Sensory Adapted Swimming Lesson System for Children with ASD


autism sensory swimming lessons


Great tragedy is at times a fact of life, though it is in many cases avoidable.  In the summer of 2014, a 5 year old autistic boy in Missouri named Tony Eugene “Gene” Ferguson drowned in a nearby pond after wandering out of his house when a repair crew left a door open. The loss of a child isn’t easy for anybody, and most of the time we are not prepared for it.

News like this has everyone on their toes. So, how we can we keep autistic children safe in and around water? The University Of Kansas Department Of Occupational Therapy Education feels they have come up with a solution. Researchers at this institution have created a program they feel will effectively teach kids with autism how to swim.

Sensory Supported Swimming has been supporting autistic children from the age of 4 to 17 and teaching them how to navigate the water. Although different children have different ways of processing and learning new things, support staff is available to help them learn using methods they respond to. Alison Moore, a mother whose 7 year old son participates in Sensory Supported Swimming, says that “He loves the water and this is something he can enjoy.” She also added that she put him in regular swimming lessons and he was not progressing, though she knew that he was capable of learning. Her son is now comfortable in the pool and can even tread the water!

Lisa Mische Lawson, a certified recreational therapist and Associate Professor at the University Of Kansas Medical Center was able to get the funding for the program through a non-profit.  She stated that many families couldn’t access lessons, especially ones that were affordable. This program is the perfect one for those families that are concerned about their autistic loved ones and water safety. One issue that is present at the time, however, is that so few people are certified to teach lessons while also having an in-depth knowledge autism spectrum disorder.

Taja Nicholle Kenney, SUNY Eerie Community College

This entry was posted in Autism Advocacy, Autism Alternative Treatment, Autism Awareness, Autism Causes, Autism in the Family, Autism News, Autism Therapy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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