This morning Dante started swimming lessons at the YMCA. They were kind enough to let me enroll him in the parent/infant class even though he is over-aged; he actually could easily pass for an 18 month old. Dante did well changing into his trunks, and was babbling down the hallway. Unfortunately, when I walked into the pool area and went to wait by the wall for his class, he started to scream and writhe about. It did not matter to him that we were 10 minutes early, he wanted into that pool NOW! I wandered up and down the hallway for a few minutes. He did not appreciate the pacing-- everytime I headed away from the pool he yelled, and was quietly hopeful on the lap headed towards the pool.
The water was clearly a little cooler than he expected, but he did well. His class is once weekly until the end of August, and I am glad I decided to do it. I could have signed him up for the daily for two weeks lessons at our town beach, but that water is cold considering how cool and rainy the weather has been for the last several weeks.
Dante does officially have a dual diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism. Poor little guy, hit with that double whammy. He is doing better since his regressions in March, but is still very much behind in skills and behavior. Dante still will not eat anything that has crunch to it, or that has to be chewed beyond one or two munches. He will not use the signs he had learned, and only recently began talking again, saying "baba" and "no". There might have been a "mama" and "dada" once or twice, but not consistently.
Because of the enormity of his regressions, we have decided to use our public school system for therapies. It would be too expensive to hire private therapists for all of his needs, and I have not yet spent enough time researching how to meet his needs here at home. The biggest seems to be the need for a strict routine, and breaking down tasks very simply for him.
Despite Dante's struggles, he still has the most beautiful smile on earth. I told Jamie I have never seen anyone smile with his eyes the way Dante does. When in a good mood, he just exudes so much joy. When angry, though, he is completely beside himself. The head banging is occuring less frequently, and his tantrums are a little bit farther apart. I just have to remember not to show up at swimming lessons until it is exactly time to get into that pool!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13