If you've been looking for a summer activity for your child with autism, you should think about signing him or her up for swimming lessons. Swimming is actually a beneficial activity for kids with autism for many reasons. Here are a few benefits of swimming lessons to help you decide if it is right for your child.
Swimming can soothe sensory processing issues. Since kids on the spectrum often have trouble processing different types of sensory input, finding areas that are easy on their senses is important. Open swimming time in a public pool may be too noisy, too busy or just too overwhelming for a child on the spectrum, but private swimming lessons provide a calm, quiet environment with the soothing comfort of the water. As your child enters the water, the pressure around their body will be similar to that of a weighted blanket, which is often used to ease sensory overload for kids on the spectrum.
Swimming helps to improve coordination and physical strength. Building and maintaining muscle tone is difficult for many people on the spectrum. If you are trying to help your child develop better muscle tone and motor skills, swimming lessons may be a good place to start. Swimming focuses on gross motor skills and large muscle groups, making it a good first activity. Another reason why swimming is a good choice is because the water is low-impact, which means minimal strain on the muscles. This will reduce the risk of impact-related injuries.
Learning to swim can save your child's life. With wandering and drowning among the leading causes of death for children and teens with autism, swimming lessons could be the key that your child needs to survive if he or she wanders away near a waterfront. Remember that kids on the spectrum don't often have the same degree of spatial awareness, so bodies of water can be a more serious threat than you might expect for kids who cannot swim. Once your child has learned to swim, you can be confident that those instincts will kick in if he or she wanders into the water.
These are three of the key reasons why you should plan on swimming lessons for your child on the autism spectrum. In addition to these autism-related benefits, kids on the spectrum will feel the same sense of accomplishment from learning a new skill, which is equally important to self-esteem. Look for a swimming instructor who is familiar with special needs to get the best results from the lessons. Contact a business, such as the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, for more information.