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 tiny bits of paper.

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 about twenty-five times, we laced up our special 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 to us (“one person jumping in a square at a time”), and I naively thought to myself, it’s just one rule, this should not be too hard for D to follow, right? 

The trampoline had about thirty five by seven foot individual squares. I estimated one-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.

Instead he resembled a car crash dummy, jumping six or seven times in an individual square, before darting off, narrowly missing a few persons, and crashing on the trampoline.

I checked to see if he was okay, and he was fine. So he repeated the pattern of jumping, running, and crashing. Five or six times. Thus, I discovered the reason for the liability waiver: my son.

Each time, I reminded him of the “one person in a square” rule, but he dashed across the trampoline, and by the time I reached him, he was breathing extra fast and laughing in giddy 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 allowed 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 foam 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 once said when we drove by Sky Zone, “Don’t take D there. He’s not ready to go there yet.” I waited a month before we went on a Sunday afternoon with nothing else to do.

Afterwards, as we walked 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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