Tuesday, 8 April 2014

When traditional swimming lessons aren't enough

The kids have been busy learning to swim which has been proving to be a very labor intensive endeavor for some.  Learning to swim has always been a priority for our family especially since we live at a lake.

With many of our kids they took swimming lessons each summer of their childhood in the lake.  Our community has a section of the lake that is like a "pool" with a wharf around it, a slide, diving boards and life guards/instructors. At the beginning of summer each year the water was always freezing cold so the children would have hot chocolate after each class and by the end of summer you had trouble getting them out of the water.

For some they also participated in a recreational swim team during the fall/winter/spring at a local indoor pool. Practicing weekly for 2 plus hours each session really increased their swimming skills.  We would also visit different public pools for family swimming.  With all this swimming all but one became very competent swimmers and then we adopted our sibling group of 7 which are proving for us that swimming is a challenge.
We have needed to change how we have been teaching swimming as we have 8 children struggling to learn.  Our almost 19 year old has been taking multiple sessions of lessons every year for 13 years now and still struggles to get across the width of the pool.  When she gets tired she just stops swimming, she does not have a fight or flight reflex so when combined she stops swimming, she sinks to the bottom of the pool and then needs to be rescued.  Unless she has someone directly with her she must wear a life jacket so she can happily bob along in the water.

The other 7 children all have uncontrolled seizure disorders along with a multitude of other challenges and are still relatively young.  Of this group the 5 that are being home schooled plus their almost 19 year old sister are currently taking semi private swim lessons.  With a few phone calls (actually quite a few) we were blessed to secure the ultimate lesson set up for this group.  Our 6 children (assuming they haven't had a seizure yet that day) are the only people in the pool with their 3 instructors.  This set up has been working amazingly well as the kids are being well supported, they aren't as overwhelmed as they would be at a busy pool and they are having fun with the hope of learning how to swim.

When planning activities for your child (especially if they have special needs) think outside of the box.  If something isn't working talk to people and see if you can find a solution that works.  Don't give up keep trying!  Please comment and let me know of different solutions that you have come up with for things that weren't working for your child.

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