
‘ In both situations, I just wanted to be with my friends. Fortunately, my OT and APE teacher made my time with them fun so the sadness ended once we started. In addition later on It hurt that for 6-12th grade my gym activities were modified and I had to work extra hard running just to finish the race. However, today I am thankful for all of the adults’ incredible support and I truly believe with time you will eventually feel the same way.
To RF- Right away you noticed it was so hard for me to do things like jumping, running in a straight line, and catching and kicking a ball so you made these areas a real focus of my APE goals. You also knew I was involved in youth sports so getting these skills to a more acceptable level was necessary. It wasn’t always easy. Your incredible work with me in the beginning years truly enriched my life as athletics gave me a strong support system. It wasn’t until after I listened to my Cross-Country coach’s speech at my senior meet that I realized how much impact you had. His speech was about how well I accepted that I was slower yet always gave 110%. Immediately I thought to myself this is because you taught me wonderful techniques to overcome each challenge and to accept possible limitations right at 5 Years old. I am eternally grateful.
To LB: Having you right at 4 Years old up until the beginning of 9th grade many of the fine motor skills I have are due to your incredible care and instruction. Doing my handwriting without tears and learning to use scissors is what I remember first as these lessons were a real challenge for me and required a great deal of support from you. Next was practicing tying my shoes and buttoning clothing independently which was an even greater challenge. However, thanks to your tremendous care, I eventually learned how to do these tasks. My best memory was learning how to open my gym locker independently as it helped a great deal for athletics. So thank you for your wonderful care and patience
To PS and ME- Right away you knew how to support and accommodate my gross motor skills so well. Yes, there were a few uncomfortable situations like being told I couldn’t play volleyball and had to walk the track while my other friends were having so much fun. Thankfully you both were wonderful at helping me accept this and allowed me to understand you were concerned about my safety too. This support also made me realize this situation was no different than when RF used to occasionally do separate activities when I was younger. So thank you for always seeing what I can do too and for your wonderful support.
To V Coaches: It truly would be easy for you to say to me it just isn’t working out but instead, you valued me as if I was a top runner which led to tremendous growth for me. Running not only greatly improved my endurance and overall muscle tone it also helped me grow socially as it helped me form a wonderful support system. I know it wasn’t always easy but with your incredible care and patience, we got through it all and made many great memories and learning experiences throughout the whole process. What I learned the most from you was how to control my emotions when facing difficulties. Finishing last reminded me that doing your best is what matters the most as so many people won’t even give it a try. I am eternally grateful to you.
The Ending- So please always accept all the support being offered to you to overcome your fine and gross motor skills deficits connected to your NVLD whether it’s from a gym teacher or a support service like OT. Through your hard work and the adult’s trust, you will achieve tremendous gains in these areas. That being said I get it this can be discouraging at times but as you grow and mature you will be thankful for all the adults who helped you overcome these deficits and will be proud of how you worked so hard to overcome your NVLD.
Eileen is a Project Social Ambassador and blogger for The NVLD Project. She loves helping others understand they can achieve their goals and dreams through hard work and dedication.