A Special Boy Falls in Love with Swimming
Rory finds focus and stays active in his family’s backyard Endless Pools® swim spa
Rory is five years old. His mom, Karin, has her hands full. Because Rory has Down syndrome and autism, she says, “it’s really hard to get him to sit still and do anything for more than 30 seconds.”
In 2020, things got a little easier for Karin and more focused for Rory. That’s when they put an Endless Pools swim spa on their back patio. “It’s the only thing he will sit still for,” she says with relief. “Oh my gosh, this is a godsend!”
Keeping Rory Active and Focused
“Rory loves it,” Karin says of their Endless Pools RecSport® Recreation System. “The one day, it was like two hours, just playing and jumping in the water.” That’s a major achievement for him.
Rory is, in Karin’s assessment “a really tough kid. He doesn’t have interest in much of anything.” It’s been a challenge for her “trying to find ways to keep him entertained with something he loves, that excites him, and that he actually wants to do that is not watching an iPad.”
It wasn’t love at first sight for Rory and their RecSport swim spa. “Seeing him being afraid of it at first, to now he just jumps into it,” is a progression that thrills Karin. “He loves going in it and for me, that has been the biggest thing I can hope for, because finding something that he loves is very hard to do, and he loves that pool.
“He loves swimming in it. He loves going underwater. He loves jumping. He loves playing with the jets. And for me, it has been the best thing ever to see him happy and engaged with something.
“As soon as we go outside, he points to it and wants to get into it. Him finding something that makes him happy is just something I never thought would happen.” She found their Endless Pools swim spa particularly useful in 2020. “This whole Covid thing could have really dragged him down, and without this, I don’t know what we would have done. It has been a lifesaver, not just for us, but for him mostly.
“If he’s the only person in the house that loved it,” Karin believes, “it would have paid for itself.” Fortunately, he’s not the only one.
A Swim Spa for the Whole Family
Karin and her family planned on installing a traditional in-ground pool. But zoning ordinances in their area made it difficult and cost prohibitive. They were shopping for a hot tub when they discovered the Endless Pools RecSport line of swim spas. “When we saw it, we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is awesome.’ So, we got it!”
Fortunately, their Endless Pools swim spa arrived shortly after government restrictions kicked in at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We just wouldn’t even go to a public pool, so if we didn’t have this, I don’t know what we would be doing. We would be going crazy.
“Honestly, it’s been a lifesaver for us with the kids, just because we haven’t been going anywhere, especially because of Rory. My oldest is 13 — we can’t just throw a sprinkler outside.” The R-Series swim spa is certainly more engaging for older children. “My kids will just sit in it, zoned out, and hanging out in the hydromassage seats.” Karin says that they use the swim spa daily, sometime twice a day!
“We can be in this in the blazing heat or in the middle of the winter. My kids will be in it all year round.” That’s not something that Karin would be saying had they installed their traditional in-ground pool; in Pennsylvania, where they live, pool season is only a few months long. Instead, they’ve been able to enjoy their swim spa all winter.
Family Fun … and Fitness Too
“My husband is a runner, so when he’s not running, he’ll go in and swim.” The RecSport line features three airless jets; the current that they produce is just right for a recovery swim.
“My husband will do running in there.” By running in place in front of the current, you can get a challenging core workout! “A couple of his siblings are runners, so they’ll come over and do the same thing.”
Karen does aqua-aerobics using both the current and water’s natural 360-degree resistance. “I hold onto the bar, turn the current on, and just kick.”
A Brighter Future for Rory
There’s currently no cure for either of Rory’s conditions. While research has found some benefits of aquatic therapy for autism and for Down syndrome, Karin has more immediate goals.
“We’ve been doing PT [physical therapy] and OT [occupational therapy] stuff in the pool. He’s so engaged in there, so it’s a lot easier to get him to do stuff in there because he’s super-excited and into it, which is another big benefit.”
The RecSport swim spa gives Karin greater hope for Rory’s future. “He loves to swim. Maybe swimming will end up being his thing in life, and this would be something that will foster that and give him the confidence.
“I just think, physically, it is awesome for him. And mentally, it gives him a break because he really loves it; he can go in there and not worry. And for us, it’s awesome to see him finding something he loves and being physical in a good way.”