• Report: #753333

Complaint Review: ISR / Infant Swim Resource / InfantSwim.com

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  • Submitted: Fri, July 15, 2011
  • Updated: Fri, August 24, 2012

  • Reported By: Parent of Traumatized Child — Florida United States of America
ISR / Infant Swim Resource / InfantSwim.com
2572 W State Rd 426, Ste. 2000 Oviedo, Florida United States of America

ISR / Infant Swim Resource / InfantSwim.com ISR / Infant Swim Resource / InfantSwim.com - PUT 5-YEAR-OLD UNDER THE WATER 6 TIMES, FOR SEVERAL SECONDS AT A TIME, AS PUNISHMENT FOR NOT FLOATING! Oviedo, Florida

*Consumer Comment: Our 2 Week Experience with ISR

*Consumer Comment: Name please

*Consumer Comment: Good ISR Experience

*Author of original report: Yes, we taught him but not "her" way

*Consumer Comment: Confused

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We signed up our 5-year-old for swimming lessons at INFANT SWIMMING RESOURCE / ISR / InfantSwim.com.

At the beginning of the first lesson, our son told the instructor that he didn't want to put his face in the water. She asked why not. He replied, "Because I don't want to die." She assured him she would NOT let go of him and that he was safe. Keep reading and you'll see why we think that was a lie.

During the first 10-minute lesson, she tried to get him to float on his back but he wouldn't put his head back in the correct position. He was frightened and shaking but we assumed he would warm up to her, learn to trust her, and then follow her instructions. She seemed kind at first but also very firm. He did not warm up to her at all.

On the second day, she took him into the pool and once again tried to get him to float with her supporting him. At no time did she teach him how to hold his breath, or kick his legs, or move his arms the correct way. She only put him on his back, supporting him with her leg, and tried to get him to lay his head back. He was unsteady on her leg and rocking back and forth on his back, so he kept thinking he was "falling." He was shaking again and wouldn't put his head back. She said to me, "I might need to dunk him tomorrow."

I thought she meant she would blow in his face and start teaching him how to hold his breath. She didn't wait until the next day, however, and she didn't just "dunk" him. She removed him from her leg and just let go of him, letting him sink completely under the water. He was floundering and panicked under the water, not knowing what to do. I could see his arms flailing and his legs frantically moving.

LET'S BE HONEST ABOUT THIS. HIS BRAIN TOLD HIM HE WAS DROWNING AND HE RESPONDED TO THAT BY PANICKING! That is not "swimming lessons." That is child abuse!

She pulled him back up after a few seconds and tried to get him to float again. He was shaking violently, yelling, and saying "No! I don't want to!" She responded by repeating the simulated drowning 5 more times! She'd put him in her leg and if he wouldn't put his head back, she'd let go of him under the water again, causing him to kick and flail, trying to save himself from drowning!
All the while, she was chatting and calmly telling me he was "fine." Each time she pulled him up, he screamed louder and, in the end, was holding his arms out toward me while screaming, obviously wondering why I wasn't saving him from her. It took every ounce in my being not to jump in that pool and save my child and I will have to live with the guilt from my stupidity for the rest of my life.

Before you attack me for letting this happen (believe me, I've already attacked myself), please understand that we thought we were dealing with a professional. Only after the few minutes of trauma and him getting out of the pool did I replay the terrifying events in my mind and realize that she was punishing him for not floating by simulating drowning (6 times!!), like the other mother's experience here. She was NOT teaching him how to swim. At no time did she ever broach the subject of holding one's breath, kicking, padding - NOTHING! He was being punished for not putting his head back - punished by withholding oxygen and making him think he was drowning (dying).

In my opinion, this is no different than burning a child to teach them not to play with matches. CHILD ABUSE!!!

I do feel all children should learn to swim but this is not the way to do it. Frankly, now that I've read complaints about this firm online, I can't believe the authorities haven't investigated them for child abuse. FORCING A CHILD UNDER WATER IS CHILD ABUSE!!! And, if any child has ever died in one of these lessons (reports online allege this has happened), it is my opinion that forcing a child under water knowing they might die certainly must be a violation of several laws!

I can't help but wonder what type of controlling personality would get involved in something deplorable like this where they spend their days terrifying infants and young children, all in the name of "survival." God only knows what type of psychological damage occurs in these children, to say nothing of the lost trust between the child and the parent who allows this to happen.

