We met the most awesome lady today. Her name is Lana and she owns SwimKidsUSA. She was the teacher for Sadie's first swimming lesson. Why was she amazing? Because she loved Sadie. And I love people who not only know what Sadie's all about and are not freaked out by it, but they love her the moment they lay eyes on her.
From the moment we walked in the door of this place we were greeted with warm smiles and excellent customer service, knowing that they specialize in special needs kids, we kind of had an idea we wouldn't be stared at or made to feel like we don't belong. These people were used to special kids and they treated my special baby with the same attention as every other super cute child that came through the door...and there were a lot of them!
But Lana, she was something special. She told me she has a Masters in Special Education. When I signed up for lessons, her staff told me that she developed a whole special needs swimming curriculum. And she told me she has a special place in her heart for special kids. I liked her immediately. And I could tell she liked us.
She really worked a lot with Sadie's vestibular system, bouncing her in the water and giving her verbal cues before doing anything. We sang a lot of songs, and we moved around in different ways in the water. She understood when Sadie became overstimulated and knew exactly why. So, she backed off and we did different stuff. And when Sadie got the point where she was almost completely a disaster, Lana took this bucket that had holes in the bottom and let it "rain" on Sadie, knowing that that would calm her down. She even suggested that we come during the week and "practice" to get Sadie used to the sounds and things in that environment that could be overwhelming to her when she's not used to them.
So, we found this place by purchasing a Groupon, which gives us 4 Saturdays of lessons. If we decide to continue it's $70 a month (which isn't bad, really), but as she gets older, it'll likely get more expensive if we continue. However, Lana told us they have scholarship programs...that they like to reserve for special needs kids especially. The only hindrance right now is that it's a 30-40 minute drive to get there, but it's REALLY close to where we are looking to move. So we may continue once we find a house and move.
And, here's a video for your viewing pleasure of Sadie "swimming."