startedinnc

This blog is about a family of two loving parents, two sister schnauzers, a persian, and a very loved young man who faces severe autism daily, sometimes better than others. We will relive the lows, laughs, and joys of our "normal" life. Always under the hand of God.

A Swimmingless Swim

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(Madison is our seventeen year old son who has severe autism. He can repeat words to us and sing, but isn’t able to have a conversation or tell us what he is thinking. This blog is to let you see some of the things we encounter.)
Have you ever heard of a swimmingless swimming lesson?
We were very excited when we got word that Madison was approved to take swimming lessons at the Y. I’d taken Madison to our neighborhood pool and he got a bad sunburn. That should be no surprise with his red hair and ivory skin. I took him to the pool and a sweet little boy watched him get in the pool and innocently asked, “Is he a vampire?” I think he was hopeful he would be.
But he loves to go to the pool. He can float on jis back and swim across the pool. He is the only person I’ve seen who can laugh under water and not choke. I don’t understand ho he does it.
When he was smaller, he was so cute because he would keep his nose out of the water by standing on the tip of his toe, like a ballerina. Just his nose sticking out of water resembling a turtle in a pond.
So now he could swim in the inside pool. He was so excited. When he put on his swim suit he was ready to go to the car.
I made a mistake the first time I took him. We were early because I’ve learned to schedule extra time when you take Madison somewhere because he can dawdle or be slow to get in or out of the car. Since we were early, we sat in the chairs in the lobby of the Y. That became part of the routine and we had to sit there each time. That’s not so bad, but he’s singing and playing his Teletubbies or Newsong on his Ipad so anyone passing by had to look.
One thing a parent of a special needs child learns very quickly is to not worry about being embarrassed or getting attention. It is going to happen. No need to try to hide or look away. Just go with. Yes, that’s my son. Cool, isn’t he?
In the previous lessons it has taken us longer and longer for him to get in. His lessons are thirty minutes long and he would be outside first ten, then fifteen, then twenty minutes. Several times I pushed him in. (Bad daddy) Once I felt so guilty because I pushed him in front of the life guard and I just knew I would get kicked out. She looked up at me and said, “Finally.” She had watched us coaxing Madison for twenty minutes.
He was so funny. Yvonna was his swim instructor and she was super patient. She would jump in and tell Madison to sit on the edge and pat where she wanted him to sit. He would go over and pat the same place and then step back from the edge. Once he climbed down the ladder into the water so I would ask him to use the ladder. He would step down two steps and then get out. It was an excellent example of obeying the words but not the intent.
The frustrating thing about missing the lesson is he enjoys the water so much. But for whatever reason it became more fun to not get in. Another case where our lack of communication with him leaves us scratching our heads.

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Author: Tim Suddeth

Writer and stay at home dad. A graduate of Clemson University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Lives near Greenville, SC with his wife, son, and two precious schnauzers.

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