Our son did NOT want to get into our pool yesterday afternoon, and was begging me to not "make him go under." He used to love the pool! It could take weeks to undo the damage they did in just 1 swimming lesson where they made him flounder under the water, believing he was drowning. AGAIN, CHILD ABUSE!!!!

This happened to our son 2 days ago and I've had nightmares about it for the past 2 nights. I will have to live with the guilt for the rest of my life for what I allowed to happen to our child, right in front of my eyes, just because I assumed that trained "professional" knew what was best.

We have found a new, conventional swimming teacher and, when I told our son a new, kinder lady is going to teach him to swim, he was terrified.

We have four other children who have all learned to swim in the past with no tears at all. I firmly believe all children should learn to swim but ISR's method is NOT the way it should be done!

PLEASE LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKE AND DON'T LET THE SAME THING HAPPEN TO YOUR CHILD!

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/15/2011 08:51 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/ISR-Infant-Swim-Resource-InfantSwimcom/Oviedo-Florida-32765/ISR-Infant-Swim-Resource-InfantSwimcom-ISR-Infant-Swim-Resource-InfantSwimcom--753333. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Our 2 Week Experience with ISR

AUTHOR: fanixon - ()

We put our daughter in the local ISR program for two weeks.  After two weeks, this is the letter I wrote the instructor telling her we would not be back:

First I wanted to thank you for being so caring and gentle with Anna and for taking so much time with me and Anna.  If there was anyone that could make this method work for us, I do believe that it would be you.  If anyone else was teaching the lesson, we would not have made it through the first week.  That being said, the ISR method clearly is not right for us.

To let you know what happened today, let me tell you what I observed to give you my perspective.  Anna was crying as usual, which was ok.  She performed a maneuver that she is now used to - swimming to your hands.  Then, when she started to turn over, as she naturally does from what we have seen, you pushed her over a little more, just enough for her to loose her orientation, and then you left her to struggle to get to the top.  Think about it - she was swimming to your hands, which was okay, then (1.) you moved them where she couldn't get to your hands, (2.) turned her where she was disoriented while still under the water, and (3.) left her under the water where there were no hands for her to get to safety and she couldn't breath.  She was scared as we would be if it felt like we were drowning.  That is when she started screaming in the lesson because she was scared.  After that, because we are in these rushed 10 minute sessions, there was no time to let her recover.  It was on to the next thing, which just accelerated her anxiety which remained and grew throughout the entire lesson.  So, in short, the reason Anna was so upset today was because the first thing she did terrified her and she was never allowed to recover from that and she remained scared and upset the entire time.

This highlights the problems I have had with this method.  First, from the start I have had a problem with the fact that the children are never told what is happening to them.  You tell me that she understands your "hand signals" and you are right - she figures them out after a while because she has to.  She figured out after a while when you do a certain hand signal she better hold her breath because you are going to put her under the water and she will choke if she doesn't hold her breath.  This may be okay for an infant that isn't verbal, but a toddler such as Anna could understand if you actually took the time to teach her and tell her what was going on.  The ISR method doesn't take the time to do that.  I believe this is one reason the children are always crying, because they are struggling to understand what is happening to them and at the same time trying to teach themselves what they need to do in order to survive being put under the water by a person they don't know and don't trust.

After I had expressed this concern originally, I do see how you tried to be more verbal for my sake, but still didn't explain anything to her.  You were telling me what you were doing, but you were not trying to tell her in a way she could understand.  A couple of times you told her to make a fishy face, which was useless because (1.) she doesn't know what that means because no one has ever said that to her, (2.) you would say fishy face, but that is not the same thing as holding her breath, and (3.) you would say it once or twice and then just go one with what you were doing without her having any understanding.  I understand that I am not a swimming instructor, and there may not be a way to tell a 19 month old what is happening or verbally try to tell them what to do, but I want to at least try to find a method that tries.

The second problem with this method is the ten minute lesson.  I understand the ISR reasoning - that the muscles tire after ten minutes so any instruction after that is useless for a child.  I can agree, the muscle tires after ten minutes when you spend every minute working the children.  However, it also means that you can' t take the time to let a child settle down, relax and recover before moving onto to another task.  Just like today, Anna was upset from the first task and was never given the time to recover so she stayed scared and upset the entire lesson.  I also truly believe that the real reason for the ten minute lesson is ISR has figured out that ten minutes is the longest the average parent will endure watching their child go through this.  The time is for the parents, not the kids.  No one would do this if they couldn't make themselves feel better by saying its okay because its only a short ten minutes a day.

