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School swimming and getting changed - wwyd?

(19 Posts)
WilsonFrickett Wed 11-Sep-13 14:11:19

DS has just started a fairly long block of swimming lessons with school.
He told me yesterday he's upset because he and another boy are always asked to leave the pool early, because they take too long to get dressed after the lesson. He misses 'the fun bit' every week because of this.

WWYD? On the one hand, I can see school's point - he probably is the last to get changed (planning difficulties/easily distracted) and I know they only have a short amount of time to get changed and walk back to school.

On the other hand, it does seem unfair he is missing the fun part of the lesson.

But on the other, other hand, he and the little boy he gets sent out with were both last getting ready yesterday so their tactic of sending them out isn't working (I suspect a lot of carrying-on is happening when they're in the changing rooms by themselves).

I want to speak to the teacher about it because I don't think it's really fair, and also because I don't think they plan to give them another chance at coming out at the same time as the others. But I'd like to propose a solution (because they'll ask me to... cynical? Me?).

Any advice wise ones?

amistillsexy Wed 11-Sep-13 14:21:08

When my DS was 'too slow' getting changed I found the best thing was to take him swimming a lot and let him get changed in a cubicle next to mine. The practice really helped speed him up for school swimming (eventually!). I was also able to notice what he was getting 'stuck' with, and let him practice this at home (buttons!).

I also encouraged him to dry himself properly- often, boys don't even bother to get dry and then wonder why their clothes don't 'slide' on!

If you try this, try dressing him in similar clothes to those he wears for school, and don't let him shower afterwards. IME, it's harder to dry and dress if you don't shower, so you need to replicate the same conditions as school swimming.

One more thing for the teacher to think about- are they sharing cubicles, or giving one each? Sharing usually leads to one, dominant, child pushing the other out of the way, or kids messing about too much. In my years and years of taking school kids swimming, I always tried to get them their own cubicle, and kept the slow ones near to the door for a quicker getaway!

Oh, and another thing, if they're travelling by coach, no need to be too bundled up in coats, jumpers, etc. unless it's bitterly cold. The fewer clothes they take, the fewer they need to put back on/collect afterwards.

WilsonFrickett Wed 11-Sep-13 14:24:17

There aren't any cubicles, it's an open changing room, I think that's part of the problem...

I've already said we'll forget his jumper next week and he doesn't have to do his buttons (though how that will work in winter as they walk... cross that when we come to it.).

He does get changed on his own after his non-school lesson, but I will do more practice at home too.

mimbles Wed 11-Sep-13 17:11:09

Guess there are lots of distractions when changing communally. My ds(10) hates it, but his irritation slows him down even more!
I always tell my son to dry head down to feet. Would agree practise is the key.
Could the school let him use a cubicle, perhaps near communal area and see if that helps?

WilsonFrickett Wed 11-Sep-13 17:41:01

There's only a disabled cubicle (it's a school pool) so I'm not sure if that would make him stand out even more?

mimbles Wed 11-Sep-13 18:25:38

Ah! Not a good option then sad

capticorn1 Fri 13-Sep-13 10:11:35

If your DS has difficulty with changing and he is not helped then making him get out of the pool early could be considered as discrimination.

If on the other hand it is because of mucking about then maybe there should be a staff member there in order to supervise.

Either way it seems like he is being treated unfavourably, and in this instance I would be talking to his teacher and senco.

WilsonFrickett Fri 13-Sep-13 11:52:57

Yep, I'm going to talk to the teacher today along those lines. I fear I'm starting to see a pattern emerging with school <sigh>. Here we go again...

WilsonFrickett Fri 13-Sep-13 13:18:31

Update: CT hadn't been going with them so was unaware he was being asked to leave early. First week he kept them waiting for 15 mins blush because he wouldn't get out of the shower.

Will work out a shower countdown system with DS at the weekend and share with school, who are going to have him come out just as things are winding down, rather than 10 mins early. This on the basis that DS does his best to be quick, which is fine, he sometimes needs a bit of stick rather than carrot.

Was impressed by CT, first confrontation proper meeting with her.

capticorn1 Fri 13-Sep-13 16:35:27

Lol at a bit of stick rather than carrot, my DS was just like that (and still is).

Great that the CT is listening.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 17:54:33

Well. This week they let him come out at the same time as everyone else.
He then kept them waiting for 5 minutes.
This to me of course is a victory - last time he kept him waiting for 15 minutes, so he's sped up by 10 mins.
But they want him to come out early next week.

Am seeing HT tomorrow anyway. But not sure how hard to push. DS was delighted he got his full time but was then all sad 'I'll have to come out early next week mummy'.

okthatsweird Wed 18-Sep-13 21:42:48

How did the meeting go wilson? the reason I ask is my Ds has the same going on at swimming but it isn't due to the showers its because of the time he takes to get changed.

