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Just Keep Swimming....


It is a favorite at our house! We love to play in it, pour it, scoop it, and yes-SWIM in it! Ever since he was a baby, my son, Andrew, has LOVED the feeling of water around him. It calmed him, soothed him, and could also provide hours of entertainment on a long, summer afternoon. Him playing with his water table, water shooters, and the plain ole' hose are engrained in my memories of his outdoor play in his early years and even today. He has also always, ALWAYS loved the pool and the ocean.

Through further research, I learned what a major benefit water play and swimming is to all children and especially children with exceptional needs. The benefits are not only physical in nature, but also emotional!

​Physical Benefits:

  • builds muscle tone and strength

  • helps with balance,

  • aids in coordination

  • develops motor skills

  • helps improve range of motion

Emotional Benefits:

  • develops self-confidence

  • builds self-esteem

  • explores children's boundaries

  • showcases new abilities

All of this benefit, how could we not want to be in the water all day, everyday?

Well, to be perfectly honest, I am absolutely terrified by my child's love of water. It presents one of my biggest fears surrounding my son and these fears are not without merit.

According to the National Autism Association, drowning is among the leading causes of death for children with autism. This is because of three common autistic characteristics: wandering, fascination with the water, and a lack of safety awareness. Across the board, children with special needs have a higher risk of drowning.

Now, I know what you are thinking, "Geez, Anna, you started so positively, and now we are taking quite a turn in a different, darker direction."

The good news is we can have the best of both worlds. We can encourage our child's love of water, reaping all of the amazing benefits listed above, and teach our child how to explore this pastime safely.

Here are some great suggestions for how to ensure safe, water exploration for your child.


We have several options for swimming lessons that are designed especially for our little ones with differing needs. Check them out below and reach out using the contact information with any questions or to schedule your first lesson!


Program Name: British Swim School

Program Overview:

Dolphin 1: Water Acclimation: Special Ability Students-Swimming lessons are modified from our core program on a case-by-case basis to support children with special abilities. Bottom line: we focus on what they can do instead of what they can not. The swim instructor will work one-on-one with each student to acclimate the student to the water with sensory play activities while working on an introduction to skills that will be used in the next level(s). While the student is in the water, parents are encouraged to be on the deck and participating if that is what is best for the swimmer. Ratio is 1:1.

Dolphin 2: Water Survival: Special Ability Students- Personalized attention focused on assimilating students with special abilities into our core curriculum with a focus on survival based skills; back floating and safe submersions. Parents may still be involved at this point, but we are looking to build independence from the parent, moving to inclusion on a case-by-case basis. The goal when this level is completed is to have the child enter at our Minnow level. Ratio may be increased to 2:1 depending on the abilities of the swimmer(s).

Address: LA Fitness - Rock Hill

745 Arden Lane Rock Hill SC, 29732, United States

Contact Information: Phone (704-440-3560) Email (


Program Name: SafeSplash Fort Mill-Adaptive Aquatics

Program Overview: At SafeSplash Fort Mill, we believe swimming is a life skill®, and that all children are safer and happier when they learn the basics of water safety, no matter the challenges they face. Our Adaptive Aquatics program considers the basic goals of each swimmer as we promote comfort in the water, focus on safety, and teach the basics of swimming to the extent a child’s physical and developmental ability allows.

Contact Information: Phone (803) 339-0204) Email (

Address: 1309 Broadcloth Street, Suite 101


Program Name: Sunsational Swim School

Program Overview: Sunsational Swim School is a coast-to-coast provider of private swim instruction at client-selected home and community pools. Founded in 2009, our mission is to make learning to swim convenient, fast, fun and hassle-free - especially since drowning is the #1 leading cause of death for children under the age of 5.Sunsational specializes in highly-effective one-on-one at-home swim lessons for learners of all ages, bringing top-notch swim instructors to the pool of your choice. These Sunsational Certified teachers are experienced professionals who have passed our extensive interview process, which includes a criminal background check and Family Watchdog screening. All Sunsational instructors are certified in CPR and First Aid.

Swim instruction can begin as early as 6 months of age through adults, with guaranteed results for swimmers 3 and older. Our private swim classes allow the instructor to individualize each lesson to meet the student’s particular needs and special abilities. Our instructors provide private swim classes for all ages—infants and toddlers, preschoolers, kids, and adults—at your home or community pool.

Contact Information: Phone (1-888-788-2140) Email ( Website:


Program Name: Charlotte Aquatics-SPECIAL NEEDS SWIM LESSONS

Program Overview: At Charlotte Aquatics we believe every child is unique in their abilities and personalities. Our program for children with special needs is structured so that each child receives instruction adapted to their individual abilities, personalities, and sensitivities.

Students are presented with small, achievable goals that allow them to work at their own pace; developing crucial safety skills all the way through learning advanced swim techniques. We know that while some children may take to the water with ease, others may need a slower, steadier approach. We offer both group or private lessons with specially trained instructors. Upon inquiry, you will be scheduled for an evaluation to determine the most optimum class structure for your swimmer. Our specially trained instructors are knowledgeable and mindful of individual responses and sensitivities. They recognize the role that auditory processing and vestibular motion play in providing the best learning experience possible to make our swimmers “Au-some” Fish here at Charlotte Aquatics.

Contact Information: Phone: (704-341-9673) Email: (

All my love and support, Anna

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