doing cartwheels

“Child presents with significant Motor Planning Deficits – often appears to get physically stuck.”

For the record, I abhor the word Deficits. Challenges? Yes. Lots of ’em. Deficits? Hell no.

(If you don’t believe me, keep reading.)  


“Child’s skill acquisition is stymied by overwhelming anxiety – she is so daunted by the perceived inevitability of failure / frustration that she refuses to attempt new tasks.”

Refuses? Hmm. 


At recess, the girls were doing cartwheels. And out there on the playground with them was the Child Who Presents with Significant Motor Planning Deficits. The one whose skill acquisition is stymied by overwhelming anxiety. The one who is so daunted by the perceived inevitability of failure / frustration that she refuses to attempt new tasks.

The one whose heart is twenty times bigger than her deficits challenges will ever be.

Don’t believe everything you read.

35 thoughts on “doing cartwheels

  1. Brooke is incredible and will never cease to positively amaze us! Doctors–sometimes not so much!

    Love you,

  2. I really hate that people can put assessments like that on paper without any kind of plan to help the person to improve. If you are a “teacher,” well, uh, teach?

    I figured out my failure in life is my direct inability not to cartwheel? WTF.

    Love your blog, don’t always comment but here’s a hug :::Jess:::
    and thanks for that last line, how true!

    • Many such assessments come from doctors, not teachers. As teachers, when we write up present levels of performance, we follow those with a plan for improvement (IEP goals). I know I can’t speak for all teachers, but I try to be very careful when writing up assessments–lots of qualifying words like “often,” “appears to,” “seems,” etc. because I know that these kids will prove me wrong all the time. And I’m SO glad that they do!
      Way to go Brooke!

  3. Amen! And by the by Aidan, who also has anxiety and motor planning issues won the silver medal Alpine Super Glide this past weekend. Yep skied down the mountain himself, through gates just like they do at the Olympics. Aidan-1 Autism-0.

  4. My heart is so happy that it’s doing cartwheels, too! 🙂 For the record, I’ve pretty much stopped reading a lot of those reports. Well, I mean I do read them…I just do so with a large shaker of salt handy. (Maybe I should add the lime and tequila?)

  5. They said that Jake showed no interest in including others in his fun. They said he was in his own world and that other people didn’t matter to him. He proves them wrong all the time!

  6. Don’t believe everything you hear in a doctor’s office either…..I wonder if the dr.’s took a field trip out into our lives for a day if they would write their reports a little differently…..

    So happy to see her doing a cartwheel! I just love it when you post photos or videos of your girls.

  7. I am 36 and I cannot do a cartwheel! I look just like your little girl there when I do try! Lol! Let’s remember, Doc, that we cannot ALL be doctors or rocket scientists. We need the people who remind us to find the little joys in life. Anxious? She is only anxious because you lack patience doctor. She wants to get it right so you will smile at her…cause although she has challenges…she knows what a heartfelt smile is! You have a degree…that is awesome….now find yourself some humanity and roll with it!

  8. Clearly she’d heard about your debut in the HuffPost and thought it deserved a cart wheel! (She’s gonna move mountains, just like her Mom). 🙂

    • My son’s file is filled with a lot of similar verbiage. And guess what? He’s throwing baseballs, catching them, hitting baseballs and shooting hoops. And that was just yesterday 🙂

      • Oops, posted in the wrong place. But I hear ya that the HuffPo debut is definitely cartwheel-worthy!

  9. With you and yours, I believe anything is possible as it is with all children in different ways. If we believe in them, they will believe in themselves.
    Love you,

  10. Hey, that looks just like MY cartwheels!! Way to go Brooke, I love the pure playground joy of the whole scene. It’s heartwarming.

  11. I took Gymnastics for years , for just trying a new skill she was Fantastically on target .
    Never underestimate the power of free will. : )
    Go Brooke !!!

  12. “The one whose heart is twenty times bigger than her challenges will ever be.” — That. That exactly is how I feel about my sweetheart, my brave and beautiful girl who just keeps getting up and trying again, and smiling through it all.

    Congratulations to your brave and beautiful girl — from one proud mama to another.

  13. My son…anxious in social situations…initiated reading a book to a group of nine NT kids last week…stood up there in front of them like it was just a run of the mill event. We have the best kids ever.

  14. So awesome!! and very good point. We can very easily get caught up in IEP reports, or psychological reports, or whatever; often times leaving us stuck ~ if you will~in those words. We know their true capabilities! If I had a dollar for everytime I read a report over the past 18 years that stated what my twins would never have the capability of doing… I would have no $$$ worries thats for sure 🙂

  15. all –

    thing is, the comments i copied (both from neuropsych reports) were actually completely accurate at the time that they were written (and in some ways still would be, though obviously to lesser degrees).

    so as easy as it may be to take aim at the doctors, they were very legitimately describing what they observed and the information they had gathered – not just in their evaluations but in extensive interviews with us and teachers / therapists who were working with brooke at the time.

    so my point was not that the docs had it wrong. they didn’t.

    i guess what i really wanted to convey is that if we allow ourselves to believe that our children’s challenges (or our challenges as the case may be) are *deficits* – things we simply lack – then by extension we allow ourselves to believe they can’t be overcome or otherwise mitigated.

    and well, that’s a load of crap says the mom of the kid turning cartwheels on the playground.


  16. I’ve been reading for a long time, but this post really did something for me. As a mom of a child on the spectrum, it gives me great hope and reminds me that anything is possible. As a teacher it reminds me never to set limits for my students, to invite the possible. Thank you!

  17. *smiles* My father used to always say that there is not such thing is “I can’t” and he would if someone ever told him he “couldn’t do it” that just inspired him to just “do it” to prove them wrong. Yeah Brook:)

  18. Reblogged this on Everything Under the Sun and commented:
    *smiles* My father used to always say that there is not such thing is “I can’t” and he would if someone ever told him he “couldn’t do it” that just inspired him to just “do it” to prove them wrong.

  19. Awesome!!! In the time that we live in, where so many things are possible, I can’t for the life of me understand why doctors and even some therapist (from experience) use such words and act like that’s that. Our kids- all kids can do so much when given time and opportunity.
    I love this post and the comments too.

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