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School swimming and disabilities


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#1 LionessMum

Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:12 AM

Hi all,

My son is 7 and dxed with Developmental Coordination Disorder (Dyspraxia). He has low muscle tone and a lot of weakness and physical activities are much more tiring for him. He has sensory issues and is also is very anxious at the moment. School swimming started yesterday.
The pool is about 10 minutes walk away from school, and the students walk there, do their lesson, then walk back. This is too much to ask of my son so I took the day off and picked him up from school, drove him to the pool and stayed with him ready to drive him back afterwards. it ended up being disastrous, as the teacher told me the wrong time and his classmates didn't arrive for another hour after we got there. So we waited at the pool, during which time he played in the shallow section. By the time his classmates arrived, I think he was already tired, overwhelmed by the noise (there were a number of other schools doing school swimming too), and anxious about what was expected of him in the pool. We both ended up in tears, it was very distressing, and I made the decision I won't be putting us through this for the next two weeks.
So I informed the school that he will not be attending school swimming anymore, and was told that we would need to pick him up from school daily at 12 because there would be no-one to supervise him.
Is the school not obliged to supervise the children in their care? Are they expected to accommodate children with disabilities? The alternative is for him to walk to and from the pool with the other kids. What if he was in a wheelchair or something?
I am struggling big time lately trying to support him through his anxiety and other issues and I can't cope with more of this. My other son has similar issues and between appointments and the extra help I need to give them, I am exhausted.
Does anyone know what I should be expecting of the school in this situation? Do I just give in and take time off work to pick him up?

Thanks for any advice x

#2 laridae

Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:24 AM

There isn't another class that's not at the pool that he could join for an hour while they do the pool? That's what I'd expect to happen.

#3 LionessMum

Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:47 AM

View Postlaridae, on 04 December 2018 - 09:24 AM, said:

There isn't another class that's not at the pool that he could join for an hour while they do the pool? That's what I'd expect to happen.

Apparently there is a small gap where all children will be either on their way to or from the pool. That was not what happened yesterday, but apprently will be happening today and in the future.

#4 AdelTwins

Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:56 AM

At our school, children are sent to the library to be supervised by the librarian.

Now that you know the right time, can you just continue on with the lessons?

ETA - could you hire a wheelchair for 2 weeks? Then the teacher could push him.

Edited by AdelTwins, 04 December 2018 - 09:58 AM.


#5 Future-self

Posted 04 December 2018 - 10:44 AM

Does your school have a Special neededs coordinator? Who have you been liaising with in regards to any adjustments so far? Because the school has to make adjustments to enable students with a disability to access the same curriculum as everyone else. That’s not good enough, telling you he has to miss the whole afternoon of school is ridiculous.

#6 JBH

Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:10 AM

We’ve just finished swim school. Our students who could not attend (for whatever reason - I am not privy to why), went to other classes. They weren’t the same year group - either one year above or below.

#7 LittleMissPink

Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:47 AM

View PostFuture-self, on 04 December 2018 - 10:44 AM, said:

Does your school have a Special neededs coordinator? Who have you been liaising with in regards to any adjustments so far? Because the school has to make adjustments to enable students with a disability to access the same curriculum as everyone else. That’s not good enough, telling you he has to miss the whole afternoon of school is ridiculous.

This!

My Dyspraxia daughter attended swim school in gr1, with a teacher aide, because the swim school was up a steep driveway and she needed someone to hold her hand on the bus, and walking up and down the driveway. She also needed help dressing and undressing before and after.

In gr2 she stayed at school in other classrooms (1/2 hour at one, then moved to another before her class came back, in a different grade. Or she went to the SEP unit.)

Gr3 they changed pools, it was flat, and she can now manage her own dressing.

The school should be providing care for those who arent attending.

#8 LittleMissPink

Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:49 AM

And if you didnt pick him up at 12, what would they do? The'yd probably have him sit in the office till his class got back. There are always teachers there, the school wouldnt shut down at 12 for school swimming!

#9 PrincessPeach

Posted 04 December 2018 - 12:38 PM

That is not on, the school should have options for him. He honestly cannot be the only child not swimming.

#10 Paddlepop

Posted 04 December 2018 - 01:13 PM

He could wait in the office while the classes are all in transit to and from the pool. There's no reason for him to miss half a day of school for the sake of 10 minutes of supervision. That's ridiculous.

My DD (ASD. ADHD, anxiety) didn't do school swimming this year because school swimming is way too stressful for her. She went to a different class for the hour or so that her class was at the pool. It was no big deal and was easy for the school to arrange.

#11 BECZ

Posted 04 December 2018 - 01:25 PM

At my children's current school they would typically sit in a spare room within the admin. building where they would be supervised by one of the many staff who aren't full time teachers, but typically the deputy principal.

When I grew up, if you couldn't attend activities that your class was doing you went to the library.

#12 Quay11

Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:49 PM

My eldest has similar issues (tourettes, anxiety, adhd, sensory stuff I haven't even looked at yet) and she goes to another class when swimming is on. She's made it through one year's swimming but I've kept her out most years. We have a pool at home so she's confident and capable in the water.

This year I discovered the local public pool runs one on one classes for kids with similar needs and it's been fantastic for her (mostly - as much as kids that have meltdowns have a fantastic time..).

#13 Expelliarmus

Posted 05 December 2018 - 05:33 AM

That’s pretty slack. There won’t be no one at school and I’d be surprised if he was the only one not swimming. They should be providing for him.

I would try one more time at the correct time though and see if he goes okay with it then.

#14 BornToLove

Posted 05 December 2018 - 05:42 AM

At DD’s school, kids who do not participate in school swimming still have to walk to the pool with everyone else (10 min walk from school).

There are some tables by the pool kids not swimming can sit at and read or do school work at. The classroom teachers sit with them while the other kids have the swim lesson. There are generally 5-6 kids across two classes who sit out any given lesson for various reasons.

#15 LionessMum

Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:09 AM

Thank you everyone.
Futureself, what you said makes sense - they SHOULD be accommodating him! I have requested a meeting with the principal on Friday.
In the meantime, they gave him two options: sit in sick bay where the office manager can keep an eye on him, or walk with his class towards the pool until he meets another class coming back and walk back with them. He didn't like either option but he chose the sick bay and we packed an activity he could do while he was in there.
I guess this is one of the drawbacks of a small school. Not as well set up to accommodate special needs. I have no idea if they have a special needs coordinator. An aide doubles as a very part-time librarian so the library is only staffed a few hours a week.
He has started swimming lessons at a more private pool which is much quieter and is in a small class with his brother so he is still learning to swim, just in a more suitable set-up.

I appreciate all of you sharing your views and experiences with me, it helps!




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