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Beginning Tips for Teaching Water Safety

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The very first element we found ourselves in on this planet was water, surrounded and nurtured inside our mothers. For most children on the spectrum water is a draw. It comforts like a weighted blanket and makes the world feel calm and safe like nothing else can. However for many parents and loved ones, water is a source of panic and danger, as many people on the spectrum don't have good safety skills around water. In order to give kids the positive experiences with water and keep them safe, it's important to teach safety explicitly.

3202934312 8230fee68d m

The very first element we found ourselves in on this planet was water, surrounded and nurtured inside our mothers. For most children on the spectrum water is a draw. It comforts like a weighted blanket and makes the world feel calm and safe like nothing else can. However for many parents and loved ones, water is a source of panic and danger, as many people on the spectrum don't have good safety skills around water. In order to give kids the positive experiences with water and keep them safe, it's important to teach safety explicitly.

Here are a few tips that I would like you to consider when working around and with someone on the spectrum to learn water skills.

First always ingrain that they should have an adult with them when they enter the water. I have us start each swimming/therapy session with "1....2....3..Come to me." This helps them remember to stay close to an adult before they move into the water. Repetition just may ingrain the safety message and keep them from running in when they escaped our watch.

Next I have my students learn to "hop like a bunny." This allows them to find their footing in the pool and being able to jump up off the bottom can help them get to safety and find air. I sing "Hop like a bunny, Hop Hop Hop." Giving kids the tools to get to the surface helps them keep themselves safe. For those who are more anxious, I have them hold the side of the pool and feel with their feet along the side of the pool to feel in control as we hop along the poolside. When one finds a way to get on their feet and resurface back to a dock or side of a pool a moment of fright can be turned into
a moment of wonder!


More tips to come!


Julie Schuett has been teaching children and adults to swim for thirty years. For the past
seven years she has specialized in children on the spectrum. You can find more information at
www.thumbtack.com/profile/services/Ku00$mTuOsLCYw/