This is part of an ongoing series of water safety tips from Julie Schuett. See part 1 here.
It is very common for children in the spectrum to feel very uncomfortable getting their head wet and lying back with their ears under the water. In order to survive if one should ever land unexpectedly in the water it is a very important skill to develop. If one can get onto their back and float the face is out to breath and yell for help. Here are some ways to help kids on the spectrum develop comfort with floating on their back.
Teach them to cover their ears with their hands to help them feel comfortable with feeling water around their ears.
Have them rest their head on your shoulder that is lowered into the water.
Talk and sing soothingly, and encourage them to keep their body calm and quiet, resting on top of the water. If the child has learned other skills to soothe, encourage them to use those skills.
Slide your hands over theirs and help them glide over the water on their back. This will encourage long straight legs and a quiet body.
This may take several tries, but is well worth the relaxation and safety that you develop for the swimmer on its way!
More tips to come......
Julie Schuett has been teaching children and frighten adults for thirty years. For the past seven years she specializes in children on the Spectrum.