Finally,  the idea that since you taught her the "last" skill first (swimming to the wall), she knows what is going to happen and won't be scared the rest of the lessons is ludicrous.  This makes sense to an adult that knows the natural sequence of things, but not to a child.  They don't know what is first or what is second.  All they know is each task individually.  Do you really think that when she was floundering today she was thinking, "Well, this is okay because yesterday I swam to the wall and that is the "last" thing that will happen so now I know I am okay and safe."?  Of course not, she was thinking, "I can't breath and the hands that I was supposed to swim to in order to keep me safe are gone.  I am scared."  It is also completely inconsistent with the idea that you can't teach a 19 month old these skills by telling them what is happening.  That is saying children can't learn these skills by verbal communication, but they can reason out the sequence of something that is completely foreign to them and something that they have never done before, and understand by that reasoning that they are safe - all in a matter of seconds.  I always just listened and nodded when you told me this, but it is absolutely ridiculous.

ISR has a million ways to tell parents that their kids are not scared and they are not crying because they are scared.  That is also a crock.  These kids are scared. If they were crying simply because they didn't know you, they would stop within a week or two once they got to know you.  They are crying because they are scared of drowning and there is nothing in this method of teaching that tries to resolve or calm those fears. I applaud the propaganda to make parents feel better and have people keep coming to their lessons, but propaganda is all that is, not science.  The real truth is each child is different and each child is crying for different reasons.  For the most part, Anna was crying because she was scared.

I may be wrong, and I may find out that there is not another way to teach Anna to float or swim, but I need to explore that for myself and find out before I subject her to 6 weeks of ten minute sessions of absolute fear and anxiety.  I would only consider this method if there is absolutely no other effective alternative.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Name please

AUTHOR: Anonymous - ()

Can you please give us the name of the instructor ... ??

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#3 Consumer Comment

Good ISR Experience

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (United States of America)

Hi there,

I have to say what you described is a completely different experience than I had with my son's instructor.  He was only 2.5 yrs old at the time but his ISR instructor taught him to hold his breath first, (She called it fishface so he knew that when she said that word he had to hold his breath.), then to grab onto the side of the wall, then kicks and arm movements.  It wasn't until he was good at swimming underwater that she even tried floating him which was the 2nd or 3rd week of lessons.  Then once he had the floating down, she worked on the transition of flipping from swimming underwater to floating on his back and vice-versa.  I'm a little perplexed on why she would start out with the floating on the first day.  

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with your instructor but there are good instructors out there.  Maybe you could give more information on the instructor so as to deter people from using her.
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#4 Author of original report

Yes, we taught him but not "her" way

AUTHOR: Parent of Traumatized Child - (United States of America)

We just moved to the area a week ago and this is our first pool. Our son had only been in the new pool with floaties. We are from the far north and swimming up there is rare so he hadn't had the chance to learn any swimming skills, including the correct way to hold your breath. His first lesson was four days after we moved in and we arranged for these lessons before we even moved South. We were very concerned that he learn how to swim immediately because of the new pool.

Before the "instructor" let him go under, she did not discuss breath holding at all, nor paddling, nor kicking - nothing at all. She simply let go of him, watching him flounder under the water, simulating a drowning, to punish him for not floating - six times in a row! He didn't have time to even take a breath to hold! He didn't even know what was coming! She just dropped him and let him panic and struggle under the water. That was after she'd told him the day before that she wouldn't let go of him. We believe what she did was child abuse.

Anybody who thinks it's okay to force a child underwater without first teaching them basic swimming skills needs to have their head examined.

On a positive note, his new swimming teacher came to our home yesterday and she was very gentle and loving and positive. She was able to coax him into the pool without his floaties and, by the end of his first 45-minute lesson, she had him floating with assistance (and he had his head placed correctly back), blowing bubbles, kicking, paddling, and even jumping in the pool (getting his face wet). He never cried or fussed and he can't wait until his next lesson! Best of all, she says he'll be swimming by the end of the 8th lesson (in 2 weeks).

Now THAT is the way to teach a child to swim! :)
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#5 Consumer Comment

Confused

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

You have a pool and according to you until this incident happened he "loved" the pool.  But he goes to this lesson and doesn't want to put his face in the water because he doesn't want to die?

Then further on you are complaining that they are not even teaching him how to hold his breath underwater.  So you are saying that you never taught your 5 Year Old who "loves" the pool how to hold his breath underwater?  Or even any BASIC things such as floating or how to move his legs?

Sorry but either you are the one who was negligent or this is not the whole story because it doesn't make sense as you have described it.
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