Swimming is a life skill. In our family learning to swim is not optional. My kids go to school, religious/Hebrew school, and swim lessons. Pretty much any activity other than those is optional. At some point a child will be around water and it is important for them to be safe. I breathed a sigh of relief when my oldest son could successfully fall in the water, roll to his back and float.
My oldest son has autism and for him swimming has been an especially useful activity. He had low core strength and swimming has helped to improve that. Ross learning to swim has also greatly increased his self confidence. He now has his sport. Swimming is the activity that he takes pride in and overall enjoys.
Find The Right Program and Instructor for YOUR Child
Now, getting to the point where Ross enjoyed swimming was a process. We tried swim lessons at three different places over the course of about two and a half years. Eventually we moved and decided to try our local JCC’s All in Swim program because that was where Ross was going to go to summer camp a few weeks later. It is a program that specializes in providing children with autism swimming lessons.
When we started Ross was scared to go into the pool area. It was loud and smelled funny plus it had a swimming pool! The program uses social stories but mostly a lot of patience to get him in the pool area and eventually in the pool. Having a program and instructors that understood Ross’ unique challenges was so important to getting Ross comfortable in the water.
We have also switched instructors several times. We switched because of scheduling and teachers moving on to other jobs but each time it turned out to be a good thing. Having a new instructor seemed to refocus Ross. Having a new teacher with new expectations was good for him.
After Ross’ second teacher we also realized that he did better with a male teacher. A great swim program director can find a great teacher for your specific child so be sure to change instructors as neccesary and give any feedback (like needing a male instructor) to the director so your child can have the best instructor.[Read more…] about Why and How To Teach Your Child With Autism To Swim