Instructors qualified to teach children with Autism to swim

Popular aquatic recreational facilities Peninsula Leisure Centre (PLC) and Gosford Olympic Pool (GOP), now boast a number of highly-skilled instructors qualified to teach children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to swim.
Certified with national water safety and swimming specialists, Autism Swim, instructors at the PLC and GOP are now armed with the tools and techniques to help children with ASD as young as two years of age, become confident and capable in the water.
Group Leader Connected Communities, Ms Julie Vaughan, said this specialist skill base is a necessary and potentially life-saving tool.
“Drowning is among the leading causes of death in young people with ASD.
“More than 90 per cent of fatalities in children with ASD under 14 years of age are a result of accidental drowning,” Ms Vaughan said.
“Certified Autism Swim instructors are provided with ongoing training, support and consultancy to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively support and teach individuals with ASD in relation to all things swimming and water safety.”
In addition to enhancing personal safety, swimming offers many other benefits for young people with ASD and their families.
These include: fulfilment of sensory needs in a low stimulation environment; gross motor output, an essential self-regulation tool for individuals with ASD; increased coordination, mobility and balance; cognitive benefits, including increased communication skills, through skill development; increased fitness, joint stability, muscle strength and tone; assistance in training body sensation, body awareness, joint position, spatial awareness and posture control; and, increased confidence through skill development and a positive social outlet.
Participation in swimming lessons year-round has proven benefits for all young people.
“The continual development of water safety skills is essential for all young people, especially given the nature of our lifestyle and our coastal environment,” Ms Vaughan added.
“Swimming programs at both the PLC and GOP offer awareness, skill development, fitness and fun for all participants throughout the year,” Ms Vaughan said.

Media release, May 16
Central Coast Council Media