As a Speech Language Pathologist working in early childhood intervention, I often evaluate a young child’s receptive language (what spoken words she understands). Part of the assessment process examines if a toddler can identify body parts upon request. Typically, the ability to identify body parts begins to emerge between 12 to 18-months old. Around this age, a toddler will identify anywhere from one to six body parts when asked.
My daughter began swim lessons with Goldfish Swim School at 13-months old. At the time, she could identify her “tummy” but wasn’t consistent when identifying other body parts. When we asked her to identify a body part, she knew we were referring to something on her body, so she would touch a random part to appease her parents. Once she began swimming lessons, though, she was exposed to multi-sensory instruction involving visual models, movement, language, and touch; all of which focus on moving specific body parts to encourage swimming. During each lesson, my daughter observes different demonstrations from her swimming instructor involving a variety of specific body parts, she hears directions incorporating the body parts, and then demonstrates the movements involving the body parts. When she first started lessons, we would touch the body part and help facilitate the movement if she didn’t understand what was being asked of her.
After a few months of weekly swimming lessons incorporating multi-sensory instruction, my daughter began identifying and labeling a variety of body parts on her own. I was so impressed that at such a young age she could listen to an instruction and then begin moving that specific body part. The first five body parts she mastered (after “tummy”) include the following:
Hands: Clapping, pulling, and splashing are a few ways the hands will be used during a the swimming lesson.
Feet: Specifically, kicking. Naturally, there would be no forward motion when swimming, without kicking your feet. Children are also cued to use “walking feet” when moving outside the pool.
Mouth: Before water is poured on my daughter’s head or she puts her face in the water, the cue “catch a bubble” is paired with the visual of closing the mouth. I find myself saying “watch my mouth” while pointing to it, as well. As you can see, she likes to mimic the visual cue, as well.
Back: Part of the swimming lesson focuses on back floats. Now, when my daughter hears “time to float on your back,” she leans back and assumes her otter back-float position.
Eyes: It is inevitable, water will end up in the eyes during a lesson. Throughout the lesson, I find myself talking to my daughter about her eyes and cueing her to close her eyes before she puts her face in the water.
The Details: We are currently in the Goldfish Mini 2 class at Goldfish Swim School. We attend lessons at the Goldfish Swim School in Dublin, Ohio. Check out the link for location, address/telephone details and how to sign up for lessons.
Disclaimer: We were provided free swimming lessons by Goldfish Swim School in exchange for collaborating blog posts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.