Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Adaptive" Swimming

We have always had to coax David out of the bathtub—to cajole him or bribe him or when all else has failed, try to get a good grip on his slippery skin and lift him out.

If left to his own devices, David would stay long past the time when his fingers and toes shrivel up and the water grows cold and the few remaining bubbles cluster together at the edges near the porcelain.

David has a love affair with the water.  He loves being in the bathtub or pool, playing with the hose, or even watching the automatic sprinkler on the lawn, waiting patiently until the light catches the mist just right to form a rainbow.

In an effort to capitalize on this interest, David has been enrolled in swimming lessons for a couple of years.  He took several sessions of “adaptive” swimming, designed to teach kids with challenges including autism and obviously, adapted to their needs.

You see, I had determined that swimming would be the perfect sport for David—a team sport, but not really a team sport.  And although I do not anticipate he will be the next Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte, maybe he will be able participate on a swim team during junior high or high school.

We are always wondering how David will fit in, and looking for his strengths, which are numerous and though they may not include terms like conversationalist, certainly do include traits like clever, enterprising and resourceful.

When it became clear that David had outgrown the adaptive swimming routine of dog paddling around the pool chasing a ball, we enrolled him in some private lessons several weeks ago and while he may love being in the pool, he is not accustomed to being asked to work on strokes, kick his legs, build endurance.

Michael took him to his Sunday afternoon lesson and although he had been watching, I am sure he was also using the opportunity to answer some e-mails on his blackberry.  So, when he heard the swimming teacher utter a sharp “HEY,” it got his attention.

“YOU ARE WALKING!  I thought you were SWIMMING,” she scolded.

Sometimes, adaptive means adjusting an activity for David’s level of skill or providing extra assistance to him in some way.

But, I have found that many other times, adaptive means adjusting our own expectations when we have underestimated David’s abilities and his strengths.

Did I mention that he is clever, enterprising and resourceful?

1 comment: