SWIMMING LESSONS FOR SMALL NEMO FROM THE ATROPHIC FIN

' Nemo was born with an atrophic fin, and this makes the father even more anxious. The first day of Nemo school fills the father with great worries as Master Ray, a huge sea eagle, intends to bring Nemo and his classmates to jump into the blue to explore the open ocean. '

What's different from the puppies of the man with their small or big flaws that are preparing to go out for the first swim in the open sea?

Among the parents of emiplegic children we often talk about sports that promote a symmetrical balancing of the two Emilati and even here we think of swimming as the most complete sport, with Nemo elected by right Hemi-Mascotte!

Yet the practice of sports ' typical ' with subjects ' atypical ' is not always so obvious, even in swimming, considered the most practiced sport in Italy after football: The structures can not be equipped for accessibility or water temperature, the instructors do not Specialized to treat particular physical, behavioral or mental needs, not always democratic costs.

We have thus collected a series of general indications, useful for parents, therapists and instructors in the first approaches with the aquatic nature:

·      The temperature of the water must be warm, tending to heat, to avoid accentuating the phenomenon of spasticity of the limbs.

·      A stretching session is recommended before entering the water.

·      The cerebral lesions that give rise to the hempilegia impact the upper limbs more frequently, and it is so that in the water it is easier to begin to move with the legs before being able to count on the support of the arms.

·      The back is among the favorite styles of small hemi-kids.

·      To exploit the mechanism of ' muscular memory ' the instructor can help the child in moving his arms for him repeatedly, so as to get used to recognizing the movement as useful for a future buoyancy.

And then the direct experience of a young ' fighter ': an interview with Alice Brolli, champion of Paralympic swimming, with his tips to win, floating in half.  

INTERVIEW WITH ALICE BROLLI, CHAMPION OF PARALYMPIC SWIMMING PIACENTINA

·      How did you get close to special swimming?

The approach to swimming was almost "discounted", at the age of only 4 months my mother took me to a specialized center of swimming for infants: they tell me that I had a lot of fun and I had already learned to return to the surface after having placed me in underwater!

This has helped my parents a lot to understand that in a few weeks something was going on. They had already noticed that I grabbed the little games only with the left, but they all assured them that they were probably leftist or that the right hand was a bit more lazy.

But one day in the pool my mom prepares me for the game of scuba diving and I instead of going back to the surface rest on the bottom.

And from there began my "new" life. I was two months at Gaslini in Genoa and on my return, having to do physiotherapy, we discover that the center is specializing in hydrokinesitherapy, so I start to do every week 4 sessions of classical physiotherapy and two in the water (of course the funniest!).

This until 10 years when in the same Onlus of Cremona, where I practiced hippotherapy, some parents (including my own) decide to try to found a team of competitive swimming: After 8 years are still in this team!

·      What motor and social difficulties did you meet at the beginning?

Surely they were more social ones, if by social means that I, living in Piacenza, I had to go to Cremona for training.

Were years of sacrifices not indifferent to me that I went out from school at 16.30 that for my parents who work, but we organized and away, immediately in the car ride on the highway to go to training 4 times a week.

In Piacenza there are no Paralympic agonistic teams and the water spaces are almost non-existent.

For some time I was also hosted by a Fin team; They were very kind, generous and very helpful but in the end we assessed that it was very risky for me and for those who swam with me because the rhythms are very different, even if I was included in the group of the youngest, so an accidental clash could have Serious consequences.

With the most demanding school and with the increase of the work commitments of the mother today I can hardly go to Cremona.

Lately twice a week I train with a heterogeneous group (perhaps too much for my agonist needs) here in Piacenza and the remaining 3 workouts I did with the mother and the table studied by my coach in a small pool not far from home; But unfortunately a few months ago was closed and I found myself suddenly with the preparation more than halved, who knows if we will find a solution.

 At the motor level the difficulties are there, indeed! But I have always played in the water so, despite my coordination problems, I have never had problems experimenting with styles but above all style adaptations:

Head to the right, head to the left... Breathe ahead, breathe sideways... Arm yes, Arm No...

Even now for some styles are being experimented because even growing body awareness changes so it is normal that the adaptations undergo changes sometimes for the better, sometimes instead you have to step back and start again.

·      What was your strong point that you exploited to move forward?

Definitely my philosophy that is "pure fun".

I will always swim until I enjoy, until when I go to the races meet my friends, especially my friend of the heart Martina Rabbolini of Soc. Blind of Legnano, and as long as I win obviously;)

Surely even the family, who besides being active part in all my path (including grandparents), all support me and urge me to never give up.

·      How is it possible to stay afloat for half?

Good question... But I don't know!

Apart from the jokes, the float is not the same for everyone, even for people without engines problems.

There are people who have an innate aquaticity, regardless of what and how they move; Just watch a video of a Paralympic final category S2 (the one with the most serious disability) that you get spontaneous thinking "but how do they do?".

I for example the first time I floated, in the sense of finding a static and not moving, alone and independently I was not in the pool but the sea and I played with Grandpa.

 ·      What technical advice would you give to emiplegic children who want to approach swimming?

I can only advise you to try, experiment, play but above all "observe".

Maybe looking on the internet videos of Paralympic races and see how the Great champions swim, go to the pool to see a race etc.

My parents and I also went abroad to see the world Championships in Holland and the Europeans in Germany to support the Italian swimmers but also to film all the batteries in which the swimmers were competing like me... Yes, I know, we're a little crazy!!! 

You can also contribute to help the young survivors of the stroke informing and buying here the book ' Fight and Smile ' published by Sperling & Kupfer: Http://www.amazon.it/Lotta-sorridi-Francesca-Fedeli/dp/8820057700/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1424172150&sr=1-1

Or with a donation to the association www.fighttehstroke.org Here: IBAN IT95T0335901600100000131356