adaptive swim lessons

How Adaptive Swim Lessons Can Help with Weather Sensory Issues

If you are a parent of a child on the spectrum, you are likely well-researched into the various sensory perception issues that may have an impact on your child’s behavior and development. Children who are diagnosed on the neurodivergent spectrum—whether autistic or ADHD—can face a host of different challenges as they learn and grow in a world that steps up neurotypicals for success.

Special needs programs can help your neurodivergent offspring in more ways than one. While many parents are hyper-aware of how things like speech therapy and other land-based therapies can help their child navigate a world filled with sensory obstacles, many parents have not even thought about the potential benefits of aqua classes and how adaptive swim lessons might benefit children living on the spectrum. 

Why Consider Signing an Infant or Small Child Up for Adaptive Swim Lessons?

There are many benefits to signing your neurodivergent son or daughter up for swimming lessons—and adaptive swim programs, in particular, are designed to consider special needs. Factoring in the chances of water sensory issues and adapting swim lessons can help teach your child a potentially life-saving skill. Drowning is the leading cause of death for autistic children, according to the National Institute of Health. Learning to swim is a critical life skill for any child. In fact, it is widely recommended that parents get their children in the water as early as infancy for infant rescue swim lessons and survival swim lessons.

Research has shown that adaptive swimming lessons have a handful of benefits for children with autism (and ADHD as well). Among them are reduction of sensory aversions, increased attentiveness, improvement in regulation, and better self-regulation. Interestingly enough, these studies have found that water is a great facilitator in supporting therapy goals because of three qualities: viscosity, surface tension, and hydrostatic pressure.

How Aqua Therapy/Exposure Can Help Support Speech Therapy

So, how do adaptive swim lessons support speech therapy? Parents have reported that children on the spectrum have been more vocal/verbal after taking swim lessons—with increases in progress in oral motor skills and speech. 

Children are usually forced to lick, blow, and even make sucking motions when moving through the water. Swimming promotes the development of deeper breathing patterns, and this can strengthen the child’s ability to control airflow, which is necessary for speech.

Sensory-Motor Benefits of Swimming and Aqua Therapy

Water is gentle on the joints despite the added pressure. It touches every part of the body but, at the same time, promotes an experience of weightlessness. For most, the sensation of swimming often has a calming effect. For children who display water sensory issues, adaptive swimming lessons can act as exposure therapy in a controlled setting and help mitigate and improve this issue.

Swimming and moving through water enhance the sensory experience, and for children both on and off the spectrum, this leads to increased motor skills along with heightened physical awareness. For neurodivergent children—both on the ADHD and autistic spectrums—this can help improve attention and promote body awareness.

Looking for Adaptive Swimming Lessons Near You?

If you are local to the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area and looking for adaptive swim lessons for your neurodivergent child, Universal Athletic Club (UAC) has got you covered. UAC has qualified instructors and provides a safe space for swimming lessons.

Our certified adaptive swim instructors are experienced and gentle, and our aqua lessons have the potential to help improve your child’s quality of life. Are you interested in learning more? Visit our website or drop by the gym to see what UAC has to offer.