Monday, February 07, 2011

The expectations trap

Four months ago we learned lessons from two family bicycle outings. One was an educational failure. The follow-up was a memorable success.

No denying, I was proud of that one. I wouldn't have thought it possible just three years before. If we weren't willing to risk failure, we wouldn't established a new baseline.

That's why I was willing to try another crazy idea. This time we tried a mass nordic ski event after dark in unfamiliar territory. This went well beyond last year's Nordic ski resort.

We applied what we'd learned. We studied satellite maps of the ski route and the surrounding territory, developing and revising our primary and backup plans. We researched parking in detail. We took a car and drove the route at night -- that's how we learned event map's major parking area was now a massive hole in the ground. We adjusted our plans accordingly. I took both our special needs guys with me on the event day to collect our race bibs -- so they could see the parking and starting area in daylight.

We left early on event day, which meant we got the prime parking garage rather than our fallback option. At the event we adjusted plans; one of our guys needed to race, so we aborted a rendezvous and left ten minutes early.

It was easy. The only glitch was a bit of overheating while fussing with race bibs indoors. I expected to need more of our contingency plans. As it was, I had only to track the son who's prone to getting lost. His brother with the oddball savant visual abilities raced far ahead, and, as expected, materialized from darkness whenever we reached a stopping area.

It was easy, but maybe it was too easy. Now I need to wonder if I've fallen into an expectations trap.

The expectations trap is what happens around 9th grade in most schools. Instead of the slow, tedious, work of developing reading and other academic skills, teaching focuses on "social skills". These can be fun for all involved, but for some it's too easy. They could do better. The expectations trap is inside the comfort zone; it closes options too soon.

I think I need to move my expectations up.


National Sports Center for the Disabled - summer and winter recreation in Winter Park, Colorado

Colorado's National Sports Center for the Disabled is an amazing resource.

... Founded in 1970, the National Sports Center for the Disabled's mission is to positively impact the lives of people with any physical or mental challenge through quality adaptive recreation programs in over 20 sports. The NSCD’s impact on lives is direct, immediate and visible. Over 23,000 lessons are provided annually...

The NCSD is located in Winter Park Resort, Colorado (map info - route 40 west of Denver). They serve our community ...

ADD, Amputation, Arthritis, Autism, Behavioral Health, Bone Disorder, Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Deafness, Developmental Disabilities, Diabetes, Down Syndrome, Epilepsy, Fragile X, Hemophilia, Learning Disabilities, Little People, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Disorder, Muscular Dystrophy, Nerve Disorders, Neurological Disorders, Paraplegia, Post-Polio, Quadriplegia, Respiratory Disorder, Spina Bifida, Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, Substance Abuse, Vision Loss/Blindness...

Of course the winter activities (2010 brochure) are amazing. It's the place I'd take my family for a snowboarding or skiing vacation. The NCSD will arrange for travel package reservations and they offer scholarships. They offer the "NCSD Broome House" condo reservations particularly for NCSD participants.

There are summer options too (2010 brochure)...

... NSCD Sports Camps, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, special camps, horse pack trips, therapeutic horseback riding, mountain biking, overnight river trips, fishing, camping, and rock climbing...

Definitely a resource worth remembering.

So why am I just learning about This now? It's been around for forty years.

There's something broken somewhere ...