Okay, a little background info. Ds has not been diagnosed with anything except hypotonia, but we have seen many signs of Asperger's in him and my husband. We are still waiting for an evaluation from EI.
Anyway, ds has always been slow to warm up in new situations. It took him over 6 weeks to get used to being in his toddler gym class. Now I started him in a toddler "swim" class. It is not really swimming, but singing, etc. in the water to get them used to the pool.
All the other kids went right into the water without a fuss. Ds refused to put on his swim diaper and trunks, and we sat by the side of the pool the whole time. I didn't really care, because I knew to expect this. We did the same thing at gym class for way over 12 sessions.
My question is, what is the longest a child ever took to get used to getting in the pool? I have taken him on my own at our pool in the bldg, and I have barely gotten him to dip his feet in. I thought I would get some ideas at this class, but it is only 5 weeks long and I wonder if we will spend the whole time just watching.
We have used video modeling to help prepare our son for new and/or stressful experiences. He was about to start preschool a few weeks ago, so I went in and video taped his classroom and starting routines along with narrative. "First we go in the door, then we find J's cubby and hang up belongings, etc." We included video of his teachers and their names. He visited once before starting and we watched the video several times. The first day of school, he started repeating the narrative and walked right in the class and said hello to all the teachers. Perhaps you and a therapist or spouse or friend could do something similar at the pool. "Time for swim class. Put on your suit, walk to the ladder, here is teacher X, let's get in the water, etc." My son has always been able to mimic what a therapist or whoever did in the video. It has really eased his anxiety. Good luck!
I take pictures of places and let my son look at them and use them like flash cards. I really like the video idea! My son has a hard time with new places. He really protested about wearing swimming trunks. until I took my boys to the creek. At first he would only throw rocks in the water, when he started to get used to it he would slowly go further into the water, but for hours he would not let his shorts get wet, he would walk around in the water holding up the bottom of his shorts, like a lady holding her dress up, out of the mud. By the end of the day he finally just got too hot and tired of holding his shorts and he finally gave in. I bought him a kiddy pool. He loves it. Then to teach my boys to swim I bought the big 3ft pool. When I first put him in he clung to me not even letting his toes touch, I just held him for a while, then said ok Cadence Iím putting you down. He wined and ran around in circles in a panic, in less than two minutes, his body started getting used to the water, I could see the change come over his face from a panic to pure joy. He then started jumping and singing- Jump, Jump, Jump, Bouncy Bouncy, The thing I love about the creek is, unlike a pool that goes from steps to a 3ft drop. It starts off very shallow, the kids can take their time getting used to the water and the different depths. Itís also very therapeutic to listen to the water and throw in rocks and sticks. Most of the time public pools are very noisy, I can see how it could be intimidating. If you donít have any natural water close by, maybe a water park would not only get him used to water but the noise as well. I would at least pick a place and time were you can just spend all day letting him get used to it at his own pace with no pressure.
I've never learned how to swim. I hate getting wet. It's one of my major sensory issues. I have enough trouble getting a shower, let alone swim. It also is probably attributed to the fact that I had a very bad experience as a child with my idiotic biological father in a swim class...
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
gatsbylvr, that is exactly what I am trying to avoid is a bad experience with the pool. Sorry that happened to you. He hated to take a bath from the time he was born up until about the age of 2. Somehow he has gotten over it, but it has been a long road of "babying," in some people's words. I give him plenty of notice before I wet his hair, try to give him as much control as possible, and pretty much talked him through every step from the time he was born. Now he will take a bath no problem, but swimming is our next hurdle.
It is really hard for me. I almost started to cry on our second day at the pool because all the other kids were jumping right in, he was still refusing to even have his swim diaper on, let alone get near the water. I just dreaded the thought of doing things in tiny increments in front of all the other parents, some of whom I'm sure were thinking that I was making him this way.
Well, we take him to a lake several times in the summer, and he has no fear there. Last time he wanted to jump in off the boat, which is why we decided it was time to get him into a toddler "swim" class. He will dip his feet in the pool at our apt complex, but I haven't gotten him all the way in yet.
I think for him, water is part of the issue, but it's also the fact that it is a new environment with a lot of new people. Well, somehow we will get through it. I remember being this discouraged when he was getting used to his gym class(which took 10 wks), and now it is the highlight of his week for him and for me, because I get to see him running around and having fun instead of hiding behind the equipment like he did when we first started.