Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On Swimming and Growth

Blink started swimming lessons a few weeks ago. Upon the advice of some trusted experts in the field, I decided to hold my breath and start him out in regular lessons at the YWCA where his sister takes hers and loves them. The teachers are great, the classes are small (3-4 kids apiece), and when I asked them if they'd worked with Aspie kids before they didn't sound scared. So the idea was to see if it worked before moving to something more private/autism-oriented.

The first lesson, Blink started out well but then stormed out of the pool and said the teacher wasn't teaching him right

His father had taken him, so I didn't have firsthand observations to go on, but I think he felt anxious and self-conscious about being bigger than the others and maybe making mistakes. He'd rather not do something at all than to try and make a mistake. Sometimes this is hard to see because he's so busy being angry and dramatic about it.

To say I was a bit worried about the second lesson would be an understatement.  I decided to make a comic strip with a superhero that taught Alex "how to act at swim lessons."  We read it a few times and I held my breath as he went off to the second swim lesson and I went off to an autism workshop.

At the workshop, I listened to two parents describe how their older sons on the spectrum are on the swim teams. How swimming has become a fantastic sport for them. How it's given the confidence and mentors as they enter the teen years. It was inspiring and a very timely reminder to stick with the swimming.  Imagine if they'd given up after a first lesson!

Later, I learned Blink did a great job following directions at his second lesson.  Whew!  I hope we can keep it going.

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