Swimming Lessons anyone???

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Registered: 05-24-2003
Swimming Lessons anyone???
8
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 12:22pm
You know, until i really started looking into this, i didnt realize how much harder it is to get kids with special needs/disabilities/etc things like swimming lessons.

I called my doctors office to tell them what happened, and hoped they could give me some suggestions on where to go for swimming lessons. All they suggested was commercial swimming lessons companies, and local recreational centers.

Well, i tried the local recreational center, and they dont start "one on one" swimming lessons until the children are 4. And even then, it is 5 children to 1 instructor. Right now, Catie would qualify for a parent/toddler water safety class. BUt it is 5 days a week, for two weeks, in the mornings. And it is only 30 minutes long. Just long enough for Catie to have a melt down when i remove her from the water. Plus, i would have to drive 20 minutes to get there.

I am still looking.

But my question would be to you guys. Have you guys ever put your kids in swimming lessons? How did they do? did you have to go private? What would you suggest in my situation. Catie just turned three, but in ALOT of ways, she is like an 18 month old, a 2 year old, etc.

I have a call into Early Intervention, but this is the second day i have called and i am still waiting on a call back.

Thanks for any heads up you guys can give me

Helen

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 3:03pm
Yep, right when Vaiti turned 3 we put her in the YMCA swimming program for gosh 6 months or more. THey are very accepting of children with difficulties but that doesn't mean the 18 year olds teaching the class know how to teach them. Didn't learn a thing. My SIL paid a bunch for my autistic nephew to go to Murray callan swim school. SOmewhat better, did learn some, but didn't become water safe.

However, what taught our kids in all cases to swim was time at the pool. Taking them ourselves on a large number of occasions with water wings on and getting in the pool. eventually they learned how to do it in their own way.

On that note, took the kids to my other nephews 3 y.o. bday party a couple weeks ago. The best swimmers in the place where my kids and my autistic nephew and his brother. We just took them all loads of times for the last 2 summers. In contrast my typically developing nephews (ages 3,4 and 5) who had all been for lessons (2 of them for at least the past year, but I think longer) were not water safe at all. Their parents were constantly having go in and get them to safety, make them stay at the edge. It was a very frustrating time for them while the other mom and I got to sit back and watch our kids and enjoy. My littlest 2 still wear water wings and would not be safe if they fell into the pool alone , but they probably will not need the wings by the end of this summer.

I have heard ofpeople doing private lessons and that helps. Fact is I just don't think most kids are really ready to swim until they are a bit older.

HTH

Renee

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Registered: 05-24-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 6:45pm
That helps alot. My moms best friend used to give private lessons...but she is in Texas. We are going back there next month. I may buzz her and see if maybe she will do a little one on one with Catie. Every little bit helps. I am an AWESOME swimmer. But i dont have a swim suit, and i am on the heavy side. So going down to the apartment complex pool with everyone else doesnt really make me very comfortable. I can get my husband to do it in the evenings, and i can stay and watch and take pics. So maybe we should start doing that along with any outside help we can get. I just didnt want to encourage her to go to THAT pool if she gets out again...

Thanks alot

helen

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 7:39pm
DH and I do the swimming lessons in our family. Jade is the only one of our kids who has taken lessons from someone else. She was in a specialized private prescool/daycare in the San Diego area when she was little and the DH of the director worked for the Coast Gaurd. He taught swiming to each kid one-on-one 3 days a week for 1-2 hours per session (it depended on how much each kid could handle at one time). He was really great.

But with our other kids we do the swimming lessons on our own. It helps that we have our own swimming pool, but most of our real lessons are done at the community clubhouse pool in the summers. It's bigger and they have 3 diving boards. That gives us more room to supervise laps, help overcome fears, etc. Our pool is great for teaching the kids how to float, tread water, and play water polo, but that's it. It's too short to help them master any given stroke style and even though we have a diving board it's more or less for cannon balls only since the pool is to shallow for a good straight dive. Plus, the clubhouse pool area has a shallow kiddie pool where the little ones can get familiar with the water and overcome the basic fears (or just splash around and have fun).

**LOL, Jade just came up and asked when we were going to start going to the clubhouse pool again. What timing! LOL**

Does your local public pool have open sessions for younger kids? Most do, and if yours does why not take advantage of it and use the time to teach Catie yourself? that way you can control how much time she is in the water, what pace she is learning at, etc. Plus, she may have questions that someone else may not know how to answer for her. (especially since she isn't really talking yet) I like to say "The only real experts on any given child is their parents".

Just my copper pennies,

Candes

Peace,
Candes  
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 7:55pm
Yep, I agree, just getting the kids out there and exposing them to the oppertunity to swim is the best way to go. Each kid is different and they each have different ways of looking at things. Ayla struggled with swimming for a long time. But one year she just got tired of her younger sister (Sammi) being better at it than she was. She just got up off her deck chair one day and dove straight in and started doing laps. It surprised the heck out of all of us. Kids tend to like water, it's just a natural feeling. And while Eva (3yo) can float I don't expect her to do much more than that for a while.

