Let’s face it. It’s been a long, cold and snowy winter in New Brighton. It’s time to look forward to warmer days and summer fun. Over the next 10 weeks, we’ll highlight some of the amazing summer activities that the City of New Brighton has in store. Check back every Monday for a new installment in the Spring Meltdown News Post Series and get the most out of your summer in New Brighton!
The Best Advice for Teaching Children with Autism to Swim
Parents of children with autism face unique challenges, and for some, the idea of their child learning to swim is especially nerve wracking. However, giving children the skills for water safety can mean peace of mind. Some studies indicate kids with autism are at a higher risk for drowning, but teaching children to swim means being able to prevent accidents. Even if you don’t have a pool of your own, your family can enjoy trips to parks, hotels, beaches, and neighborhood get-togethers with peace of mind.
If you are planning on family swims over the summer months, start by putting safety first. Ensure your pool area is properly outfitted with pool safety equipment essentials. A secure fence is a must-have, including locking gates and a motion-activated alarm system. Every pool should have a cover for when it’s not in use, reaching poles, buoy lines and hooks, and you should keep floats handy. Make sure each child has a weight- and size-appropriate life jacket as well.
If your child struggles with being comfortable in water, there are a number of ways to help youngsters overcome water-related anxieties. For instance, allowing your child to wear socks and shoes can help with feeling less buoyant and more in control in the water. Some children are helped by Mom or Dad entering the water first, walking flat-footed, and showing how safe it is. Getting specialized instruction can be a boon to most children with autism, and there are swimming instructors throughout the country who can tailor to your youngster’s needs. For local instruction, you can select lessons oriented to your child’s unique circumstances. Children who find groups overwhelming can register for one-on-one instruction or small group lessons. In the end, no matter what method you choose, helping a child with autism learn to swim means providing better safety and quality of life.
New Brighton Parks and Recreation has multiple instructors who have the experience and knowledge to help your child with special needs feel comfortable in the water. Call 651-638-2136 or visit newbrightonmn.gov/swim for more information.
By: Jenny Wise