Simon has been taking adaptive swim lessons at our local Y for about a year or so now. The classes are 1:1 and he adores his teacher.

George is 3 now and we’ve been wanting him to start swim for a couple of months now. Given his social and verbal skills, we opted to try him in a general class instead of the private adaptive program. He had his first class today and it was a disaster.

George was very excited, but did a great job waiting for class to start. When I walked him over, I told the teacher (who actually taught my daughter years ago) that George is on the spectrum. I explained that he’s fully verbal, although he can be hard to understand, and that he follows directions really well.

The ONLY reason I told her this was in case there was an issue. I generally don’t hide their autism and I feel that people in authority, like teachers, need to have this information.

She proceeds to tell me that she’s never had a good experience with an autistic child in a swim class, that they don’t listen, and that they keep jumping into the water. She said this to me while the other parents were standing there, listening. I told her, again, that he follows directions very well.

When I had him sit on the edge of the pool, he slipped a little and went in. These things happen. There was a platform there, so only his legs and swim trunks got wet. I lifted him out and tried to get him to sit back down.

It never occurred to me before, but, for George, when your clothes get wet you take them off. So, he started trying to take his swim trunks off. I stopped him and he had a swim pull-up on anyway, so it’s not like he flashed anyone. I asked him if he wanted to go try class again. He said no, he wanted to take his wet shorts off and come home. He wasn’t crying. He wasn’t screaming. He wasn’t throwing a fit. He was just sad. So we left and went to go get Happy Meals. I started crying as we were walking away from the pool.

I’ve already emailed the swim director about this and have asked if there’s room in the adaptive program for him or for a full refund. Even if I can get him acclimated to having wet clothes, I will not have him back in her class again, where he was so obviously unwelcome.

I am so upset.


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