Finn was born 15 weeks early and weighed just 1lb 12oz. He spent the first 98 days of his life in the NICU. Because of his early birth, Finn has fine and gross motor delays and Reactive Airway Disease (RAD). Finn saw physical and occupational therapists from the time he was six months old until he was 4.5 years old. At first, his therapies were in-home and then they moved to a clinical setting.
As Finn got older, his parents noticed more issues with low muscle tone, coordination, and exhaustion. He struggled with coordination issues, mainly his upper and lower body working together, and left and right side to work together. He was also very hesitant to try activities because these issues made him clumsy.
At 4.5 years old, his physical therapist felt Finn would benefit from physical activity outside the clinic. He thought it would be good to get Finn involved in something he enjoyed and that could also be good exercise. His parents started looking for something that would make his whole body work together. Since Finn had always loved splashing around in the pool and being in the water, they decided they’d give swim lessons a try. It has been one of the best decisions they have made for Finn’s health!
Finn’s overall strength, coordination and confidence have improved so much since he started lessons. Swimming has challenged his body to work as one unit instead of four separate limbs. He’s made huge improvements with his upper and lower body movements, and his left and right side movement issues are few and far between.
“We are amazed every time he swims the length of the pool, to see his arms and legs working together is incredible,” said Finn’s mom, Lynn.
All of the exercise has also improved his RAD. With his improved strength he can now climb stairs without needing to hold a hand support. He can climb to the top of playground equipment, run without stopping to take a rest, and pedal his bike without help. Small everyday activities that used to be a challenge are no longer an issue, such as dressing himself or carrying a glass of milk without spilling.
Through the hard work and patience of the EmBe staff, especially his swim instructor Brooke, Finn has been able to achieve physical benchmarks that may have been hard to reach. And in the process, has become a proficient swimmer for his age.
Programs like this may only appear to help kids learn how to swim, but actually have far-reaching effects that improve development, confidence and physical strength. All the while, Finn is having fun and doing something he loves. As parents, Lynn says, “we couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Now as an eight year old, Finn is still swimming weekly, and learning new skills.
Finn’s favorite thing about swimming lessons is one of those new skills, “I like diving the best!”
We’re so proud of Finn and all he’s accomplished through EmBe’s swimming lessons.