Tristan is a young boy with limited language. He’s working on incorporating community, recreational and leisure activities into his daily routine.  Tristan comes to the pool every week looking forward to his lesson for a number of reasons. He is greeted at arrival with excitement from his instructor. Her positive energy is contagious and motivating for Tristan. 

It is imperative as a swim instructor to always be in tune with your mood, proximity and tone of voice throughout all parts of your lesson. This does require you to be intuitive and mindful of your client’s body language and behaviors so you can adjust yourself as needed.

In this video, watch how the instructor bounces between close and distant proximity to the client. This allows for independence when appropriate as well as assisting in continuous engagement between him and his instructor; all while working to reach swim skill benchmarks and overcoming roadblocks.

Another key component to remember during your lessons is creativity. Notice in this video how the instructor uses the depth markers as a visual cue, how she sings her directions and prompts in the tune of “Hi-Ho the Dario” for easier auditory processing, and continues to be in sync with Tristan’s sensory and behavioral needs throughout the lesson.

The instructor does a great job of keeping Tristan engaged, and redirecting undesired behaviors (nose picking, moaning when he heard “jump”) by not paying any obvious attention to them. Notice in this video when Tristan was visibly upset, the instructor did not engaged in conversation about why, she just “knew” her client and what to try in order to keep the lesson successful and productive. Her goal was to give him the sensory break he needed, while following through with the initial task.

Towards the end of the lesson you see her encouraging him to make choices and to use his words, all while continuing to utilize space management. The instructor reinforces good work and decision-making with a “high ten”.

REMEMBER: your client might enjoy something else. She ends the lesson on a positive note and reminds him of what he was working for throughout the entire session. 
Video Outline
0:48 -  Instructor says “Tristan, say Hi”  notice how long it took him to process the command and say hi. Allow clients with slower processing, enough time to process what you say.
 
1:15 -  Breaking the surface tension with the front crawl arms slapping on the water gives a lot of input into his arms. 
 
2:04 -  Notice she gently slides his hands down from picking his nose versus brining attention verbally.
 
2:50 - We try not to encourage wiping but sometimes it's necessary to address the sensory discomfort and overcome the roadblock.
 
3:48 -  Adding song redirected the nose picking and prompted him to engage in the activity. 
 
4:17 -  Physically prompting “frog kick” reinforces the propper form and movements.
 
5:05 - She incorporated a preferred activity to avoid a behavior outbursts then revisits original task.
 
6:06 - Instructor gives light touch at the elbows to prompt Tristan to go next to his companion.
 
7:10 - Instructor explains back float is difficult so she does it after he get satiated with sensory input by swimming 8 laps
Quiz
1. What are the benefits of a swim and fitness program for children with autism:

     a. increases cardiovascular health
     b. increases core strength and motor functioning
     c. teaches safety around water and creates routines for weekly recreation
     d. all of the above

2. Please select the best methods for prompting a student with auditory processing delay. Select all that apply.

     a. repetitive songs or rhymes
     b. visually or maximum assistance
     c. saying it fast, multiple times 
     d. showing the student a picture of what you want them to do