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    Default Parents of kids with (mild) sensory issues help (+ vent)!

    How do you handle teachers/instructors that don't understand?

    I'm having an issue with dd1's swimming instructors. They keep calling her strong willed (code = stubborn) cos she won't put her head under the water. I have tried explaining that everything is a big deal any day and a huge fight on a bad day (food intolerances) - opening her curtains, putting feet on a cold floor, wearing scratchy clothes, everything. Putting her head under water is a *massive* deal and she resists strongly, she is obviously very nervous of jumping in and sometimes cries, all normal in a pool but... She's not just any kid. Either I'm not explaining it properly, they don't believe me, or they just don't understand. Whatever the reason, I'm getting ****ed off that they keep calling her "strong willed"

    I don't know whether to try again to explain it, tell them outright to stop labelling my child, or just suck up the label I'm sure this is not the last time I will encounter this problem but it is the first time, and I'm not sure how to handle it. I just feel it's unfair on dd1, I feel she's been labelled a bit of a brat when it's not her fault. And I feel like a bit of a precious mother, like I'm saying "oh but my poor darling, she's a sensitive child". When that is not the case, I *know*my child and I know her issues, and she is not just "strong willed", she is very afraid.

    Sorry for the vent

    **Nothing spells as goof as typo splats**
    Last edited by Gothel; 14-09-2012 at 19:25.

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    Default Parents of kids with (mild) sensory issues help (+ vent)!

    Do you have any therapists who work with your DD?

    My daughter has Down syndrome and on the odd occasion that I've had problems getting her child care centre to understand something, I've brought in her speechie, or OT or physio.

    Her swimming teacher might give it more credence if it comes from a professional, rather than "just" a Mum. Yes, that totally sucks, because no one knows your kid like you do, but it might work.

    Good luck.

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    Gothel  (14-09-2012)

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    We had the same problem with swimming lessons and it was such a nightmare. My DD would get so distressed and the instructors made both of us feel awful. After one session where both DD and I had been in tears and I felt like the worst mother in the world I gave up. I withdrew her and just took her recreationally to pools while trying to reduce her fear. I haven't yet found a swim school that knows how to help kids with sensory issues.

    So I'm sorry I have no answers. The swimming issue still causes me huge angst, and my DD will still not put her head under water. So many people do not understand. i've in fact lost a friendship because of it due to someone thinking I'm a bad parent and my DD over sensitive.

    We've had so many wins and so much improvement, but not with swimming (I practically popped champagne when she finally accepted showering without a meltdown!)

    I'm very interested to hear how other parents of sensory disordered kids have managed with swimming.

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    Gothel  (14-09-2012)

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    I wish to offer you some hugs and sympathy for your and your daughter's plight.

    I have a little girl (almost 6yo) that freqently has two fingers in her mouth. Whenever she is not busy (or especially when she is asleep), they stray there. We've been working on reducing it since she was 3yo and have explained to all teachers and supervisors that if they see her fingers in her mouth to gently remind her to take them out but not make a big deal about it.

    However it is getting to the point where others are being less gentle and more pro-active, and I am concerned that this focus will be to her detriment. She is not being naughty. It really seems to be a subconscious action.

    At school, the teacher sends her to the bathroom to wash her hands everytime her fingers stray into her mouth. Since they have a bathroom attatched to the prep room, it is not far to go and I didn't see it as a big disruption to her and thus thought that was okay.

    But, last night when I arrived at Girls Brigade to collect my children, I discovered she had been excluded from games and made to sit in "time out" for sucking her fingers. I was not told directly, merely overheard one of the leaders speaking to her about it. I am of the opinion that was wrong and I should've said something. (To my regret, I didn't speak up because I wasn't addressed directly.)
    Last edited by sweetseven; 14-09-2012 at 19:56.

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    Default Re: Parents of kids with (mild) sensory issues help (+ vent)!

