Swimming and Autism

Apr 10, 2023

We are excited to announce the launch of our Adaptive Aquatics program and to have the opportunity to serve our community on a much larger scale! Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder are 1 in 160 times more likely to experience a nonfatal or fatal drowning than their peers. This occurs for a number of reasons, such as children with autism may experience elopement behaviors and find themselves in dangerous situations, a lack of safety awareness, and lack of available lesson programs. We strive to change this statistic. All children should be able to swim and safely enjoy activities in and around the water!

Can people with autism safely participate in swim lessons?

Yes, we've seen many swimmers with autism learn to swim, have fun and be safe in and around the water!
Learning to swim is a key layer of protection, especially for children with autism, who may experience eloping behaviors and have a decreased sense of danger. Swim lessons not only teach vital safety lessons, but they also provide other benefits as well.

Children are able to practice
  • eye contact
  • gross and fine motor development
  • multi step directions
  • a variety of other skills
Swimming lessons have proven to improve
  • speech
  • coordination
  • social skills
  • self-esteem
  • cognitive processing

Our curriculum is routine based, which allows our students to understand what to expect each class. Swim lessons have been proven to improve speech and cognitive function.

What type of lesson would be best for my child?

We know there isn't a ‘one-way fits all’ approach to swimming lessons for any child, and this is particularly true for children who learn differently or who are on the autism spectrum.

So where would your child best thrive- a group or private lesson? We offer lessons both group and private class options. We want to help you find the learning environment that will best serve your child and allow them to thrive. Here are some things to consider when making this decision.

Private Lessons

Private options are best for our students who experience elopement behaviors and / or struggle to wait their turn while independently sitting outside of the water.

  • 1:1 ratio
  • Student does not have to implement waiting / turn taking
  • Able to pace lesson according to student’s needs for the entirety of the lesson
  • Routine based learning
Group Lesson

Group classes are inclusionary, and provide a great opportunity to learn while watching and engaging with their peers.

  • Able to watch peers complete skills prior to student’s turn
  • Generalize waiting / turn taking skills
  • Natural breaks implemented into lesson
  • Able to engage with peers during naturally occurring breaks
  • Routine based learning

Social Skills Lessons

Our social skills lessons are designed for swimmers to generalize skills learned in their regularly attended lesson, as well as provide an opportunity for our private lessons swimmers to practice their skills in a group setting. An added bonus for parents and caregivers is the opportunity to find community in our swim family while their children are participating in the social skills class.

Social Skills Lessons allows swimmers to practice
  • attained swimming skills with a new instructor
  • attained swimming skills at a new day / time than their regular lesson
  • participating in a group around a pool for private lesson swimmers
  • the same skills with the possibility of a new routine / verbiage from instructor

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