Thursday 10 December 2015

A lead pipe, a ball and a pair of feet - our swimming sensations?

Last night was a real treat for me. I don't usually accompany Anthony to his swimming lessons, I'm usually the stay at home with the others kids parent.  We knew that Anthony would need individual lessons and that his autism, dyspraxia and sensory processing would need a sensitive touch.  It took two years to get someone, but Anthony has now been going to lessons for six months and his progress is so encouraging.

Going swimming as a family was always a bit of a mission. Once the drama of actually getting ready for the pool was over, it became a game of keeping them all safe. 

Anthony's younger brother, David, is nearly five years old and has ASD and hypermobility. Part of this means he is both very flexible and loves the feeling if touch. In the water he has on a float vest and little water wings. He then folds his legs so his feet are against his chest and hugs himself. Yep, without assistance David is basically a ball floating away in the water.   

Their little sister Jane is as inquisative as any two year old and spends a good deal of time lifting her feet out of the water, to the joyous exclamation of "feet!"

Then there was Anthony. He's quite temperature sensitive, his dyspraxia means he needs motor skills broken down into small steps, and can find it difficult to focus in busy or loud places. When you put him in the water he'd go rigid, but instead of floating like stick he'd just sink like a lead pipe. Worst of all, he would be absolutely still, meaning he would make zero effort to get back above the water. Combine this with not being able to tolerate water on his face and swimming for Anthony was really just paddling up to his waist in the learner pool. 

His transformation over the last six months has been amazing. Don't get me wrong, he's no Olympic freestyler, but he is developing a style of his own. It took weeks of pouring jugs of water over his head in the bath and then all of a sudden he was fine with water on his face. He still sinks like a lead pipe if he doesn't move but today he managed four lengths on his back and a very messy width on his front. He still needed a teacher helping him sequence his movements a bit by saying arms or legs at the right times. 

Neither his lengths nor his width could be described as anything close to graceful.  And neither compared to the real surprise from his lessons. For the boy who didn't like getting his face wet is most comfortable and joyful when swimming under the water. He now couldn't be more unlike a stick, constantly moving about and storming through water to collect sinkers and just to get from A to B. It's just a delight to see.

His swimming teacher has told us that without constant supervision he'd still end up under the water, but he's made such progress. At least if he fell in the water somewhere he's now got a chance of survival. And that's pretty good.

Our blog - Hyper-what else?

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  1. This is wonderful, we have been working on swimming for years. We now have two children to look after which is interesting and it is really about keeping everyone safe. I'm so glad Anthony has made such positive progress, we know how long it can take. It took Ethan two years to know he had to kick his legs. He too is like a stick lol.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

    1. Anthony will still often not kick his legs, it's the multitasking that gets him. Breath, arms and what was the other thing? Oh yes, legs, breath and then what as the other thing? :-)


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