To end these swimming lessons once and for all(41 Posts)
I cannot make up my mind ! Ugh !
I have two boys. DS1 (13) and DS2 (8). DS2, which this post is about, has high functioning Autism, quite articulate, smart but finds it extremely difficult to establish and contain friendships.
As a young child (we knew he had Autism then), he loved water, was absolutely obsessed with it. We live be the sea side, so he loved going to the beach and having a splash about in the sea don’t. However, over time (Years!) , I realised that yes, water is fun, but DS needs to learn how to be safe in the water so he doesn’t drown !
I enrolled him to swimming classes, the instructor was great in the beginning (but as the months went by, the instructor was getting lazy). However ! DS made very good friends with the two boys (3:1 session) in his swimming sessions. This is a first ! Since he finds it difficult to substain friendships.
However, in recent months, the instructor has been slacking in teaching the boys, especially DS. I don’t think the other parents mind as their boys are already good swimmers. The instructor also ALWAYS mentions about DS Autism... for example “I’n A specialist at teaching kids with Autism and disabilities”. “ The thing with Autism is that your son may take a while to learn how to swim”. “He will swim in his own way”. “It must be hard parenting a child with Autism”. She does this ALL the time. It’s like she has crossed a line with DS for being Autistic and not getting further up in swimming.
After that, I had enough. DS wasn’t progressing in swimming, not totally down to the instructor of course. DS finds it hard to focus in sessions and the instructor sorts of gives up and let him do his own thing. Moving on, a friend recommended me this private swimming academy sort of thing. I thought “Well, it’ll do no harm”. DS has been there for 7 months and is making outstanding progress ! The instructors get him, they don’t cross a line with DS because of his Autism, they teach him swimming techniques (diving, posture etc etc) because they believe in his ability.
However, I don’t know what to do. DS is currently having 2 sessions of swimming classes a week. One with his friends at the leisure centre and the other at the private swimming school. I’m worried if I quite his swimming sessions with the boys, he would lose the friendship. The families and myself don’t live near each other so play dates or outings would be difficult to organise. But oh my goodness ! I just want DS to quit this place. Every time he goes back to the session at the swimming centre, he loses all the skills the swimming academy taught him, as if he goes backwards (Some children with Autism find it hard to generalise new skills in new environments, I think this is DS issue).
I don’t know what to do. Urgh it’s a hard one.
The other boys are likely to end lessons at some point. Have you mentioned to the other parents about the swim academy? They might jump ship? Or open up a talk about how long they envisage doing lessons.
Does he have an option about it? Would he really miss the lessons? Are you able to talk to his teacher about what he’s actually able to do? (More questions than answers, sorry)
Oh I’d have to pull him out OP. Are the other children NT? I just wondered if you could keep in touch via Facebook or something and perhaps do occasional meets?
DS won’t miss the lessons. He told me he “only wants to go because my (friends) will be there”. Other than that he won’t miss the lessons.
I doubt the parents will like this private swimming schools method of teaching. It’s very focused on safety and building up stamina and techniques. The parents prefer the swimming lessons to be relaxed and fun.
Oh gosh I can see that you’re totally stuck then aren’t you. Ok how about changing it to every two weeks instead?
I don’t know. Everyone time DS does sessions at the leisure centre he goes backwards in his swimming.
I'd just cancel the rubbish lessons and keep in touch with the boys' parents to arrange get togethers.
Could you ask the instructor at the leisure centre to reinforce one or two of the things he has been taught at the other class? Or do you think that would just confuse him and make things worse?
I would pull him out. While he gets on with the other two in his class, it is only a friendship of convenience - you say yourself that you don't see them otherwise. Inevitably when the lessons end, now or in 10 years time, there is little chance of the friendship enduring.
He has shown the ability to make friends in a situation and so he will do again. My son had friendships of convenience through secondary school - he has learning disability and ASD - but it has been great to see him make friendships on his own terms at college and is now texting, phoning and meeting up with friends outside college.
I'd pull up out because he may be receiving conflicting advice / guidance on swimming (hence the going backwards part).
Plus i wouldn't like that woman also mentioning autism in front of my child.
Arrange a play date or another weekly get together with the two boys?
I would cancel the poor swimming lessons.
I agree with Charmatt it's a freindship of convenience and at some point they will stop lessons or move up or change days for something else.
I get it's probabably quiet hard to do.
If you took him out of the rubbish lessons, could he meet up with his friends after their session finished?
Have you not complained to the instructors superiors?
The trouble is, the other boys won't stay in the same class forever. If one leaves will you keep going because the other is there? When will it end? It's lovely he's made friends but you are rightly weighing it up against the negatives of him hearing week on week how difficult autistic children are etc.
I think it's very difficult for a child to do different sets of swimming lessons and progress in both. I'm guessing neither set of lessons is cheap.
I’d probably sacrifice the swimming lessons and ask the boys round for dinner every few weeks. It’s got to happen at some point if he’s regressing / not learning.
Also, just sharing your fustration about people not seeing a kid progressing and just writing it off because of their autism. No! You basically are not trying hard enough!
Start by inviting the other boys to do something else. Ask them to give their parents your number.
Then arrange an activity day for all three. Maybe something with swimming. Then oh can talk to the parents about wanting to drop the class but keep the friendship.
Have even you spoken to the instructor yet? Surely that is the first step. 🤷🏻♀️
She might have no idea that you are not happy.
I understand your anxiety about his friendships, but unless you are willing to make the effort to sustain/develop the relationships outside class for him, then it's not really a friendship at all, truthfully - it's just interacting in the same space once a week.
I'd pull him out - PPs have good ideas about maybe arranging a swim playdate on a weekend etc.
I’ve spoken to the instructor but all she says is that “she’s doing her best”. The thing is, when people are “specialists”, which in no doubt she is, some of them HATE being corrected. She hates being corrected.
I’ve offered and tried to arrange play dates outside of class. But the parents are quite busy.
I’m just going to quit. I just don’t know how to tell the instructor that I want to quit.
Your son only sees these boys at swimming once a week. They are not really friends are they? Just someone he chats to a bit while in the water. Stick with the private lessons and then maybe he will be good enough to join a swim team later on. Tell the public swimming pool that you are not continuing with the lessons because you do not like the tutor's attitude and your child has made very little progress there, whereas he has proved he has the ability elsewhere, so it must be the tutor and not him!
Is he actually swimming? Perhaps you're too worried about it all, maybe just relax and let it sort itself he's only 8 after all.
Maybe he's too anxious in the more formal classes and just needs to relax himself.
Just tell her that the lessons aren't working for him, give notice and keep fingers crossed that the new lessons also bring new friendships.
DS (also HFA) has got a fantastic swim school who just go with the (ahem) flow and as he's got older he has got to the point where he loves going and can keep his concentration going, though at times it's been hard work!
Having a teachers that 'get' ASD kids is so important.
'We won't be coming again after xx date. Thanks for all your help."(Not that she sounds very helpful but it might mollify her, if that worries you).
If she starts asking why, just stick with calmly saying that the lessons aren't working for you (you could make an allusion to the time being inconvenient etc if you like, but do not allow yourself to be drawn into an in-depth discussion), then say 'Anyway, I won't keep you!' or similar and go. You don't owe her any explanation at all thogh, just the basic courtesy that we all owe to one another!
To be honest, when I cancelled DSs leisure centre swimming lessons I just called reception and did it, so you may not need to speak to your instructor at all. But you sound a bit worried about it, so think up some strategies now so you don't get pulled into a long conversation.
Good luck to your ds - he'll be ok. He's shown he can make friends, as a pp said and if he's done it once, he can do it again.
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