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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I have a few words to say this Wednesday

Normally, I'd try to have "Wordless Wednesday" for you. I can't hold this one in and need to put a whole bunch of words behind it.

In my photos for this week, you'll notice a dark blob next to a blurry girl in the first one. What could that blob be?? Well, look at the second photo--it's Nathan popping up out of the water at swim lessons.

And this, my friends, is a bigger accomplishment than you'll ever realize. We've had Nathan in swimming lessons for 4.5 (yes friends, that is four and a half) years. At the end of 4.5 years, he no longer cries when we tell him we're going swimming and he will play happily at lessons if you don't make him go under, put his face in the water and/or let go of the side of the pool. Needless to say, swimming lessons are a real bear for us!
We were given a grant for swimming lessons as therapy to help him with his back strength. Swimming is the best exercise we can give him for the muscles we need to develop. We put him into lessons at a private swimming school with our grant. His physical therapist has noticed a dramatic increase in his back strength between the exercises she does plus his swimming. He'll use his arms as long as his head is above water.
We've been at lessons this time for about 10 weeks. He's getting very comfortable with his teacher and she coaxes a little more out of him each week. Last week he tried to dunk himself under the water. Sean had him at lessons and said he got over his eyes (which to him would be fully under), but didn't quite get his head all the way in. Poppa challenged him to do it again and offered a $3 reward for putting his head in again.
So at swimming lessons this week, he told his teacher he'd get $3 if he put his head under. He did it once, but I missed it on film. I told him to do it again and these blurry photos are the result. He's all the way under.
Later in the lesson, they each took a sinking toy and threw it into the water. Then they had to dive under and get the toy. I couldn't get to the window fast enough to catch it on film, but Nathan went all the way under to get the toy...and came up not screaming and not crying. His teacher even had to push him down a bit for him to reach the toy.
Wow! What a breakthrough. We've learned with his Twice Exceptionality that he's super sensitive to sounds. That's part of the problem with swim lessons--it's too loud and too many echos. We've got custom ear plugs for this and that has helped. Then we discovered he has sensory issues and water is a huge sensory overload because it's everywhere on you at one time and you can't get away. We've never found a good way to combat this other than immersion therapy (no pun intended). Add to all of this a generalized fear of the water and we've had our share of trouble at lessons. (But it amazes me that he loves going to the water resort. Of course, life vests are encouraged and you don't have to get your head under unless you choose to.)
It was such a great night for Nathan. We're so proud of him for trying and coming so far.

The last thing they do every week at lessons is go down the slide. He has always resisted this activity, too. In the last few weeks, his teacher has been able to move away from the slide to catch him. Before she had to be touching the slide and catch him before he ever hit the water.



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