I just spoke to the director of the swim program through which Charlie has been taking lessons. They don't feel equiped -- as I noted, they should not have felt they needed to be, as they are not a swim program for autistic children -- to teach Charlie, and certainly not handle his behaviors. So yesterday's lesson was Charlie's last.
When the teacher told him not to "jump in the pool" at Wednesday's lesson, Charlie -- maybe from thymic distress? maybe because of just hearing the word "don't"? -- grabbed at her and then banged his head on the pool rail. And then it was a difficult moment of running out of the pool area; grabbing onto the really nice man who knows Charlie because he's a swim instructor at Charlie's school and works at the pool in the evenings; sitting crying and moaning on a gym mat I found and threw on the ground. Charlie sat there for five minutes and then, sniffling, got into the pool with the teacher. He didn't swim at all, just moved back and forth in the water; he cheered up a little.
I had a feeling as we left, after observing things, that we might not last much longer in this swim program. Had the director not called me, I was planning to write to them and let them know, if they didn't feel that their program was appropriate for Charlie -- again, it's not a program for kids with disabilities -- we understand.
We're glad Charlie got what he did out of the program. I've gained some more insights about the challenges of having him taught by those who don't have the background and familiarity with autistic kids and with teeagers and adults in particular. I feel good that Charlie did what he could and that the program director could speak to me about their concerns.
Aside from issues of a behavioral sort, one thing that I suspect can be challenging is the rate and way that Charlie learns. He had some great moments of swimming all over the pool, showing how he can swim on his back, kick and use his arms. But Charlie has always been something more than inconsistent in his learning: One day, BAM! He'll do everything you ask and more. Then, POUF, and he seems disinclined to do anything and some of those danged "behaviors" crop up. Perhaps there was the feeling that they "couldn't teach him" because they didn't seem him "progressing" in some ways, whereas we knew he was doing something good by just managing in the lessons and trying to follow the teacher's instructions.
With us, it'll always be about not perfection, but progress.