Monday, June 13, 2011

Surviving... (ISR with Rebekah)

Over the last 8 weeks we have been spending some quality time with Rebekah as she invested and equipped my sweet girl with some amazing water skills. This was Rhian's first year with Rebekah and ISR... and as I learned more about her program I fell in love. It's not just about swimming... it's about surviving. Equipping little ones with the skills to know how to handle themselves just in case anything should ever happen... While I still would never take my eye off of her... if by chance something happened I am confident that she would be able to buy us precious seconds by automatically going to her float without panic. I was amazed at how Rebekah monitored Rhian's diet, bowels, temperature, and tummy over the lessons and tailored daily 10 minute lessons to Rhian's abilities. Rebekah lovingly challenged Rhian each day and by the end of our lessons Rhi had held a consecutive float (unassisted) for over a minute and was doing really well with her swim too. The last week when Rhi tested out she tested out fully clothed in both summer and winter clothes - shoes and all... And as I pulled her out with her winter jacket on I was shocked that Rhi was even able to maneuver in the water at all with all of that extra weight... All that to say - I value Rebekah and how much she has invested in our family! I believe in her and the skill set she has to share! I asked her a few questions about who she is and her passion for ISR and please take a few minutes to get to know her better! If you know of anyone who has young ones... please pass this information onto them as well... it really IS about surviving in and around water!
I asked Rebekah a few questions... here are her answers -

Why did you start teaching ISR?

I was first introduced to ISR when my husband showed me a YouTube clip ( ). The video was very eye opening for my husband and I, especially since we had pool in our backyard at the time. When we researched getting our oldest daughter lessons, we realized that the closest instruction site was 1 ½ hours away from us. After much thought and research into the ISR program, I decided that I would bridge the gap and become an instructor so that my community would have this important program available locally. I completed ISR’s 5 week intensive training program in San Diego. I had over 100 hours of supervised in-water training and completed rigorous academic course work as is required of all instructors. This included education and testing in child psychology, physiology and behavioral science.

- What is your least favorite part of your job?

I really love every part of what I do. Even when I have a student who cries or is unhappy during lessons, I know that they are still learning a skill that could potentially save their life. I truly am blessed to do what I do. If I must choose one thing, it would be trying to get potential parents to truly understand that ISR is very different than a traditional swim lesson and worth the financial and time commitment. Your child is unique, precious and irreplaceable. No value can ever be placed on him or her. Drowning is a leading cause of death for children and preventing it is vital to your child's health and well-being. A child who cannot swim is at greater risk for drowning. Parents spend considerable amounts on other lessons and sports that will never teach a child any lifesaving skills. By comparison, knowing how to swim can protect your child from death or serious permanent injury. It will also provide a lifetime of enjoyment for your child.

- What do you wish most parents knew about ISR or water safety?

Wow, there is so much that I wish more parents knew about both subjects. I will start on the subject of water safety, GET RID of arm floaties, rings, flotation swim suits and any other flotation device. If you are around pools, lakes or the beach, you are bound to see young and not so young children enjoying the water wearing one of these floatation devices. These devices are a false sense of security for both the parent and child. None of these can be considered a lifesaving device. All it takes is for the device to deflate or a child to slip out and these children are completely vulnerable. Life jackets although completely necessary in a boat are also not a safe way for a child to play in the water. A child using any of these becomes overconfident in the water and believes falsely that she can swim. Wearing these will also interfere with learning the proper swim technique later as she has learned to keep her body in a vertical position. Ask yourself what will happen if your child falls in without them, and goes vertical just like they have always done.

In regards to ISR, there are many programs for young children that focus on a children being "comfortable" around and in water using songs and games, this approach does not teach your child any of the skills necessary for survival. Many lessons such as Mommy and Me teach children that the water is a fun place to play without teaching them any meaningful skills. Typically students are taught to blow bubbles, paddle a few feet to mom and splash around and have "fun". Remember the water will not be a fun place for your child if he or she is unskilled and finds themselves alone in the water. This approach may actually make a child more vulnerable to drowning as a child is taught to be fearless without any understanding of the skills needed for effective swimming. ISR lessons encourage water competence first thereby promoting a safe foundation for a lifelong enjoyment of the water.

Most importantly, nothing takes place of adult supervision. Children need to be constantly supervised by an adult around any body of water...don't turn your back for even a second, because drowning can happen that quick.

-What makes ISR different from other swim lessons?

Parents cannot afford to choose a swimming lesson method that fails to teach their child self-rescue skills. An additional layer of protection is found in ISR’s Self-Rescue(TM) swimming method. ISR’s fully skilled children as young as six months can learn to save themselves from drowning. It is important that parents understand they must provide their children with the skills to save themselves before they introduce them to the water. Layers of protection are necessary because you can never know which one might save a child’s life. Infant Swimming Resource is the safest provider of infant and toddler survival swimming lessons. ISR teaches each child survival skills in conjunction with basic swimming lessons that give them the competence and confidence required to safely enjoy the water.
Infant Swimming Resource uses a unique set of prompts and procedures designed to teach both the verbal child and the non-verbal infant survival swimming skills. The technology required to teach an infant to handle himself in the water is primarily found within sensori-motor learning and infant psychology and development. The practical application of this, however, must be custom-tailored to your child's physical abilities.

- What is your favorite part about your job?

First and foremost I LOVE teaching children lifesaving skills. It is amazing seeing the progression from one lesson to the next. I enjoy getting to meet my student's families and have made many great friends just by teaching their child and getting to spend a little time with them each day. I have had 5 students save themselves by using their Self-Rescue(TM) skill they learned during lessons....that right there makes what I do all worth it!!

Rebekah Emehiser
Infant Swimming Resource Instructor

Click image below to see video on Rebekah and her success with ISR...

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