Monday, January 7, 2013

Mr. D. in the Pool

I've mentioned before how Cole began swimming lessons, and then I also started taking a Mommy-and-me swim class with Emmett at Aqua-Tots here in Richmond. Cole is doing SO well and is on level 6 of 8! I am really proud of him. He still loves to swim and looks forward to every swim class. Thank goodness!

Emmett also loves being in the pool, so much so that I have to convince him that it's really not his turn when we're there for Cole's lesson! He is doing great with holding his breath, reaching for objects just under the water, and gaining more confidence (Ok, he really didn't need that - he thinks he's invincible!) and skills in the water. Plus, it's so fun to be in the water with him on Wednesday mornings for our class. It's a great mid-week break for us both. :) 

I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before we got Dean in the water, too. Like his brothers, he has enjoyed being in the pools that we've been a part of here and when we lived in Charlottesville. But really learning to swim is another deal. We found Aqua-Tots through a Groupon, and little did I know that they have a program called "Adaptive Aquatics" for kids with special needs to learn how to swim. Before coming to Aqua-Tots, Bob and I had talked about needing to find a way for Dean to swim, but we didn't have a plan. 

I had a lot of concerns. Dean can't spit, which is a problem if you go in the water and swallow a bunch and need to spit it out. He has a lot of issues with motor planning, so I knew it would take someone with a lot of patience to teach him again and again until the pattern became cemented in his brain. And then, as much as Dean is "with us" in all that we do, there *is* some cognitive delay going on there and I don't know what he will understand about the whole swimming process. So I knew it would take someone special. 

Kerin Morgan, the wife of the Morgan family who owns the Richmond Aqua-Tots, is especially good at working with kids with special needs and is a nurse, so she gets all sides of it. She listened to my concerns and said that with adaptive aquatics, she looks for what Dean *can* do and then goes from there. She wasn't worried in the slightest. She is going to teach Dean to swim as soon as we can figure out something in our schedule that works. When we were at Aqua-Tots this past weekend for make-up lessons for Cole and Emmett, she asked if Dean could go for a lesson on a whim to get started - so we said yes! Dean was so excited and we got a suit and towel and in he went! 

Dean screamed for probably 90% of the time he was in there. Haha. Poor guy. I was laughing with nervous laughter and Cole said, "MOOOOOooom, it's not nice to laugh at Dean!" It was hard to explain that I was simultaneously laughing at how cute and sad it was that he was upset and yet I knew that we were doing something good, something that Dean really needed. Kerin said that Dean did exactly what she was expecting him to do and that she predicts he'll calm down after a few lessons. I think she's right. She said that he would resist, resist, resist - and then do what she asked. Repeat cycle. 

Despite the screaming, Dean came out ALIVE from that lesson. He was so excited!!! I don't know if he was excited because it's what he's watched his brothers do for months, or because he just liked it, or both, but it was awesome. We're definitely going to continue. This means that we might have to put something else, like hippotherapy, on the back burner for now, but that's how it goes! There is only so much time, effort, and money to go around! So thankful for Aqua-Tots and Mrs. Morgan. :) 

1 comment:

Janet Gulley said...

absolutely awesome. I bet on some level it just makes his body come alive. Who doesn't like a little relief from gravity and the ability to move freely.