FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Sky Zone

Written By: Scot Butwell - Mar• 14•13

skyzone

D is a sensory-seeker whose body is neurologically wired to move, and Sky Zone is an indoor trampoline park in a large warehouse, so I wasn’t surprised by how much he loved this place.

Nonstop movement is almost a biological necessity for D. Everywhere we go, every sidewalk we encounter, he’s looking for sensory input. Shredding leaves, flicking sand, fumbling board game pieces.

So I knew Sky Zone and D would go together like chips and salsa, milk and cookies, or a burger and fries, yet I ignored the possibility he might have difficulty regulating his body in such a highly stimulating environment.

After I initialed the liability waiver twenty-five times, we laced up our blue high-top jumping shoes and were ready to jump to our heart’s delight at the rate of $17 per person for the next hour.

sky zone solo

An employee explained the one rule for the main trampoline area to us (“one person jumping in a square at a time”), and I naively thought to myself, just one rule should not be too hard for D to follow, right? 

The trampoline had about thirty five by seven foot individual squares. I estimated about a third were filled with jumpers of all ages, and everyone seemed to be following the one rule.

D just needed to stay in one square, and when he got tired of jumping in that square, he could leap to another square, like a frog hopping from one lily pad to another to cross a pond.

That’s what I hoped would happen.

But he resembled a car crash dummy, jumping six or seven times in an individual square, before taking off running, narrowly missing a few persons, and falling into a heap of body parts on the trampoline.

His limbs were intact. And besides being extra giddy he was fine. So he repeated the pattern: jumping, running, and crashing. Five or six times. Thus, I discovered the reason for the liability waiver: my son.

Each time, I reminded D of the “one person in a square” rule, but he darted across the trampoline, and by the time I had reached him, he was breathing extra fast and laughing in spurts.

sky zone pitIn recovery groups, they say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I felt D was heading down this route without some direct intervention on my part.

Parenting to me is like editing a movie. You have to know when to cut a scene short, how to skillfully blend one scene into another, and how to capture the very best out of every actor in a story.

This is what I learned as I guided D to the Foam Zone, a pit filled with 10,000 blue foam blocks and a trampoline runway. Most importantly, it had a short line that required D to wait before jumping. 

The short breaks helped D to keep his body regulated, and we spent the rest of our time jumping into the foam blocks and/or climbing across a rickety rope ladder and falling into the blocks.

Lisa will disagree, saying I do not understand D’s sensory difficulties; however, I felt like Sky Zone provided a unique challenge–while having fun–to helping D learn to regulate his body. 

L told me once when we drove by Sky Zone, “Don’t take D there. He’s not ready to go yet.” I waited a month or two before we went on a Sunday afternoon with nothing else to do.

Afterwards, while walking to the car in the parking lot, D looked up at the sign on the side of the industrial building. He wanted to remember the name of the place where we had just spent the last hour jumping.

“Sky Zone,” he said.

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