This website (previously ASDinfoWales) belongs to and is run by the National Autism Team, which is funded by Welsh Government. It is one of the resources which helps the Team achieve their aim to improve the lives of autistic people in Wales.

Halo Leisure Autism friendly swimming sessions

Actions and outcomes

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.



During the last session, parents/carers and staff were interviewed as part of a film that was taken during the swim session, which can be viewed here:

The progress of the children from the first session to the last session was very clearly observed by the IAS, parents/ carers, and the staff. The IAS attended 3 sessions in order to provide information and advice to parents/ carers if needed.

Lessons Learned

From the perspective of the Western Bay IAS, the established advice hub during the swimming lessons was valuable, but may not be required every time as parents/ carers are keen to watch their children swim and learn. Information and advice provided via handouts and links to the ASDinfoWales website is better during the classes themselves.

Having other parties to support the hubs, for example the local National Autistic Society group, and the local Autism Lead would be of benefit.


Health Board:
Swansea Bay University Health Board
Local Authority:
Integrated Autism Service:
Western Bay IAS