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To ask to go along to the swimming lessons to supervise disabled DS?

(25 Posts)
ImBatDog Fri 02-Jan-15 21:11:34

8yo DS's yr3 class start swimming lessons this term.. i'm honestly terrified.

I really, really, at the moment, cannot foresee a time when i trust the school to take him to the swimming pool, allow him to get changed and access to water with minimal supervision... never mind the getting dried/dressed afterwards.

I really don't know what to do about it. He's been swimming before, but only ever with DH and I and always in a 1-2-1 supervision scenario where one or even both of us are on hand at all times.

He has DCD/Dyspraxia, Sensory Processing disorder and is currently being referred by CAMHS for ASD and ADHD, something thats only got to this stage this week after a home visit/assessment by CAHMS.

Armed with this news, and knowing how challenging his behaviour can be around swimming pools and water, and how prone he is to meltdown at the pool.... and being DBS/CRB checked school volunteer and a confident and competent swimmer, would i be entirely unreasonable to ask to go along to the swimming lesson for the first few sessions to be on hand for him until i can be sure he's safe?

Asleeponasunbeam Fri 02-Jan-15 21:12:37

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

joanne1947 Fri 02-Jan-15 21:13:18

Is it a school for children with special needs? If so they are probably organised for this.

ImBatDog Fri 02-Jan-15 21:20:33

No, its mainstream.. this thing has kind of snowballed, it started with dyspraxia and the rest has been diagnosed/added as he's got older and the process has carried on.

He's fine in mainstream, he's got a good IEP and a brilliant SENCO, but this is the public swimming pool and not the school gym... IMHO, its a whole different ball game of him needing constant supervision around water!

Lifesalemon Fri 02-Jan-15 21:24:32

Have you spoken to them about your concerns? Have they done a risk assessment? Is it a mainstream school or SE?
I work in special education and we would do everything we could to be well prepared with adequate staffing levels etc to meet everyone's individual needs but we would also welcome your support and would have no problem with you attending every session if you wanted to.

Lifesalemon Fri 02-Jan-15 21:25:04

Sorry xposted

WineWineWine Fri 02-Jan-15 21:30:42

I think you should talk to the school about your concerns but it think it is perfectly reasonable of you to want to go.

BarbarianMum Fri 02-Jan-15 21:31:46

Tbh I think a more ideal solution would be for you to liaise with the school to ensure that they provide suitable support for your ds. Or do you feel that no amount of support would do the trick?

RandomMess Fri 02-Jan-15 21:34:01

I think you need to liaise with the school and tell them the issues and then offer your solution of going with them wink

I don't think you sound unreasonable at all.

CrohnicallyCold Fri 02-Jan-15 21:34:36

The school I work at often asks for parent helpers to come along anyway, in order to have an adequate ratio of adults to children. As you are DBS checked, there should be no problem you going along to supervise, particularly if you explain how challenging he is at the swimming pool.

The school may refuse on the grounds that they would rather take a 'wait and see' approach (as his behaviour when swimming with school may be very different to swimming with family), in which case forewarned is forearmed and they can do a risk assessment and assign a member of staff to do 1-1 with him, using disabled facilities if available.

ImBatDog Fri 02-Jan-15 21:41:26

Life, i haven't had chance to speak to them, i didn't realise the swimming was this school year, i only found out in the newsletter to do with the terms curriculum that came home on the last day.

I wanted to sound out if it was reasonable to suggest i go along or if i was mad for suggesting it ;)

ImBatDog Fri 02-Jan-15 21:45:24

Barbarian, while we have an excellent Senco, there are still some glaring incidents where i've ended up having to fight retrospective fires because his teachers and TA have got it spectacularly wrong... even the CAMHs lady was gobsmacked when i told her about the one incident last term!

Water and slippery floors and his tendency to freak out on a sensory level about things and the possible fallout from that aren't something i really want to be having to deal with after the fact.

AngelCauliflower Fri 02-Jan-15 21:49:17

My ds who has autism and immature motor skills needs extra help with swimming. I don't think he is safe in group lessons so he gets one to one lessons or one to two. There is no way I would let him go to a group lesson with his school unless it was agreed he would have someone with him to make sure he was safe. I think you are right to discuss this with the school and ask of you can be there.

