help... my student won't get out of the pool!
Swimming at school is loads of fun... But for some kids it's absolute heaven and I hear again and again from parents and teachers that they can't get their child to leave the pool.
Here are some thoughts about how to make this easier for everyone!
1. Make a social story about going swimming.You can make this the good old fashioned way with sketches or photos. Or try this app ($7.99) to make a booklet. Doing this as a mini movie with iMovie is ideal, but only useful if you know how to use iMovie!
Movie social stories are proven to be more effective than book social stories.
Keep it all positive, avoiding words like "don't" or "not". Show only the things he should do. Include walking to the pool, getting changed, getting in, playing, the final activity, getting out, the next fun non-swimming activity.
2. It only ever seems to work when an adult is IN the pool. No getting round that one!! :)
3. Don't worry about timers or "2 minutes" more etc, that won't mean much to your student. When it's about time to hop out, introduce a fun in-pool activity. He should already know from his social story that this is the last activity every time, and is always followed by immediately leaving the pool. Make it energetic and fun and repetitive, leading him towards the pool exit (ladder etc). He may have to flutterboard or dolphin dive thru a hoop towards the ladder, then go back and do it again 2 more times. He ends up at the ladder. He can then be naturally guided by the adult telling him happily to hop out and following him up the ladder.
4. The next step in the social story is something FUN - Maybe a game option or even 2 mins on an iPad before he gets changed. This is not a "reward" and should be given regardless - It's just a reminder that there are more good things to come.
A reminder also that the behaviour should get "worse" before it gets better. This is normal and positive. It indicates that the student is starting to notice a change is happening and they initially work hard to keep the current situation familiar and consistent. It's important to stick with it for a few sessions, and then see whether things have improved. It's worth making notes about what he does currently when it's time to leave the pool, and what he does after you've used the above strategies on a few occasions. We're not aiming for "perfect" - Any improvements are worth celebrating, so give yourself a pat on the back when things improve!
I hope that helps!! I'd love to hear whether you think the above is feasible for you, and how it goes. Good luck!!!