3.15.2011

swim class

On Fridays I take Zane to an indoor swimming lesson. To be honest, we would not be paying for indoor off-season swimming lessons if he was not Autistic. Often these kiddos have low muscle tone, which is the case with him, and per his physical evaluations and Physical Therapist advice: swimming will help him. And it does. It's great for his core strength development and he LOVES it. Since team sports involve a lot of rules to remember and follow in addition to a great number of distractions- they are ultimately not ideal for him. I am sure there will come a time where we will try again, but right now is not that time.

I remember trying soccer before the diagnosis and he would literally stand in the middle of the field looking up at the sky smiling. Then at the end of the games he could cry because he began to realize everyone else made a goal and he wondered why he did not. It was not a positive experience for him. Sometimes all the noise and chaos in a room (or in this case a busy field) he slips into his own private world of comfort. Which means he makes odd faces and noises and seems to pretend to be deaf. It's like his coping mechanism for sensory overload. Again, pretty common for Autistic kids. And possibly typical kids- but I don't really know about that first hand for his age group.

So. Swimming. Generally, it goes well. He gets bored waiting his turn so he tends to tread water or splash the other kids in the face or throw anything he can reach across the pool. I adore and prefer the teachers that can let it roll off their back and redirect without being visibly irritated. It's not easy to do, but we are paying her to teach him and part of that means patience. We prepare them for this ahead of time so thet know what's in store for the expreince of teaching Zane. I have removed him from a lesson before by observing obvious lack of patience and it felt good to be his advocate. But did not feel good that even an independent sport where team mates are not relying on him can still come up challenging.

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The pool area is cased in like an aquarium with glass walls all around it. There are spectator chairs lined in front of the glass. It's always entertaining for me to observe the parents.

There is the mother with a foreign accent- I can't place it yet. I want to say Russian. She appears to be in her late 30s. She is not shaped like an American mother. She is lucky that way. Her eye brows are painted on with a brown/ grey pencil. She is very friendly with the girls at the front desk and they have lengthy conversations while her children swims. Her two children each get a sucker after their respective lessons. She spends a great deal of time in the bathroom with them getting them dressed and drying their hair after their lesson. Sometimes I wonder if my life with Zane in public spaces causes me to always be in fast forward, so maybe she is spending a regular amount of time like typical families might(?).

My favorite is the couple with the baby taking a lesson. The mother is still losing her baby weight gain. I know the feeling. I wonder if she put a lot on during her pregnancy or if she was a little larger before. Either way, I am guessing that is the reason the father is in the pool with the baby while she sits eagerly pressed against the glass watching every move. It's the best at the end of the lesson. They always try to communicate to each other through the thick glass unsuccessfully. It's like each week they forget that you can't hear through this glass wall. It normally results in the husband walking away to shower the baby seemingly frustrated, which leaves the wife dumbfounded. It's like they are trying to coordinate what to do next with this wet baby, but neither of them is really sure who does what- all through a glass wall in front of us. It is for sure their first and only child. She is standing at the recieving door with 5 bags filled with towels, snacks, clothing, toys and the kitchen sink. Their akward exchanges are the most entertaining to observe of the whole waiting room bunch. I look forward to them each week just as much I look forward to seeing Zane progress in his swimming skills. This is our final week here before we move him to a better swim place. I just might have to talk to her or sneak a picture because I will miss their interactions.

The mom with the screaming wins is my least favorite. She keeps them strapped into a double stroller the whole time as they scream and she visits with the friendly girls at the front counter. The boys are old enough to climb out of the stroller and play legos with Evan. It would really make it more enjoyable for the whole room if she just let them play with the toys like all the other kids do. Maybe she has reasons I don't know- that's always the trick in assuming and judging.

Evan loves the trucks and Sylvia loves to run into the boy's bathroom in addition to playing in the water fountain. They will have lessons in the summer at a more reasonably priced location. Those books were right, Autism does get expensive at times. And we have not even tried Biomedical Interventions yet.
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