MillionToOneChances Sat 03-Jan-15 00:37:33

I would ask to see their risk assessment to reassure you (or spot problems early!). I've gone swimming with children with additional needs in both mainstream and special schools. It does sound as though he'd need a 1-to-1 in that environment, but it doesn't necessarily need to be you.

jThompson Sat 03-Jan-15 10:14:40

I'm in a similar position and wondering what to do. We have had the chance to flag up the possible issues and school have sounded fairly receptive. They are able to provide a TA to be in the water with him which I'm fairly happy with (having seen her in action with a child in my eldests year at swimming). Our issue is more about changing as DS isn't really able to manage that when still damp, and certainly not at the speed they will need of him. The senco felt this probably needed two adults for their child protection policy, but as yet they have not been identified.

With my eldests year they needed a couple of parentsncor the walk over, on one hand I'm thinking if I volunteer I could just change DS. However it would be nice if for once I'm not forced into that and the school sort themselves out.

Icimoi Sat 03-Jan-15 10:20:21

The school has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to compensate for your child's disability, including providing one to one support at the pool. If you prefer to be the person providing the support, I suspect they'd be delighted as it means they don't have to pay.

Has he got a statement? If not, I suggest you make a formal request for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment immediately.

indyandlara Sat 03-Jan-15 10:30:41

Check that the school have not already got someone in place to be with him 1:1. A risk assessment will have been carried out for this and your son's needs should have been considered.

If you want to go and help/supervise then I am sure that they will be happy to have you. However, as a teacher I get really fed up with parents being asked to come and supervise their child so that the child can have full access to the curriculum. This should not be your responsibility. Over the last few years I have had several parents who have had to come along or their child wouldn't be able to go swimming. This puts a completely unfair burden on their parent. What happens if they work? What happens if they just need a break?

Balaboosta Sat 03-Jan-15 10:47:42

Yes, ask to go. I did this with DS with ASD. It was great, he definitely needed me and it was a lovely way to get to know all the classmates a bit.

Balaboosta Sat 03-Jan-15 10:48:57

For info, I was asked because his 1:1 TA didn't want to go in the water due to skin problems.

Mistlewoeandwhine Sat 03-Jan-15 11:00:02

I think it is a good idea. My DS1 with epilepsy and dyspraxia is now home educated but whilst he was at school I had already decided that when they did swimming lessons that I would ask to go too. He may need help in getting dressed quickly afterwards (my son drove his teachers mad with his ultra-slow changing for PE) so they would probably be grateful with that.

I don't know what your son's specific difficulties are but my son has dreadful problems with listening carefully and in his first set of swimming lessons the swimming instructor got really angry with him as he just couldn't focus and listen.She didn't understand that it was really hard for him especially with the acoustics of the water. He hated those lessons.

We moved to a different pool where the instructors were actually in the water with the kids and that meant he found it much easier to focus. He loves going there and has made brilliant progress compared to the other pool where he made very little.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 03-Jan-15 11:04:43

Don't see why not. My friend does this

NickiFury Sat 03-Jan-15 11:07:29

I used to do this. My ds sounds similar to yours. The school were fine about. Happy even.

Dawndonnaagain Sat 03-Jan-15 11:21:22

I too have done this with a dd with similar differences to your ds. She's a good swimmer now, but it took a long time.

IsabellaofFrance Sat 03-Jan-15 11:26:38

At our school they are always crying out for volunteers to go as observers. I am going to go with DS2 when he starts in February as he will need help getting dried and dressed, and even though he has a full time 1:1 who will swim with him, she will need to get dried and changed.

DeWee Sat 03-Jan-15 12:10:36

I wouldn't go in just asking to go along because they may have had a few requests on the face of it sounding similar. I know a few people who have felt their dc won't manage because they have always been there, and they do manage fine.

However your dc, by the sound of it won't.

So I would approach it with a meeting about "how to help him cope" and lay out what you see to be the issues. If they say "we'll asign a TA" or something that you're happy with, then that's fine. If they're looking a bit worried and not really coming up with any ideas then say "I can come and help during swimming because I think he will need a 1-2-1".

That way you give them a chance to put forward suggestions, plus you're not sounding like you are just wanting to go and finding reasons.

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