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Benefits of Swimming for Kids with Autism

Swimming Autism

There are many benefits of swimming for autistic and special needs kids. One of the essential lessons they learn is life-saving skills.


According to the National Autism Association, accidental drowning accounted for approximately 90% of total U.S. reported deaths in children with an ASD under the age of 14. With those stats, it's hard not to think of swimming as a necessary and vital skill to learn.

Other benefits of swimming:

It's a great sensory activity. Weightlessness can feel good sensory wise. It helps kids to relax and can soothe or calm a child. There's less impact on muscles and joints which can relieve tension in the body.

Swimming improves social interaction. It provides a good opportunity to meet other kids and make friends. Taking lessons gives a chance to interact with kids and the instructor in a structured setting. Kids can learn to be comfortable with others in close proximity.

Taking your autistic child to the pool is a good way to increase physical activity. A portion of ASD kids have weak muscle tone, and swimming is a fun way to get physical activity with less impact on joints. It improves muscle tone by using a wide range of muscle groups.

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Studies show swimming improves coordination, eye contact, cognitive function, and speech. These improvements are not limited to autism. Individuals with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Sensory Disorders, Visual Impairment, and Spina Bifida can benefit from swimming.

Learning a new skill will increase self-esteem. Kids often get a boost of confidence when mastering a new skill. Self-confidence is one of the best gifts a child can receive.

Water has stress relieving properties. It's difficult not to feel good in water.

To get your child started on swimming lessons, look for adaptive classes in your area. Some parks offer special swims or swimming lessons to meet their needs.

If your child feels nervous or uncertain, walk them through the process step by step.
For instance, take a tour of the pool in advance. Show your child the changing area, the shower, and the locker. Take photos if it will be helpful. Make several tours before lessons take place.
Have them try a wetsuit instead of a bathing suit. Wetsuits are more fitting to the body and may provide warmth and gentle pressure. Have your child try on suits or equipment ahead of time.

The advantages of swimming for an autistic or any special needs child are endless. The most important benefit is having fun.

Have you thought of signing up your child for swimming lessons?