9 Reasons Swimming should be taught to Children with Autism and Special needs

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Children with Autism and Special Needs find water fascinating and this fascination can be dangerous especially if they have a tendency to wander. In a recent study, statistics show that autistic children are more prone to drowning. That's because these children are not vigilant about their safety and don't feel fear the same way that other children do. They seem to lose their sense of danger which can be a life-threatening situation. So teaching them to swim can be an important life skill which also has a lot of other benefits like: 

1. Swimming is fun. 

Swimming is a fun and engaging activity for children with autism. It can be a great way to improve coordination, develop physical toughness.  Swimming can be difficult at first, so it’s important to slowly introduce your child to the water with a flotation device at first and work up to simply bathing in it. Once you do that you can take your child to the pool for a swim. It’s a low-impact sport that’s fun and makes children feel good and can hone their senses, which is so important for children with autism. 

2. Helps burn off excess energy.   

Swimming is a great activity for children with autism. It builds confidence, which is important to develop as they grow. It doesn't matter if the child is a little hesitant to go in the water or if they don't know how to swim, they will gain skills and learn more every time they go in the pool. It is also a low intensity exercise so it’s good for kids who are hyperactive or have excess energy.   

3. Helps build muscle strength.   

Swimming is a great activity for children, especially children with autism. It can help improve their muscle strength which is one of the most common issues that kids with autism face. It also leads to weight loss and helps develop their balance and agility. These children should take swimming lessons to help them develop their coordination which will make other sports and recreational activities easier for them as they get older. 

4. Improves physical condition. 

Swimming is an excellent form of physical activity for children with autism. It will help improve their physical condition and improve their quality of life. Swimming can help children escape an overstimulating world and a great way for kids boost their self-esteem and improve their self-expression. It helps them feel better about themselves by overcoming obstacles. It can help kids gain the strength they need to push themselves. 

5. Improves social skills and communication.   

Swimming is a great social activity for children with autism to develop social skills and to get used to being in social situations. That way, if they ever feel uncomfortable they have a coping mechanism. It also helps them improve their communication skills. Swimming also has other benefits for children with autism. It improves their immune system and keeps them away from potential germs. 

6. Helps relieve stress and anxiety.   

Swimming is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. A study has shown that many children with autism are a lot calmer and more at ease in the water than they are on land. Children feel that they are in control of the environment, and sense the weightlessness of the water which helps them in a way. Swimming has been shown to improve mood and generally improve quality of life. The sensory experience of being in the water, which is cooler and wet, provides relief from anxiety.   

7. Improves breath control and sleep.   

Swimming is a great exercise for children with autism because it helps to improve their respiratory skills and sleep patterns. When they swim, children are inhaling oxygen at a steady rate, and they’re holding their breath at the surface of the water for eight to ten seconds. They need to work hard because their body is weightless when they’re underwater. They also need to hold their breath at the surface of the water for about 10 seconds.  This improves their breath control as well as the exercise helps them to sleep better. 

8.  Improves eye to hand co-ordination.   

One of the main reasons kids with autism have trouble with socializing is sensory integration. They are overwhelmed by external stimuli and it can be overwhelming for them. Swimming is a great way to give their sensory system a break and to allow them to work on motor skills. Swimming is not only a great form of exercise, it's also great for eye-hand coordination and helps develop a sense of balance in these kids. 

9. Calming effect.   

It's well established that water has a calming effect on most people and provides a sense of peace which helps many people to re-center. Swimming has a calming effect in children with autism. Parents report that children are more focused and less hyperactive after a swim. Another great thing about swimming is that it doesn’t rely on verbal communication, so it’s a good alternative for children with language delays. 

Teaching these children to swim can mean the difference between life and death if these children find themselves accidentally in water. In addition, swimming will help bring joy, confidence, and coordination into their lives, while strengthening their bodies, and reduce stress. So it's time to research and find swimming lessons for your child.

Let us know if you can think of other reasons, swimming might help, by commenting below

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