Monday, March 14, 2016

Children's Swimming Lessons, Illness & Chronic Condition

Health and Ability: Children's Swimming Lessons


I get it! You are concerned that you or your child will get stigmatized if you say anything at the Children's Swimming Lessons. But sometimes we have to know.

More than that, the more you educate the less stigmatizing there will be and I promise you that any swim teacher or swim school worth their salt will only thank you for the knowledge. Your child will not suffer in any way for them knowing. If the School or teachers don't behave well, change schools or teachers, you don't want them teaching your child.

If you child has been ill recently you may be affecting the whole class. A simple check with your swimming program coordinator could avoid all that.

If your child has any kind of chronic conditions such as epilepsy or asthma you need to let your swim teacher know. These conditions do not usually exclude a child from swimming however it is important that we are aware of them.

Image of child giving thumbs up under water: Children's Swimming Lessons
Tell The Coordinator of Illness
& Chronic Condition
Picture this scenario: your child has epilepsy or asthma and no one knows about it and they have an attack.

The teacher follows procedure and instead of calling you over immediately calls the life guard.

The life guard does all the right things to make sure your child is safe and looked after but procedure requires that an ambulance is call as from their point of view the child has no prior history of such an attack.

You see what is happening and immediately come over to explain the situation. However it is too late now the ambulance has been called they have to attend.

Can you begin to see what a mess this is developing into. Everybody is upset including yourself and the ambulance service may even issue you with a bill for their attendance even if you never use them.

Lets take another scenario: a teacher quietly takes your child aside and says Anna I need you to concentrate a little more you are disrupting the class and if you don't start to behave I will sit you out. But what the teacher doesn't know is that the child is Autistic, had a cold recently and is finding the water too cold or had a loss recently. Sitting them on the side in this situation will not help. If only you had said something the teaching method would have been a whole lot different.

I had a child in one of my children's swimming lessons that had a mental condition that I had never experienced before and the child presented in every way as being a perfectly straight forward child. The child began to have trouble and gave every indication that they were just not trying and I said to her you need to try harder. But the child was trying as hard as they could.

Had I know about this child's condition my response would have been very different.

Don't get me wrong, I do not believe in limiting children to my expectations. I've had many children in my class who have exceeded every expectation I or anybody else had of them because I never assume a child can't do something. What ever the problem, there is always another way around it. I would never have stopped trying to get that child to reach that goal but I would have used a whole range of different tactics until I found one that worked. The range of abilities I have taught is extensive and the success I have is well recognized by the parents of the children I teach because of this.

Better still, more often than not using different teaching methods for the one child has spin off benefits for the other children.

Another child I had in another of my children's swimming lessons had server autism and it was assumed by everyone, even me after months of trying everything I knew that she would only even enjoy the water not swim in it. Until one day I saw her imitating the children in the class in the next lane. This was fascinating, she would not let me or anybody else even touch her to show her what to do but she would happily copy other children.

With much convincing I got this child into a normal class and although the teacher was never able to touch her to help her or show her anything she learned to swim by copying the other children.

But I have to know. I am not a doctor I can't diagnose.

Please talk to the swim teacher and swim lesson coordinator. You can only make things better for your child and every other child in the children's swimming lessons.

Enjoy
   Richard

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