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  #1  
Old 08-26-2016
nid15
 
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Default Help teaching a 4.5 year old special needs kid

Hello everyone,

This is my first post here and I am not sure if it is the correct forum. If not, would appreciate if you can point me to a more appropriate one.
I have a 4.5 year non-verbal boy who is able to walk and run albeit clumsy. He loves being in the water and with the progressive floating backpack and dumbbell like floating device, he can keep cycling in the pool for a long time. I am not able to get him to kick with his body straight on the water. Even if I hold from the stomach, he would kick a few times and go back to cycling.
Also, does not want to put his face on the water or do bubbles in the water.
Appreciate any tips.

Thank you in advance
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  #2  
Old 08-26-2016
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Can you get him to blow bubbles in the water using a straw?

Is he comfortable being on his back in the water?


Bob
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  #3  
Old 08-26-2016
nid15
 
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I tried with those large noodles but I should try a small straw. Have not tried it.
He is not comfortable on back. I think he becomes very tense and so not able to float
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  #4  
Old 08-28-2016
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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If he is not comfortable on his back, then your best bet may be to get him comfortable putting his face in the water. The two principle obstacles people typically encounter when trying to teach this are: (1) getting the swimmer to put his mouth and nose underwater, and (2) getting the swimmer to put his eyes underwater. And the problem, in both cases, is that the swimmer is forced to experience sensations that are unfamiliar. So your goal should be to gradually make these unfamiliar situations seem familiar.

I recently saw the movie "The Life of Pi" and there's a scene in it in which a boy is "taught" to swim by throwing him in the water. That will probably work for some people. The problem is that the ones with whom the technique fails are likely to come out of it being even more afraid of the water than they were before. So a safer approach is to try to transform familiar sensations into the sensations he will experience when he is in the water.

One thing you could try to use are the sensations associated with bathing. Has he ever taken a shower and felt the water running over his head? Or has he ever had a cup of water poured over his head (or poured it over his own head)? Even taking water in his hands and using it to wash his face may help him to get used to the sensations he will experience when his face is in the water.

Blowing bubbles in the water with a straw can be a good preparation for doing it directly with his mouth and nose. Sometimes people find this less threatening if they begin by putting their face into a bowl while on dry land and then proceed to doing it in a pool.

If a swimmer is uncomfortable putting his eyes underwater, this can usually be remedied by having him wear goggles. Again, get him used to having the goggles on when he is on dry land, and let him experience what it is like to have water flow over his head (e.g., in a shower) while wearing them.

Let us know how you make out!


Bob
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  #5  
Old 08-28-2016
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Really we don't know enough about this person. If he is high-functioning or not, physically disabled, etc.

If you are not already you should probably work with him in a very shallow portion of the pool where he can stand easily. That way he has some 'control'. Deep water may be overwhelming for him at this point.

I think too, that very small steps and repetition are the way to go.

Also, building his trust/rapport with you is critical and may only come over a long period of time.

Our County has a list of designated special needs coaches. I wonder where they got their training.
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2016
nid15
 
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Thank you Bob for the detailed explanation. Much appreciated.
He complaints but not too much. His pain threshold is very high so probably he is ok with me putting his face under shower, dunking him, giving him a pool noodle and letting him duke it out etc. He will not do any of these on his own. His favorite is to wear the floating backpack, hold the floating dumbbell and keep cycling in the pool while singing some mmmm..tune. He is so happy doing it and evry day pushes me out to get to the pool.
As you say, I will keep pushing him a little bit at a time and hopefully one day he will do it on his own. If only there was a way to place a pizza under water...I could get him to do anything :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachBobM View Post
If he is not comfortable on his back, then your best bet may be to get him comfortable putting his face in the water. The two principle obstacles people typically encounter when trying to teach this are: (1) getting the swimmer to put his mouth and nose underwater, and (2) getting the swimmer to put his eyes underwater. And the problem, in both cases, is that the swimmer is forced to experience sensations that are unfamiliar. So your goal should be to gradually make these unfamiliar situations seem familiar.

I recently saw the movie "The Life of Pi" and there's a scene in it in which a boy is "taught" to swim by throwing him in the water. That will probably work for some people. The problem is that the ones with whom the technique fails are likely to come out of it being even more afraid of the water than they were before. So a safer approach is to try to transform familiar sensations into the sensations he will experience when he is in the water.

One thing you could try to use are the sensations associated with bathing. Has he ever taken a shower and felt the water running over his head? Or has he ever had a cup of water poured over his head (or poured it over his own head)? Even taking water in his hands and using it to wash his face may help him to get used to the sensations he will experience when his face is in the water.

Blowing bubbles in the water with a straw can be a good preparation for doing it directly with his mouth and nose. Sometimes people find this less threatening if they begin by putting their face into a bowl while on dry land and then proceed to doing it in a pool.

If a swimmer is uncomfortable putting his eyes underwater, this can usually be remedied by having him wear goggles. Again, get him used to having the goggles on when he is on dry land, and let him experience what it is like to have water flow over his head (e.g., in a shower) while wearing them.

Let us know how you make out!


Bob
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  #7  
Old 09-01-2016
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nid15 View Post
If only there was a way to place a pizza under water...I could get him to do anything :)
I'd experiment with it before trying it with him, but I'm pretty sure you can find plastic bags with waterproof seals at most grocery stores. So I think you really could put slices of pizza at the bottom of the pool.


Bob
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  #8  
Old 09-07-2016
sokiu
 
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I think he becomes very tense and so not able to float
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