You know, that seems like such an easy thing to do. We live in the Washington, DC suburbs where it gets quite hot and most neighborhoods have a community pool (or are near one that has that resource). We are in the latter and joined our neighboring community’s pool for the summer. We figured it would be perfect…..Big Brother would swim on the swim team and we can get Ballerina and Music Man swimming lessons so they can learn to be safe in the water.
We have followed through on our plans, but things didn’t so quite as smoothly as it sounds. It took a while to get those lessons started. And then we had the issues of the lessons themselves.
You see, neither Ballerina or Music Man are afraid of the water. In fact, they LOVE it But they don’t always like to do what a teacher is telling them. And they really have no desire to learn how to SWIM but they just want to play in the water. It was so bad in fact, that the coach who was working with them suggested that they weren’t ready for these lessons.
I appreciate this person telling me this — these lessons are one-on-one for 30 minutes and consequently affect my bank account. If they’re not going to be successful, I appreciate the coach telling me that she’s not sure she can teach them. But I wasn’t ready to give up.
The second lesson came up and I told the coach that we should try it again. Now that they’ve experienced a lesson, perhaps they will be more likely to listen. Also, I gave her some tips of things that work and things that don’t that Dad and I had discovered in the week between the lessons. Throughout the 30 minutes, I kept glancing over (for each of the lessons). I was seeing Ballerina spinning in the water blowing bubbles. I saw her kicking and playing games with the coach. I saw her having fun! And her lesson was followed (and has since been followed) by a constant barrage of jumps into the pool. She makes an effort to go not go under water, but it’s not a problem if she does.
Music Man’s lesson was the next day. He has a real desire to learn to swim, but I’m not 100% sure the coach is mistaken — he may NOT be ready. But watching his lesson, I also saw him playing games. I saw him swimming under the rope to transition from one place to another. And I saw him floating on his back and kicking with a kickboard.
They just needed an extra week to learn what was expected from them.
You see, swimming is very important for me to get them to learn. Firstly, it’s a life skill, and that’s true whether they are Autistic or not. Secondly, we go to the pool nearly daily. It’s important that they know how to be safe. And it would be nice to not have to have a hand on them at all times and be in fear of them slipping under the water and panicking.
And finally, I would really like to seem them both join the swim team next year. They offer a kickboarding event for children 6 and under. This is what they would be doing. This could be an activity that they do with Big Brother and help bring them closer together. And they wouldn’t be the only children on the team with special needs. I look forward to going to the pool next year and watching all 3 of my kids compete on this team. I look forward to cheering for each of them to swim across the pool and the looks on their faces when they realize that they did it on their own.
I really love the pool!