My son was diagnosed last July. He is scared of the water but I've heard that swimming is good therapy for duchenne. I signed him up for lessons at the local rec center. Thoughts on this. Thanks!

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Very sorry to have you here.  However, you have just found a great place to get help.  :)

Yes, I would strongly recommend swimming.  My son (7) absolutely loves swimming and it's great exercise for him.  It's also a great equalizer/confidence builder, since he can keep up with the other kids in the water.

Fortunately, we have a local pool that has a warm-water therapy pool, which helps loosen his tight muscles while he plays.

I hope this helps!

We signed our son up for swimming lessons at about that age (he may have been six?), but we didn't know he had DMD didn't go well, he had a really hard time doing the motions needed for "swimming." I wish we had started sooner, like Chase did. :)  But Seth loves going to the therapy pool and splashing around and it's great for them to be in the water. And I know every kid is different, so yours might just be a fish! Just know that if he doesn't pick it up, that doesn't mean they can't do ANYTHING in the pool, there are lots of other things that are beneficial and will help him not be scared in the water. I would definitely talk to the rec center if you haven't already-hopefully they'll get him with a good instructor that will work within your son's abilities.

We started 'swimming lessons' when Simon was 6 months old, which was 6 years before DMD dx, so have no experience with being afraid of the water. It is great exercise for the boys, but just be aware that at some point he will not be able to keep up with the regular lessons, but like Tracey said, he can then switch to other water activities, or just splashing around.

There are some 'adapted swimming' programs, but I have found they are often for adults with amputations, etc. Just explain to the teacher/monitor about MD so they do not push him beyond his limits, and watch the huge smile on your son's face. I have heard of many young men who can still swim despite not walking.

Have fun!


I wrote a reply but I don't know where it posted too so here it is again :) Thank you Keith & Jill, Tracey, and Andrea for your responses. I really appreciate it. So far so good with the lessons. The instructor is really good and experienced and I explained to her about the duchenne and she was really understanding. It is a beginning class with only two kids so it's pretty basic, which is perfect. He is still nervous to put his face in the water but making progress!  I wanted to ask Keith and Jill what the temperature was in the therapy you go to? Our pool is a leisure pool and the temp is 90 degrees. I was wondering how much warmer a therapy pool was.  Thanks so much again!!
Michae ( pronounced "Mishay" kinda like paper mâché :) )

im going to sign my son up for our local ymca and put him in different activites he wants to do to keep him active its great reading these and seeing all the positive results that ur sons are getting from it. My son was dignosed with DMD around late aug early sept. of last yr.

I think you're definitely right to get him started, however long it takes him to feel comfortable with water.  the good thing is that he does not need to be a fantastic swimmer to get benefits, playing around in the water is a brilliant workout already!  My son always loved water and we'd always go swimming, but since his diagnosis I've made swimming a regular thing.  Just an example of the benefit, after a month holiday with my mother and all day in the pool, he came home with NO tightness at all in the ankles and improved greatly in stamina and overall strength.  And we did none of the usual stretches in that time because of the heat.  I know all boys are different, but Dylan is almost 6 and shows very little signs so far.  Bottom line is, swimming is fantastic workout but does not have to feel like one.  It could also boost his self-esteem in the long run because I think that any potential future mobility issues may not be visible when you're in the water.  Good luck with it!

Well it's been a year and the swimming was a great idea! He loves it now and is so close to being able to swim across the pool. He takes lessons once a week with another boy about the same age with DMD. We were lucky to find a very good swim teacher at the local rec center. We had to get him a short wetsuit because he gets cold easy, but that seems to do the trick. So glad for the swimming recommendations.

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