Laura Brown

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Adventure comes in many guises; teaching private swim lessons at the Spears Family YMCA definitely falls under this category. It can be exciting! One faces many personal challenges teaching children and adults in every walk of life, culture, language, age, physical and mental ability and disability. And they may – or may not – have had any previous swimming experience.
Other than helping adults overcome a lifelong fear of the water, especially the “deep end” where the sharks live or someone is under the water grabbing their ankles; I find great joy in teaching children with special needs to swim.
I have one student in particular that is particularly fun. He is 6 years old and is autistic. He has a wonderful Mother who told me all about him before we started his lessons a few sessions ago. We always talk about whether or not he has had a good or bad day in school before each lesson. I love having her support, she is a big help. We have been together for a few rounds of swim lessons and he has blossomed into quite the swimmer, no longer afraid to pass the handicapped chair at the edge of the pool, and even swimming in medium distances with no support (noodle)! We have worked out many ways to communicate about what he does and when he is afraid or tired. These breakthroughs make it all worth it. We love to play a chasing game to “work” on his swim strokes. He is working on his fear of the deep end, when we get to the drop off, he says “2”…telling me that he has gone far enough and will do 2 more strokes to try before turning back. He gets further and further each time it seems. I am told that every day that he comes to swim lessons with Miss Laura, even if it was a bad day at school, he is really excited to see me and get to work on his swimming. I love teaching him because he wants to be there and he laughs and smiles through his lessons, it is infectious and always makes my day (and it’s a Monday!).
I teach swim lessons and love it because I can see and feel the difference it makes in people’s lives, as well as the return it gives me. I wouldn’t trade it or the people that I meet for anything.
Every 30 minutes is different in private swim lessons…the adventure begins again.

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