Summer Swim Safety

It’s summer time!  Time to cool off in the pool.1499786311932

When you have kids with or without special needs, we all have those worries about drowning.  There are always more concerns about children with autism that have a history or a tendency to wander.  There are strict rules about enclosing pools but kids are very smart about fences and finding openings.  There are also open bodies of water, lakes, ponds, rivers/streams and canals/ditches.  Having water safety and survival skills is important for more than fun play time.

I have found that there are two kinds of kids with autism regarding swim.  The kind like my son that has absolutely no fear.  They request the pool or swim regularly and when they go they jump right in.  The other side is the fear of water, not liking the feeling of water on their face or skin and do not want to go to the pool or swim.

We do not have our own pool so having a person come to the house is not an option.  We tried over the years to put our son in the city swim lessons as well as private small group lessons.  He still doesn’t know how to swim.  The cost of private one on one lessons or the ISR swim lessons can be rather high.

When I took my son to the city pool lessons it was good but it wasn’t teaching him how to swim or how to save himself if he fell in.  He was way to excited about playing then he was about learning.  Last summer the instructor and pool supervisor suggested adaptive swim.  I would completely recommend this!

Other suggestions:

  1. use the city class as a baseline of what your can and cannot do in a traditional class
  2. find a one on one instructor that is affordable and can consistently work with your child
  3. ask about adaptive lessons for special needs students at your city parks and recreations department
  4. ask your ABA therapist if they have grant money to lead or provide free lessons with your child’s therapist
  5. visit the pool you have lessons in at other times to practice in a similar environment


We love our city pool adaptive swim class.  We only have to pay a $25 monthly fee for eight , thirty minute lessons.  The class has children with various disabilities and each child has a program and teacher that works on appropriate skills.  Within a month of lessons with a few practice sessions with mom/dad, Max is starting to swim!   We also just started on a family swim lesson with our ABA therapy company.  We are getting him in the pool two to three times a week for at least two hours total.  Now that the instruction is one on one and provided in a way that he understands he is getting it!

We have huge goals for our water lover.  Our city pool has a Special Olympic swim team that children can join as young as seven that have the swim ability to swim the length of the pool.  We have set our goal on getting him involved in the team and having an extracurricular activity that he loves.

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