On Accommodations
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To Swim or Not to Swim

At home in the ocean


Charlie's active life continues: he went swimming yesterday morning at school and, as his teacher wrote, spent the whole time in the deep end.

There is indeed a pool at his school or, actually there are two pools, a 4 to 4 1/2 feet deep one and a huge one that must be 8 or 9 feet in the deep end. We once belonged to a YMCA that rented the school's pools and Charlie and I had a lot of fun swimming in the big one: So much water!

For a time, I tried to get Charlie to swim laps with me at a pool at the main YMCA facility. Open swim hours were very limited during the week due to swim practice and lessons and I often tried to snag us a lane in the lap pool. It was ok for Charlie to swim if accompanied by an adult, but (as we were routinely reminded) he had to swim.

'Swim' might seem a word with a quite obvious and definite meaning. I have a feeling that, for Charlie, the meaning is more 'be in the water wearing your swimsuit and do as you will.'

Charlie having long been a real fish, moving around in the water has (once he figured out how to float and propel himself through the water) long been second nature to him. (I am trying not to say 'swimming,' deliberately.) Charlie is now a very good swimmer, going headfirst down several feet into the deep end with no problem and, truly, great joy and delight. But he is so good, and so at ease in the water, that he does pretty much what feels natural to him. So long as he can stand, he does, and then when the bottom of the pool gets too deep, he just starts paddling and kicking and floating..

In other words, it proved difficult to have Charlie swim laps as he only swam when his feet did not touch the bottom. Why, indeed, swim, when you can walk?

Soon as his feet no longer felt the cement bottom, Charlie was up and floating, the transition mellifluous. While I tend to look at the water level to determine when I start to swim, I suspect Charlie discerns this by feel alone (he is sensitive to so much and in other ways than with his eyes---Wednesday morning had set out a new pair of black suede slip-on shoes and it took him a couple of minutes to stare at them, and to slide his feet in and out, out and in, and to just stand and stomp a little to adjust to the newness).

As a result, he and I were not able to swim in the lap pool as he was not, as pointed out by the other triathlete-training-swimmers, 'swimming.' Charlie would have been fine if he could have swam back and forth in the deep end, but that is not a likely set-up in most indoor pools, at least during the hours that he and I tended to go to the pool (late afternoon and evenings). And so our pool time dwindled out.

We weren't sure how much Charlie would be able to swim at school when he started there (almost a year ago). The schedule seems to be the kids get to swim for three weeks in a row, every three weeks (other schools for kids on the spectrum use the pool in the alternate weeks). So he gets to swim next week, and then has a break for three more weeks.

I think I am at least going to ask the school about some way for Charlie to swim at other times, as an option besides walking around the school to help him use all his energy and pre-address some 'behaviors.'

Maybe someone else can work on teaching him to swim laps.

Or maybe he can just swim and enjoy the water---nothing against that, no?




Comments

Jennifer

Kristina,

My SIL's kids go for swimming lessons in a neighbour's private indoor pool. I wonder if such an arrangement might be found for Charlie?

farmwifetwo

Mine went from not swimming to fish over the summer. Discovered he can float in the deep end.

He's in private lessons at the moment, groups are too noisy and not enough going on. She does 15 of lesson's and 15min of "play". No, mixing it up or that's IBI/ABA and disasterous. Going very well b/c he knows he will get his play time.

autismvox

@Jennifer, will have to consider that... We have been, how shall I put it, under-motivated to get Charlie swimming lessons as he can swim very well. Lessons would be, I guess, to teach him more of the strokes or other skills--- he had lessons at the town pool when he was younger and did pick up a few things. I'm curious to see where things go with his school program.

@farmwife two, that's so great he started swimming! Many many hours we've spent by and in the pool with our 'fish,' for sure,

Kristina

@Jennifer, will have to consider that... We have been, how shall I put it, under-motivated to get Charlie swimming lessons as he can swim very well. Lessons would be, I guess, to teach him more of the strokes or other skills--- he had lessons at the town pool when he was younger and did pick up a few things. I'm curious to see where things go with his school program.

@farmwife two, that's so great he started swimming! Many many hours we've spent by and in the pool with our 'fish,' for sure,

Jennifer

Kristina,

I wasn't thinking so much of lessons for Charlie, just a place where he could have the whole pool to himself for an hour.

Kristina

Ahhhh..... Not too many people around here have their own pools (the in-ground kind)--- most people we know go to the YMCA or the town pool.

What we really wish is that we could get our own little house at the beach and go down there as much as we could......

Gemma

Can you not maybe organize lessons with your local school. My two swimming babies love jumping in the pool with their friends. Best part is they offer lessons all year round!

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