Our journey through autism

Posts tagged ‘swimming’

Summer 2013

I’ve been meaning to write for the longest time, but busy with one thing or another, so now I have to back track… school started last week and I wanna write up about that as well, but first let me sum up our summer and then write up about school and therapy and anything else.

Summer was kinda busy, at the beginning of the summer he had his piano recital, horse show, and 2 summer camps. I’ve already written about all those except his second camp, the YMCA summer day camp.

We did 1 month of Y camp and 2 weeks of swimming, and he had a lot of fun, he doesn’t say much about his day but he was happy to go every morning and was happy when I picked him up, it was from 8:45 to 4 every week day and it helped him sleep easily at night. He started the day with swim lessons which I think have helped him be more confident in the water and a better swimmer. There was arts and crafts, sports, nature and because of a lot of bad rainy days there were also indoor activities and movies. Hoping to do it again next year but maybe add an extra session or 2 to fill up his summer, he gets bored and restless during the long days. One day in the car after camp he asked me if he could be a camp counselor when he grew up so I take it that he had fun even if he didn’t tell me about his days and why he was having fun. He got really tan and also got several bug bites that he scratched at incessantly, the was the downside, and I couldn’t spray him something before he went in the morning because he started the day with swimming and it would have been washed off.

After 4 weeks of camp we did 2 weeks of swimming. It was 4 times a week every morning so he got the most benefit, also the instructor he had was better than the previous one. He was the oldest and most advanced in his class, I could see the improvement in his confidence and swimming abilities, he kept his head under water longer, and was able to swim a little on his front and on float on his back. At the end of the 2 week session the instructor filled out the report in detail and not just quickly marking off the form. She suggested he repeat Pike 2 because he was unable to swim the required distance but other than that he was ready for the next class. Not sure yet when we should restart classes or move on to something else.

Progress to date

Alhamdullah Bilal continues to make progress with all his therapies and classes. I’ve heard it more than once from his therapists that he’s their little success story. Quick update list below.

Speech: His private speech therapist is considering depending on his annual re-evaluation in June to discharge him. His myofunctional therapist is almost done with articulation and will soon move on to improving chewing and swallowing. I’m looking forward to that as he’s a messy eater, looks like he’s a famished caveman devouring his food, he tends to over-stuff and gag. Strangers understand him now clearly and he’s able to ask and answer questions. He can read some words, and spell and he’s great with math and numbers and patterns.

OT: His private OT therapist is considering depending on his annual re-evaluation in September to discharge him.

PT: In January he had his annual evaluation where he met all his goals except those concerning throwing/catching a ball and upper body strength. It’s mainly for fine tuning and a lot of the time she works him like an athlete getting specified exercise. He’s doing so well that his therapist is considering using Bilal’s progress in their case studies and she’s asked me to write a summary to be placed on the center’s website for other parents to read about.

Piano lessons: He’s down to only 1 color sticker on the piano, he knows his finger placement and his notes to date and he’s just a little music genius when he’s in the mood and not acting all silly. His teacher is saying he’ll be ready for the spring recital in June. Cant wait, he’ll do 2 solos and 1 duet with her.

Swimming: Bilal’s taking typical swim lessons at the YMCA and he’s completed the first class (PIKE 1) and just started PIKE 2, this class has a total of 4 kids and so far he’s the weakest swimmer but he can repeat it again if needed, overall he’s doing well.

Horseback riding: He’s riding solo, steering the horse by the reigns, going through the obstacle course all the while trotting and posting, he looks like a little cowboy.

Socially: The other day we were at McDonald’s and at the table behind us a group of boys maybe 7 years old were playing with their wind-up toys and Bilal was watching them the whole time while he ate with a smile on his face, one of their toys fell below our table and Bilal gave it back saying “here you go” and when the boy took it and said “Thank you” Bilal got this huge smile on his face it was adorable, we urged him to go play with them, so he went up “Can I play with you?” thankfully they said yeah and he tagged around with them the whole time, not really with them as they were already friends and older but they still included him. He didn’t look weird only shy like any typical kid.  He’s playing really well with his younger brother, sharing, taking turns, asking and answering questions, fighting, again all typical. Another thing, we’re currently potty training his little brother and doing the whole sticker chart every time he goes in the potty so the first day we were of course making a big deal, cheering, stickers, high fives etc and Bilal was getting jealous as expected wanting a sticker when he went to the bathroom too. I sat him down and explained to him that he was feeling jealous but that he shouldn’t because he’s a big boy been using the potty for 3 years now and when he was learning he got stickers and toys, and a fancy potty chair and he learnt and did a good job but now it’s his brother’s turn. Just needed to say it once after that every time his brother used the potty he would cheer along with us and run and get the sticker chart for his brother looking truly and sincerely happy for him.

Other: due to his speech delays we concentrated only on English therapy and speaking it around the house. Now we’ve added more Arabic and he’s picking it up slowly a few words, not too badly pronounced and soon inshaAllah we want to include him in a Sunday program to learn more Arabic and Quran and have more Arab or Muslim peer interactions and maybe friends. They also do a little of Spanish at school which he enjoys and picking it up well.

I cant say it enough alhamdullah (Thank God) he’s doing amazing and I also cant help I get all teary when I think about it, so proud of him.

Adaptive Aquatics

One of the things we really wanted to get Bilal into was swimming. He loves the water but he has no structure and of course cannot swim or float independently. I searched a lot online for somewhere that offered adaptive aquatics that’s swimming classes but with teachers knowledgeable of special needs requirements. My searches came out bust or places too far away to be practical. At the special needs camps expo I was on the lookout for swimming classes and thankfully found a center called Unique Therapy Services, they offer adaptive aquatics and aquatic therapy. They offer the classes at a local hotel’s swimming pool and one only 5 minutes away. We set an appointment and went. It turns out is run by a middle aged couple and a couple other therapists. Most clients were present for aquatic physical therapy with a lot of underwater stretching and exercises. Bilal had the option of doing either one but as he’s already taking PT, OT, horse back riding and soon also hippo-therapy (will elaborate in another post) I decided he didn’t need more therapy just normal swimming lessons will be enough. The teacher is in the water with him while he’s wearing a swimming vest around his chest and waist and they throw out rubber ducks or other floating toys and go swim and collect them, he’s learning to kick properly, to blow and spit if the water gets into his face, and just gaining confidence in the water and he loves it, a huge smile on his face the whole time and always saying “by myself” and wanting to get the farthest toy and swim around the whole pool, he even changed the vest to a thinner belt and learnt to bounce in the water till the water reached his nose. The teacher says he’ll be swimming in no time. They offer classes in sessions of 4 lessons each so we’ll take 2 sessions and see from there, by the time he finishes those it will be summer so perfect timing. 

Tag Cloud