thankyou / autism and swimming techniques

by angela

As a parent of an autistic child struggling to find the best way to teach my son to swim I accidentally came across your website. The strategies you put in place make perfect sense to me and I am looking forward to trying these simple yet very thoughtful techniques. It is not often people give honest expert advice so specific and genuine and I truly appreciate you taking your time to write about your journey. Thank you and a very big well done to you!!

Hi Angela,

Well thank you too :) ....thanks so much for getting in touch..It is so nice to be appreciated, as you can see it simply an honest case study of what I have observed and experiences whilst teaching. I have been teaching autistic children to swim about 6 years, I have 3 children in total with autism and one with learning disabilities and one deaf child.

As it happens I have worked with adults with learning disabilities for 25 years so I tend to choose children with disabilities because the other instructors seem to shy always from them so in general I have them passed to me, these are one to one lessons.

It is really good that you have made this comment because I have been toying with the idea of updating that page about teaching with autism..because it has now been a few years that I have been teaching this child in question and I have discovered that my methods of teaching has actually worked.

On my page about swimming with autism I was trying to get E’s arms out of the water, well I kept persevering with my technique of teaching stated in the page and it seemed to come suddenly. He is now swimming with both arms out of the water perfect body position as well as lifting his head to breathe then returning head to water. I know you are supposed to turn your head but I’m grateful that he is breathing at all its something I can work on.

He is also using his arms fully extended on his back and he is also doing breaststroke with proper breaststroke leg action and arm action as well as breathing. I’m so pleased about how he is getting on.

The other autistic child I have been teaching is also doing the exactly the same as E. He is swimming front crawl with breathing, breaststroke and backstroke.

It has also worked with a little autistic girl who I have been only teaching her about 9 months but I’m using the same techniques...although it’s too early to say if she will swim with style and technique. Everyone is different she is already swimming without technique without swim aids in the deep end on front and back so I’m really hoping she will follow in the same footsteps as E.

So to conclude without rambling, this way of teaching autistic children on my page seems to work as far as I can see, it’s the repetition which eventually seems to click in the end, but as you can see it has taken E 5 years to get to this stage and the other child i teach about 4 years. Patience on your behalf is the key also to be successful.

As I said previously I’m thinking of updating the swimming with autism information to include more or less what I have told you in reply.

I was wondering if you would like to contribute. You say that you are going to try my practices with your autistic child, I was wondering if you wanted to write a review or some kind of dairy of your experience trying to teach your child to swim.

I could then publish it along with the updated page ...there’s no pressure or any hurry I haven’t started yet. I thought that you seem so enthusiastic about the way I have written my page about autism that a review or something would be good coming from a person who had actually read my page and actually tried it rather than me saying how good I think it is.

Anyway...good luck teaching your child to swim and please get in touch and let me know how you get on I am extremely interested how you get on.

Dale :)

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