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swimming lessons

Earlier this week we made the decision to pull our son out of his swimming lessons. He has always loved water and has been going to lessons at our local leisure centre for over a year now. He is very confident in water, in fact maybe a little too confident so we wanted to make sure that he was able to swim properly and that that confidence wouldn’t get him into any trouble.

Regular readers of my blog will know that Max has asperger syndrome and although this can effect his concentration, we didn’t think that it would be a problem as he was so keen to learn how to swim. So when we registered him for lessons, we didn’t mention it.

For the first six months or so, we assumed he was getting on well. We had no idea how long it was supposed to take for him to move up to the next stage, so we thought he was doing as he should be. It’s very difficult to watch him during his lessons, as there’s rarely any free seats around the pool, and because I always have Evie with me who wants to sit out in the reception area where it’s cooler. From what I did see of his lessons, he appeared to be doing OK.

But over the past couple of months we started to wonder why he wasn’t moving up to the next group. Surely he should be progressing by now? It’s pretty much impossible to talk to his instructor as it’s very busy before and after lessons with classes back to back. But surely if there was a problem someone would have mentioned it to me, right?

On Monday I decided I needed to find out why he wasn’t progressing so while Max was at his lesson I asked at the reception. They were able to see that he was on 86% and that there were three areas he was struggling in. But that’s pretty much all they were able to tell me.

So, when he finished his lesson I approached his instructor, who as expected didn’t really have time to chat. What she did manage to say though is that he doesn’t pay attention. When I started to explain to her why he struggles to concerntrate she told me that she already knows why ( I have absolutely no idea how she knows about his diagnosis) and that there are sessions for children with disabilities that might be better for him, as the class sizes are much smaller. She asked me to leave my number at reception and someone would call me to discuss.

When someone did eventually contact me the only options they could offer were 1 to 1 sessions, which are incredibly expensive or classes for children with disabilities. We decided there was no point continuing with his current lessons, even with 1 to 1 sessions alongside them as they clearly aren’t able to meet his needs.

So what do we do? Pay for 1 to 1 lessons, try teaching him ourselves, try him at a different pool, maybe one with smaller groups or put him in a class for children with disabilities? We have decided that the latter is not a good idea for Max as we feel it would be even more of a distraction for him. 1 to 1 sessions are very expensive but I’m thinking that might be our best option at this point.

We are very much still learning how to parent a child with additional needs and I think this is an example of how we sometimes get it wrong. We thought he would be fine in normal lessons and he wasn’t, but it’s no use beating ourselves up about it, we have to learn from it and move on.

Where do we go from here? We still want Max to learn how to swim but we’re not sure what the right way to do it is. I’d love your thoughts and if anyone has had similar experience please let me know.

Thank you for reading.



  1. Lara latchem
    April 27, 2018 / 5:38 pm

    My son has cp and did group swimming before and after being diagnosed but after a while realised it just wasnt right for him so stopped swimming in a group and now do 1-1 sesions, yes expensive but he needed the 1-1 support to allow him to progress. He loves his swimming lessons now and still swimming in a pool with other children just learns at his own pace. Its a minefield of whats best with an addional need it seems and some times trial and error is only way to see what suits the individual

    • Emma
      May 4, 2018 / 2:30 pm

      Thanks. We are going to book in a few 1 to 1 sessions to see how he gets on and then possibly look at trying him in a smaller group at a different pool. If that doesn’t work we will go back to 1 to 1. x

  2. April 27, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    As you know both mine are Aspergers too. The eldest has zero coordination and after years of lessons still hasn’t got the hang of it or progressed very far. Where as the youngest is probably more like Max in that he can do it but the concentration isn’t always there. We’ve toyed with the idea of 1 to 1 for him too but like you say it’s so expensive! If you do go for 1 to 1 I’d love to hear how you get on with it xx

    • Emma
      May 4, 2018 / 2:31 pm

      You see Max is the same, he has no coordination and still can’t even ride a bike. I worry that maybe he will never get the hang of swimming. I must admit, I’m not a strong swimmer myself. x

  3. April 27, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    I can’t help with the aspergers, but that’s strange they can’t cope with it. There’s plenty of children in N’s class over the years who don’t listen, and that’s certainly one of the things that stops them moving up because of the safety aspect when there’s 9 or 10 kids in a lesson.

    Swimming is one of the most important lessons for me so I personally would pay for the private lessons if there aren’t any smaller classes locally. Or is there someone else you could link up with to have a lesson for 2 of them. Then it’s not usually quite as expensive. Hope you manage to find a solution because you don’t want to loose Max’s interest and enthusiasm for it

    • Emma
      May 4, 2018 / 2:33 pm

      They haven’t said that they can’t cope with him as such. I think they would be happy for him to stay there but it’s pretty pointless when it’s clear he needs more help or at the very least a smaller group x