Sunday, May 1, 2011

Swimming Lessons Are Fun

I wasn't quite sure how swimming lessons were going to proceed with Nolan. He certainly loves the water, and he is convinced he already knows how to swim. Matthew, being the sage, older brother, advised him: "No, Nolan. This is different. You can't touch the bottom in this pool." His words were said with a hint of dread, because Matthew is a wee bit terrified of water.

I was extremely relieved and happy to see the coordinator arrive. She was Matthew's infant swim teacher, and is aware of some of the medical hullabaloo we've gone through with Nolan, including the minor "he can't hear" issue. I talked to her for a second, explaining that he can hear within a distance of about 5 feet in a quiet environment, but that you have to shout if you get outside of that range. I had no idea how he would fare in the poor acoustic environment of the indoor pool.

The coordinator called down a second life guard to get into the pool with Nolan. This turned out to be a very good idea, since it is hard for people to remember that he can't hear. The practical implications of this become very obvious when the teacher tells the class to get their float packs. Nolan didn't hear the instruction, so he just started walking down the side of the pool with another class. The second life guard realized he was wandering off, and told him to stop (which Nolan couldn't hear). Fortunately, the guard realized this fairly quickly, and went to physically stop him and help him back to the rack containing the flotation backpacks.

This happened a few times - Nolan ended up sitting with the wrong class or wandering off in the wrong direction at the beginning of the class. Once he was sitting on the edge of the pool (and facing his teachers at all times) things got a little easier.

I am going to make up a set of simple sign-language flashcards, because it is quite apparent that Nolan can't hear anything in the pool area. He did really well, despite not hearing, because he absolutely loves the water. He was squealing with delight and splashing at the water as he took his turn swimming in the water with his appointed life guard.

I was worried about how he would cope without his hearing during swimming lessons, but the YMCA has bent over backwards to make sure he is (1) safe, and (2) getting an appropriate level of instruction by adding in a second teacher to the class.

You can see how much fun the little guy is having during class - if you can see his face in the video below, he is all smiles!

[There is no audio/speech in the video, just background noise from the pool environment]


MB said...

Can't believe that's only his first lesson - he's doing great!

leah said...

He's a natural! Matthew, on the other hand, has taken about 60 lessons and STILL can't use the kickboard on his own!

Magic Ear Kids said...

I'm glad they made that accommodation for him! Our classes aren't until July. We took an ASL workshop yesterday which has helped our vocabulary considerably. Getting her to look at us is another problem entirely!

This is the blogger formerly known as Joey of BTaC, by the way!

rouchi said...

Wow, that looks like a lot of fun and am glad he is loving it.Good going and happy swimming!

Julia said...

I'm glad he's off to such a good start! Y'know, I'm just not ready for swim lessons yet. Based on Ben's personality and his painful reluctance to push himself toward mastering any sort of physical task, I fear it would be too much of an ordeal. It's hard enough to get him to try pedaling a tricycle when his sound is on; trying to navigate across that treacherous terrain without sound is beyond me.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

That's awesome, Leah! Good for the "Y", for how they're accommodating him, and good for him for being such a go-getter!

Terena said...

wonderful! well done Nolan. You look like a champ out there.