WilsonFrickett Wed 18-Sep-13 22:39:00

Generally the meeting went well but we're at a bit of a sticking point on the swimming. HT pov is others can't be kept waiting. And tbf he took ages after his lesson tonight so I can see where she's coming from. Ct is going swimming this week so is willing to give him one more go.

He said he doesn't like getting changed with the other boys. So after his lesson tonight I told him to go in the disabled cubicle, but then he said it was too quet and lonely.

<Le sigh>

He is in his normal midweek tired slump so I will float 'being private' (disabled changing) again at the weekend.

okthatsweird Thu 19-Sep-13 13:20:18

Hmm it's a toughie isn't it?, My Ds was embarrassed about getting dressed in front of others but CT had already suggested he used a cubicle next time, and I made a laminated check list to keep him focused while changing. He said he was at the front of the line this week but he gives his list to the TA hmm......will see if I can squeeze some more info out of him tonight. smile

JustGettingOnWithIt Thu 19-Sep-13 13:45:20

Not knowing what your ds’s problems are and if ours are relevant: ds has major systemising difficulties as well as motor skill issues, amongst other things that make all forms of dressing and undressing a big issue for him regardless of age or stage.

His not wanting to change around the others may well be just him, but do keep your ears open.

The separating out of ds and another boy to give them a time lead changing, and being at different stages of dressing when the rest of the class poured in, lead to ‘lord of the flies’ style attempted sexually based abuse by their classmates, something I hope was just our lot but it also tuned out there was no adult supervision for CP reasons!

He's always had major difficulties around dressing especially before and after swimming despite me taking him twice a week to disabled swim session, and training him, but while it’s massively reduced the timescale, (from over an hour) he still holds everyone up, so in the end I’ve gone for pick my battles and accepted we have bigger issues to try and pour energy into making better, but a few things that helped reduce ds’s problems:

Special swimming shirt. All buttonholes sewn up and buttons removed from normal function and sewn onto buttonholes for show only, and small Velcro dots underneath. His dots were colour sharpied for a long time, as he didn’t ‘see’ when he’d wrongly fastened, (buttons or Velcro) leading to a lot of jeering.

Tie (if applicable) remaining tied just loosened for removal

Heavier but not heavy, towelling sports socks on swimming days (go onto slightly damp feet easier)

Trousers also quietly velcroed. Velcro fastening shoes if possible.

Microfibre towels for head and feet. Leave him feeling drier so more prepared to start dressing. Teaching him to lay one on the floor to stand on, to get feet drier quicker.

Hanging travel shower bag with transparent pockets so he can see shampoo, brush, deodorant, timer, etc and isn’t hunting or trying to decision make under pressure. plastic bag for wet stuff in it.

Combined shower gel and shampoo so one bottle for everything. Again reducing decision making and looking for things. Accepting any showering/hair will need redoing at home.

Training him to put a lot of systemising energy into how he undresses and lay his clothes into reverse order pile, and towels beside them. (cue others destroying this!)

Having a very clear ordering system of tasks to get dry and dressed and stuff into bags.

When in school, very clear rules about not being involved in horseplay (he always came of badly as well as disrupted)

In practise sessions, a timer so he can see and hear how much times passed and where he’s at.

Possibly your ds is too young for the last one, but, as ds’s far more able in the water (despite early difficulties) than he is in the changing room; learning lifeguard skills. It’s made a massive difference both to his sense of competency in the face of difficulties, and given him something he can do, which others can’t.

WilsonFrickett Thu 19-Sep-13 13:53:11

Thanks for your post Just there are definitely some things I can pick out from there to try.

I too was a bit hmm at 'we don't go into the changing rooms because of CP'. Erm, who is protecting the children in the changing rooms then!

WilsonFrickett Thu 19-Sep-13 13:53:47

OK let me know how you go tonight. I can feel a SNswimmingSupportGroup coming on thanks

okthatsweird Wed 25-Sep-13 13:38:10

Just there's some really good suggestions there especially the shirt. My Ds does have 'what seems like' fine/gross motor difficulties we are waiting on an OT assessment to see about this.

Wilson I spoke to my Ds I have to catch him when he is talkative grin he said It's hard I asked him in what way he said a) his clothes are all inside out b) he is tired from swimming c) he can't get his socks on (he dresses in a particular order so if he can't get his socks on he wont do anything else until he does) the TA now stands outside the cubicle giving him instructions...he likes this because he doesn't feel lonely anymore everyone else is paired up he is on his own so he doesn't get distracted, and she asks everyone to be quiet so he can hear her instructions. His old TA used to shout from the changing room door and he thought she was cross with him which made him scared and he would forget to put his vest or underpants on and end up getting undressed again which took him longer. I think just has covered most of what he said with her suggestions.

My dd had similar problems getting dressed last year in year 4. She has dyspraxia, hyper sensitivity and learning delays. She said she ws alwasy last, her main problem is getting dry and putting her socks on. Even at home I have to help her dry or she has a complete melt down. I'm determined to get her drying herself by the time swimming resumes next term adn will use the above suggestions!

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