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Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.

From The New York Times:

Her Parents Thought Swimming Lessons Were a Good Idea

Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.…

Former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka

Good video about former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka


Water is a magnet for all children.  It is fun.  It is soothing.  Water is the ultimate, non-threatening hug.  As an adult, what is your reaction when you sink into a hot bath?  Or sip a cool glass of water on a hot day?   Aaaaaahhhhhhh.  Exactly.  Now magnify that attraction and that reaction by 100 and you’ll know exactly what an autistic child feels like when they are immersed in water.


Autistic kids need, want, and benefit from being in the water more than most.  They learn how to control themselves and can feel soothed, calmed, able to listen and to learn.  Water is the ultimate hug for an autistic child and a proven and effective source of therapy.  For more about how water helps an autistic child, here's one good source.


More than one million children in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with autism and the numbers keep rising.  Water is one of the most effective therapies for these children, but there is another side to the story.  Autistic kids are more likely to seek out water because it is so comforting.  They are less likely to remember cues about avoiding danger and are more likely to become escape artists:  evading their parents and caregivers to seek out the places they feel good.


So, teaching autistic kids water safety from the age of one takes on a special urgency.  Convincing your child to stay away from something that gives them enormous pleasure is an exercise in futility.  Don’t deny them the pleasure.  Teach them how to interact safely with the source of that pleasure.


Any doubt about the smiles and giggles that happen when you put a child in the water?  Watch Nicole Dino, the aquatics coordinator at Miami Children’s Hospital in the water with 7-year old Ethan.  And try to tell me you didn’t smile when you watched Ethan.  Yes, water and kids belong together.


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Tags: Jabari, Water, advice, and, autism, children, infant, learn, lessons, of, More…parenting, safety, swim, swimming, the, tips, to, water, with


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Comment by Rebecca Wear Robinson on March 9, 2011 at 11:24am
Nicole,  I completely agree - water is just a great place for parents and children to bond - no matter what the child's limitations or physical abilities.  Water truly does sooth and heal everyone.
Comment by Nicole Dino on March 9, 2011 at 11:15am

Very well said, thank you for posting the message. We need to make a difference by educating the importance of water safety for all children. For the families with special needs water gives an outlet for success and family bonding between parent and child. Parents can feel comfort in knowing they have something  they can enjoy doing as a family, something very rewarding.

Love the photo you posted. So pure and natural.

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