Your Autistic Child Can Be Taught Swimming--Is This Possible?  

by Pool Builders on 02-10-2011 in Articles

I remember when my father took my brother swimming, it was considered to be impossible for a child with autism to learn how to swim. But, my bother did learn how to swim. I am now a positive believer that your child with autism can be taught how to swim in addition, it is beneficial for your child and you.

Before you decide to teach your child about swimming or to swim, be sure your child is use to the water and is aware of the dangers. Be sure you have a professional swimming instructor with your child. Most children with autism are not always aware of their surroundings, they do not feel confident, or have good communication skills to understand the danger that water can bring.

You may want to call the YMCA, or community organizations in your area that may offer swimming programs for children with disabilities. Find out if your child will have one-on-one directions for swimming, or will he or she have several instructors. Introduce your child to the instructors and encourage them get to know your child or know the strengths and weaknesses of your child.

When my brother learned how to swim, he became more focused, it built up his muscle coordination, and he seemed to develop better eye contact. Swimming will help your child to use both arm and leg coordination, which helps in balance and breathing. I feel strongly if your child will learn to like the water, he or she will enjoy swimming.

Have fun in the water with your child. Bring some colorful beach balls, large or small and toss them back and forth to play catch. You will be amazed how much your child will enjoy the water. It will be soothing, relaxing and therapeutic.

Depending on what and where your climate is, you can have the enjoyment of swimming in your own backyard swimming pool or go to an outdoor open public swimming pool.

Swimming will give your child self-esteem, make it easier to enjoy a solo sport without having competition with other sports that are not as relaxing and they could be stressful. Teaching your child how to swim will be more advantageous for all of the family members to participate in without feeling intimidated.

Never push or force your child in teaching him or her how to swim. Try not to rush your child, but encourage your child with positive directions. Let your child learn and swim at his or her own pace.

Remember, your child may want to get accustomed to new surroundings, the water, the odors, lights, other people, so it may take a little longer for your child to be taught how to swim, but it can and it is accomplished.

Are you as parent(s), caregiver(s), willing to explore the possibility that your child can be taught to swim? Do you feel this can be accomplished? If so, will you try to contact places that may offer swimming with a professional instructor who understands the variations of autism? Do you have the patience to understand teaching swimming can be a powerful, positive benefit, for your child and you? Are you willing to believe swimming can be taught, even though your child is autistic?

It is possible for your autistic child to learn how to swim. I am so thankful my brother who is autistic, learned how to swim. It helped him to get in touch with his thoughts, feelings and it was relaxing for him. Think about the possibility of swimming for your child.

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