Candes

Peace,
Candes  
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 12:28am
My kids have always loved swimming lessons and I have always hated them - b/c my aspie has been so bad at it. I hated going and knowing he was going to think he could do anything just b/c he'd had lessons (level 1 for 3 years!). He loves to swim and wants to be on a swim team but, I don't know, he's just always been bad at it. Til this year. He's 9 now. But I don't think it's just that. We homeschool and I signed him up at the Y b/c they have a homeschool PE group that meets twice a week - each month doing something different. This month was swimming (well, last month since it's now June - lol). Well, I dreaded it b/c I didn't think he'd be able to go w/ the older kids - who hung out w/ a coach in the deep end and I knew he'd hate being in the shallow end w/ the younger kids. But he "passed" the swim test (swimming the length of the pool w/out trouble). He took like 3 times as long but he did it. The coach has him always carry one of those foam boards (boogie board?) or a funoodle w/ him b/c he would get into trouble. (And of course, he was with the older kids but didn't actually DO anything w/ them. He was always doing his own thing while they swam laps, learned different swimming strokes, etc) I was in the shallow end w/ my 3 yo dd and didn't pay much attention to ds most of the time. But towards the end of the month, I was walking by the deep end (putting up the funnoodle) and noticed ds was diving to the bottom of the pool to get something and he didn't have the foam board w/ him. I mentioned to the coach that he seems to be doing so much better and she said she was really impressed with his progress this month. I decided right then and there to sign him up for lessons again this summer (I wasn't going to do it originally). I want him to continue this, learn a little more, and I think swimming is great for his exercise and he doesn't even know it. So he had all last month and now, looking at the levels that are offered, he's not a level 1 anymore! He's now a level 2! And we'll swim once a week at my sister's house this month, then he'll get lessons next month. Then in August we'll probably become full members of the Y so we'll hit the pool there. I mentioned to him today that next year, if he's still interested, I'll look to find a swim team for him. He said he didn't really want to do that anymore - he doesn't like all the arm movements (different strokes), he likes swimming underwater and he likes diving. So we'll see. But just having him there, in the water, w/ occasional instruction, has helped him SO much in just a month! Also, today we were at my sister's swimming and sis was talking w/ one of the coach's there (we saw some one on one lessons going on) - they were coaching kids that are on the swim team. So we talked about that and I started to mention about my ds but had to leave b/c my dd who was in the kiddie pool was headed for the big pool (no fear) so I had to make sure she was safe. But sis mentioned it to the coach and the coach said they have 2 autistic kids on the swim team - they struggle a little harder and are slower but they handle it just fine.

I did want to say though - I personally would just advice taking the mommy and me class or even not at all. But if you take it, see if you can stick around for another 1/2 hour afterwards so your dd can "practice" and give her lots of opportunities to practice (ie: play) and she'll probably do just fine w/out the one on one. I do know that I feel I wasted like 3 years of lessons b/c ds never really learned anything to take w/ him and I never gave him opportunites to practice and get it to sink in. (mostly b/c I hate our city pool and don't like to be seen in a swim suit! lol)

Good luck!

Julie

Avatar for maresgood
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 12:43am
My dd is 10 & we are still doing swim lessons, in fact I went yest. to check out the regist. dates @ the local pool @ the rec. center. She is still a beginner and we have taken lessons for years! She spends quite a bit of time swimming in the summer but it doesn't seem to improve her skills. I think it has to do with coordination issues cause my other dd was a much better swimmer by this age. The 2 dd's always took lessons together which helped I think. She did fine with lessons & we always did group . There is a fear factor involved too. She doesn't feel comfortable in the deep end. I wish you luck with your dd & finding the appropriate class for her- MaryAnn
Avatar for rissc
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 9:45am
Hi Helen. I didn't get Tim into lessons until he was 5. Up until then, he was afraid of putting his head under water. We got him to practice in the bathtub to gain confidence. We went to the local leisure centre for lessons so it was 6 kids to one instuctor. As each set of lessons has passed, he has improved with his behaviour. He still gets overwhelmed and has meltdowns but they have become less severe. Tim is 7.5 now and is looking forward to more swim lessons this summer. We have found a great instructor who helps Tim stay focussed. It has taken a lot of time and effort to get this far. My suggestion would be to take your daughter to the pool a lot. Let her play and "swim" with you around as her security. Tim really went far with his lessons because we took him to the pool to play. He gained a lot of confidence in the water and has adapted to the noise levels and crowds of people. If you are really keen for lessons, I would go for one on one instruction. I think it is a great benefit for kids to learn to swim.

Larissa

Larissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 1:25pm
Our Y actually does offer (for a moderate fee) 1:1 swim lessons for anyone. They also have a regular "special needs" swim class for autistic and/or ADD kids (taught by a more experienced instructor). You might want to just ask about this.

Still, we found that our NT daughter WOULD NOT participate in swim lessons at age 3, tho our PDD son did pretty well in regular lessons (with a little parental coaching from the side). I also second the family swim--we really enjoy it, all four of us, and Tommy gets a chance to practice skills with lots of patient coaching. (Plus Sara, now 3.5, is starting to get interested in taking off the floatie!)