With the initial support of the Bridgend Autism Lead, Bridgend Halo Leisure identified that they would like to offer an Autism Swim provision.
Autistic children are 160 times more likely to drown than their neurotypical peers. Therefore, it is even more important that children on the autism spectrum learn to swim. However, learning to swim can be a particularly stressful experience for many autistic children. Adjusting to the swimming environment, with its different sights, sounds, smells and feelings, can be overwhelming. As such, 91% of parents/ carers have left mainstream aquatic services due to those services not understanding their child’s needs.
With the assistance of the Western Bay Integrated Autism Service, Autism Swim Research dedicated lessons was created and piloted, helping children to learn to swim in an enjoyable and relaxed way, avoiding the more noisy and boisterous nature of regular swimming lesson sessions. Specialist training, procedures, resources, and support was put in place for the autism-friendly swimming lessons.