Sunday, July 1, 2012

First Swimming Lesson

The children had their first swimming lesson this week. This swimming school is amazing for little ones. It is a heated indoor pool just large enough for lessons with two teachers and five small children. The instructors do an amazing job of getting a wide variety of skills introduced and practiced in a half hour lesson using songs and games. In their very first lesson (and only second time in a pool) they blew bubbles, dunked their heads under water, kicked behind themselves while on their tummies, learned to hold on to the side of the pool and scoot towards a ladder, learned to scoop the water with their hands, and jumped in to be caught by waiting arms several times.

I was very impressed with the program. Michael had a wonderful time and enjoyed every second of the lesson. When it wasn't his turn with one of the instructors he dunked himself under the water over and over again. He was having a blast.

Ava's reaction was more complicated. She was having a wonderful time until they asked her to put her face in the water. Ava does have tubes in her ears, so it is possible her negative reaction to getting her head wet is due to some odd sensations with the ears. I think it is much more likely that it is residual sensory issues though.

She was persuaded to blow a few bubbles and was happy to leave that portion of the lesson behind. The teachers deliberately were teaching the children how to hold their breath while being dunked (very briefly) under the water though and Ava handled that very poorly. She got more and more agitated every time it happened and took longer to move on and get back into the flow of the lesson with each subsequent dunk. Finally, near the end of the 30 minute lesson, she just lost it and started crying. At that point the lesson was over.

When asked what she thought of swimming lessons, she was quick to state she didn't like the "getting my head wet part." However, she's not upset at the idea of going back, so it wasn't all bad for her. It will be interesting to see if next time is better or worse. I can see it going either way.

I think, next time, I will ask the instructors to give her a verbal warning before dunking her and ask them to give her a little more recovery time between dunks (and explain why). If I can get them to modify things just a little I think she'll desensitize more quickly.

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