A pool isn’t always fun and games for children with autism. Statistics show drowning is the leading cause of death for children with ASD. It’s a concern for Jo Renshaw of Australia, whose 7-year-old son Keidis is on the autism spectrum.
“He tends to not be aware of the danger. He would just walk from the side of the pool onto the top of the water, and he’d be under,” Keidis’ mother told an Australian news outlet.
It is why an organization called Autism Swim developed a program just for kids like Keidis.
“We want to ensure that children on the spectrum get access to swimming and water-safety lessons to ensure they’re safe around water,” Trent Hotchkin of Royal Life Saving Western Australia said.
The class not only teaches children how to swim and be safe in the water, but organizers say it also helps children with communication and sensory challenges.
“I will, for example, use visual aids, if they’ve got sensory issues, then we’ll use special equipment to help develop their skill sets and also make sure that everything is fun,” one of the instructors said.
Even though he’s learning life-saving skills, Keidis is having fun.
“He enjoys having quite a strict routine, so every time he wakes up on Monday morning, he’s like; ‘It’s Monday, I’ve got swimming lessons today,’” his mom said.