ADAPTIVE SWIMMING LESSONS

for Diverse Ability Youth

YMCA OFFERS ADAPTIVE SWIMMING
LESSONS FOR YOUTH WITH AUTISM

Through a partnership with Autism Speaks, the Y is offering Adaptive Swimming Lessons for youth. Registration is underway and classes start on Saturday, January 7.

These lessons incorporate specialized aquatic strategies to assist swimmers with diverse physical and neurological abilities. Y instructors are trained in Swim Whisperers® through Swim Angelfish to gain adaptive aquatic skills and knowledge and learn how to address sensory and motor challenges that swimmers face. Instructors assess and identify the underlying problem the swimmer is having learning to swim, and then implement the strategies they need to overcome these roadblocks. In short, the goal of the program is to turn any child into a confident and independent swimmer, no matter their situation or ability.

Swim Angelfish methodology works to improve swim skills and safety for swimmers of all abilities, including those with Anxiety, Attention Difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Challenges, Coordination Problems, Physical Disabilities and more.

The YMCA of Greater Nashua will provide 18 youth (ages 3-18 years) with Autism Speaks scholarships to receive 8 private swim lessons with a Swim Whisperers® certified instructor at the Y for the cost of a typical Y group swim lesson. The cost per session is $80 per child. Lessons will be one-on-one with an instructor and run 30 minutes.

“I’m excited that we will be offering this class to be inclusive of diverse ability youth. Drowning is among the leading causes of death of individuals with autism. It’s important that we offer safety around water skills to everyone. It’s always been my goal to make swimming lessons and aquatics safety in general accessible to all populations,” said Aquatic Director Allie Thomas.

Sadly, drowning after elopement, a term used to describe the tendency for some individuals with autism to wander from caregivers and secure locations, is a leading cause in death in children and adults on the autism spectrum. In fact, a 2017 analysis from Columbia University found that children with autism spectrum disorder are 160 times more likely to die from drowning than the general population.

“The lessons incorporate a variety of kick boards in different colors and textures equipment to help facilitate lessons for youth with autism to provide a variety of texture, color and shape options for assisting youth to gain comfort in floating, rolling over and swimming. We will have set of fun animal shaped Water treads to provide visual clues for youth (for instance: climb out and sit next to the octopus, swim to the turtle),” she shared. “Sometimes the obstacle may be something as simple as a child who is unwilling to put their head under water, or who is terrified to let go of the side of the pool. Our program addresses all kinds and severity of challenges. Our classes cater to children with severe to mild sensory issues, problems with motor skills, difficulty processing information, attention issues, or any other condition that might physically or psychologically impede the process of learning to swim.”

For more information, contact Aquatic Director Allie Thomas at athomas@nmymca.org or by calling 603-881-7778. If your child has any learning differences and would benefit from having swim lessons in this program, please reach out with any questions.

To register click here: YMCAofGN Adaptive Swim

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