THE JOURNEY BEGINS......
Friday, April 23, 2010
Although Sylas is still small, this picture is a little reminder of how much he has grown over the past year. I am working on a photo slideshow of his 1st year, and I will post that when it is finished.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Prior to Sylas starting lessons at seven months, I had spent many hours reading about infant swimming on...of course, the Internet! I fortunately found a wonderful instructor in the area (http://humuhumuswimschool.com/index.html.), and although she did not have experience with special needs children, I had a feeling that she would be a perfect match for Sylas, and it turns out that she is. Both of my older children had participated in water baby classes (water exploration), but I never really thought an infant could be taught to swim. I read that in Australia and some of the European countries, swim classes for infants is not uncommon. However, I was worried that Sylas may aspirate pool water or get ear infections. This is what I have learned:
- Fear of water is acquired as children grow older. Babies less than one year acclimate to water easier than older children. Sylas has always seemed relaxed in the warm water (90-92 degrees), he evens gets excited now when he sees water and starts to kick.
- Swimming improves muscle development, cardiovascular systems, coordination, and fine motor skills. Sylas is less restricted by gravity in the water, so he is able to move easily despite his low tone. Sylas initially kicked his legs simultaneously, but now he is able to kick each leg independent of the other leg, this is a good example of improved coordination.
- Teaching young children to swim could save their lives. No need to comment more on that!
- Learning to swim builds confidence and independence. It is a great way to socially interact with Sylas and expose him to an activity that will provide social situations in the future.
- Warm water and exercise helps improve appetite and sleep. Longer naps? Yes, indeed..Sylas naps much longer on swim days. :)
- Improved cognitive development. We use a lot of repetition with songs and activities, Sylas knows what to expect next. We label each action, such as "Sylas reach" or "Sylas kick, kick, kick".
To teach Sylas how to hold his breath, we gradually (over weeks) adjusted Sylas to water by dripping it over his head onto his forehead. We would get Sylas' attention and say the same verbal cue each time, "Sylas, ready..go" and soon he was closing his eyes and mouth while we gently poured a small stream of water down his forehead onto his face. He caught on quickly. The next step was using the cue prior to doing a splashy jump, and finally he was ready for a brief submersion. After we cue him, he is never submerged unless we observe that he has closed his eyes and mouth.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
In Minnesota, the kids always enjoyed going over to Grandma Moo Moo's house for her special Easter egg hunt. This year she sent the kids Easter goodies in the mail. They LOVE opening packages, especially packages with candy!