Special Needs Swimming Lessons

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Many of you are asking for visuals for special needs swimming lessons. I’m glad you are here!

Swimming is a fun activity that offers numerous physical, mental, and social benefits. For autistic children and kids with other special needs, adapted swimming lessons can be particularly helpful. They promote physical strength, confidence, and social interaction. In order to maximize the effectiveness of these lessons, incorporating communication boards and visual aids can enhance the learning experience. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of using communication boards and other visuals in special needs swimming lessons, and discuss how they can create a more inclusive environment.

Communication Boards

Communication boards are powerful tools that assist children in expressing their thoughts, needs, and desires. By using visual symbols, pictures, or words, these boards allow swimmers to communicate effectively with their instructors and peers. For non-speaking kids, or those with limited speech, a communication board becomes an essential bridge. It will foster better understanding and connection in the swimming lesson environment. It enables participants to convey their preferences, or ask questions. Grab this free core + fringe communication board for swimming lessons, pools, and the beach here.

blue kickboard for swimming with a laminated core + fringe board duct taped to it with blue tape.  Pictures on the board include verbs related to swimming lessons and pictures of pool, kickboard, towel, ladder and other symbols to communicate

Core Board To Model Vocabulary

Communication boards and visual aids serve as valuable tools for instructors, enabling them to effectively convey instructions and model vocabulary. By utilizing visuals, instructors can break down complex tasks into simple steps, to help children understand each skill. The visuals enhance the learning experience by providing clear, consistent, and structured directions. Additionally, visuals can be used to create schedules, routines, or visual cues, making the swimming environment predictable. They also reduce anxiety for little ones who thrive on routine.

Autism & Drowning Risk

The following is information from the Autism Society Of Florida. “Drowning is the #1 cause of death in autism and Florida leads the way in child drownings resulting in death. Kids with ASD are 160 times more likely to experience nonfatal and fatal drowning than their neurotypical peers.” The Autism Society Of Florida put together a handout titled “12 Things Parents Of Children With Autism Need To Know About Drowning Prevention“. It’s really a must-read article!

If you have an autistic child and want to find adapted swim lessons in your area, contact a local pool. This could be a YMCA or other community pool to inquire if they offer adapted swim lessons. Many times, you can find someone through word of mouth too. Post in a local Facebook Group to see if anybody knows someone who teaches private adapted swimming lessons. Learning how to swim and about safety is of utmost importance for autistic children.

For more visual supports, download the free Visual Supports Starter set.

pictures of visual supports to use with young children with autism
Click the picture to grab your FREE Visual Supports Starter Set!

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