Children with autism face greater risk of drowning, which is why the Y is offering special swim classes just for these kiddos.
Drowning accounts for 46% of all injury deaths among children with autism. This figure translates to children with ASD having 160 times the chance of dying from drowning as other children. Individuals 14 years and younger with ASD are 40 times more likely to die from injury than the general pediatric population.
Knowing that children with autism have a higher drowning risk, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) has been working with local YMCAs across the United States to help grow the capacity for inclusive swim lessons. To date, nearly 400 Ys offer swimming instruction for children with special needs, including children with autism.
“The Y believes that learning to swim is a necessity, not a luxury, but we also realize that many children, including those with autism, may face barriers when it comes to learning to swim,” says Lindsay Mondick, director of aquatics and water safety at Y-USA. “That’s why Y-USA has made it a priority to ensure that local Ys have the tools and resources they need to ensure that all children have access to the life-saving skills that come with formal swim lessons.”
Swim lessons for children with autism may include one-on-one lessons, warmer water, and lessons during quieter pool times so that children don’t feel overstimulated.