Friday, September 29, 2006

Adapted swimming at the Y

Today we go to one of T's favorite activities: swimming at the YMCA!

Our local Y has been such an amazing resource and a huge blessing. This fall we began adapted swimming lessons - swim time for children with special needs. Teacher/student ratio is 1:1 which is, of course, excellent. He has always loved the water, whether it is in a pool, the ocean, a lake, or swirling around in the toilet! This can be a mixed blessing, so I wanted to make sure that he learned to respect water - it can be fun but a danger, too (not to be too dramatic, but I hear the leading cause of death in children with autism is accidental drowning.) I'd love for him to learn to tread water and eventually swim.

It took awhile for him to be willing to leave the stairs of the pool in the shallow end, but now he goes right in. He laughs and smiles the entire time, while his teacher/volunteer pulls him around the water floating with a "noodle" or "bubbles", trying to avoid him jumping on her legs or knees the entire time. He comes home happy & tired. Any camp counselor knows this is the best way for a kid to end their day!

Another benefit: I get a little theraputic time myself. All the mommies sit in chairs by the side of the pool and talk, savoring a half hour when we don't have to be on constant alert, and this is proving to be one of my favorite 30 minute spans of my week. The children in this class have all manner of challenges and ability levels, and frankly, even though our present & future are filled with unknowns and endless therapies, at least T is a healthy boy. His condition is not life-threatening; he faces no major surgeries or dangerous health conditions. What's so great about this time is that these moms GET IT - they know what it's like to have a child with a disability and how that effects your life and changes you. They inspire and motivate me. These women have become instant trusted friends even though I've only spent two lesson times with them.

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