    Fix in sox, no she has no therapist. The only thing she's been diagnosed with is a dairy allergy and the rest we worked out by ourselves. It's a good suggestion tho, thank you

    **Nothing spells as goof as typo splats**

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    It is very teacher dependent. To a certain extent you need to back off & see what happens, but you also need to be willing to change swim schools/teachers/etc to see if it is a better match.

    My 5.5yo ds struggles with new experiences, and doesn't like water on his head/face at the best of times. We went to a small swim school last year (he started at 4 years, 4 months) for his first swimming lessons. It was a preschool class in the morning when he was at his best. It was a small group (usually 3 kids) and a very good teacher. She was very firm though and I found it hard to watch at first because she insisted on him putting his face under water. She didn't put up with a 'no' and honestly it's fair enough. BUT, she praised him hugely when he did do it. AND, with time he got better & better. Heaps slower than the other kids, but eventually when asked he would put his face and then head under water. It wasn't quick though ... probably 4+ months. He did 3 terms at that swim school and was a slow improver. He's a quick learner intellectually, but the whole in the water, doing scary stuff thing, was a bit much for him. He understands the risk of it all a bit too much.

    Then this year the swim school moved to a much bigger premises and he was older so needed to go after a full day of Kinder. That meant he was with a different teacher in a bigger group, in a bigger pool with maybe 25 kids in the pool at the same time (not in his class obviously, but in nearby lanes). It was noisy and it completely overwhelmed him. The teachers didn't know what to do with this boy who didn't want to put his head under water and so for the whole class he did laps holding onto the teacher - so just kicking. Clearly they had no idea and when the same thing happened the next week I pulled him out.

    I put him in another small swim school and he was in a class with just one other child and he did well again. This swim school made lessons much more fun - it was all about games and having fun in the water and learning as they went. Unfortunately the only time we could go was at 5pm on a weeknight and after 2 terms I had to stop it cause he was just getting too tired. I hope to do a school holiday intensive over summer, hopefully with success.

    The teacher from last year did give him 'homework' to have a shower and put his head under the shower at home. He wouldn't do it for us prior to that, but when his swimming teacher told him to he was much more willing! Amazing!

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    Gothel  (14-09-2012)

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    Sweetseven. It can be so hard to know what to do. Have you tried the special chew bracelets? We've got some from sensory tools to try to stop DD chewing her clothes. It might help wean her off fingers in mouth.

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    Default Re: Parents of kids with (mild) sensory issues help (+ vent)!

    I'm so sorry it went badly for you Miss Muppet, and sorry about your friend it's funny you mention the showers, just last week my jaw dropped when the girls jumped under the shower at the pool, all by themselves (dd2 doesn't have the same issues, I'll readily admit she is just stubborn as all hell but she copies what her sister does and were not making much proffered there either sigh)

    So have you found much improvement just doing casual swims? Yes people don't understand, it's hard, esp if the issues aren't all that obvious... But the pool is such a foreign environment.

    **Nothing spells as goof as typo splats**
    Last edited by Gothel; 14-09-2012 at 20:27.

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    Our swim school tried the 'you must do it' approach and it was so traumatic. It actually made her fear worse. And she didn't do it. Even after months.

    We've tried getting her to put her head in the shower, but it won't happen either. It was a celebration just to get her having a shower at all.

    Its been suggested to us that she has aspergers as well, though, so I guess she's not entirely 'mild'. (that's just a recent thing - we're still at the beginning of all of that process)

    We have had some success with casual swims in that I've got her to float and practice treading water. She's super keen to learn to swim and desperately wants to not have this fear.

    My son is quite different. He copies her reactions too, but its just copying big sister stuff. He doesn't have her sensory issues and is soooo much easier emotionally. I'm a bit worried he'll learn to be scared from watching her though.

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    Default Re: Parents of kids with (mild) sensory issues help (+ vent)!

    sweet seven that's so unfair she was punished dd1 does that too, the finger thing, and like you say it's just an unconscious thing. I don't know how you could make a teacher understand, or how you would explain to them without seeming like you are just making a fuss.

    **Nothing spells as goof as typo splats**


 

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