Sunday, July 19, 2015

Swimming Lessons, again

Last summer, Julianna made lots of progress in swimming with Jenna, a girl who had just graduated from high school and was teaching swim lessons in her backyard pool. Julianna was able to go underwater several times, and attempt swimming from one side of the pool to the other. When she jumped into the deep end, she would literally sink to the bottom like a stone, and this worried me, greatly. She did not know how to naturally come up and swim to the edge of the pool, a crucial skill. But we didn't discover this until the end of our session, so there wasn't much we could do about it. And though she made lots of progress last summer, life goes on, and not being near a pool to practice ends up meaning she loses all her progress from last summer. We found this out in the last few weeks, while we've been swimming at our local gym's pool as a family a few nights a week. She will not go under water anymore, and the inability to come up from a deep part is very distressing to me.

So this summer we made a goal for her to work on just that one skill: be able to jump in a deep end, come up, and swim to the edge for safety. We've attempted this at the pool so far, but nothing. And so Joel and I knew we had to do more. It was time for her to learn to swim, once and for all, mostly because we wanted to know she would never drown in a deep pool, and also because she can't enjoy herself in the water. She misses out on so much fun because of this fear. I wasn't sure who to turn to for the right help, and then I remembered that her regional center case worker sent an email a few months ago about nearby swim lessons for special needs kids. I had read the email at the time, but none of them seemed right for her, so I disregarded it. But something told me to look at that email again, and as I scrolled down the list, one place stood out to me.

I went to their website, and found out that they offer private lessons for kids with all types of special needs, all ages, and they individualize it to each child's level. I called the director of the facility, and told her about Julianna, and she said they could definitely help, and that on the first day, the teacher would ask what I specifically wanted Julianna to learn during the course of the lessons. It sounded perfect. I was glad to know these teachers were specially trained to help kids like Julianna. I didn't even know this place existed until now, though they've been in the area for about 5 years. The only catch: it's a 40-min drive one way for a 30-min private lesson, and it will be Mon-Thurs for the next two weeks. I felt unsure about driving so far for just a 30-minute lesson, especially knowing that we are spending hard-earned money for this, not even knowing if it will work. Talk about a leap of faith! And then I remembered back to 5 years ago, when we had to do the same thing to help Julianna potty train. We found an ABA agency to come to our home, and we were willing to pay them out of pocket for potty training help, not even knowing that it would prove successful. A huge leap of faith on our part, but it turned out great. She potty trained. So why not do the same with swim lessons, another major life skill? A potentially life-saving skill?

So we did it. We paid for the lessons. We even signed Blake up for a group class at the same time so he wouldn't be bored in the hot sun while we were there. We will be driving 40-min one way, Mon-Thursday, for the next few weeks, hoping and praying that all our time, effort, and money will pay off, and that Julianna will finally conquer her fear and be safe in water. To say I am nervous is an understatement.

Raising children is sometimes about taking leaps of faith into the unknown, trusting that the decisions you make will bring good results, lasting results. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It takes great courage and sacrifice.

I will update as much as I can as the swim lessons progress! Wish us luck, and say a prayer for Julianna. She needs this life skill so badly.

No comments:

Post a Comment