boy in water (3)Swimming is such an iconic and fun activity for the summer, but can be overwhelming for some with autism because of all of the unfamiliar sensations, actions and directions.

We’re accustomed to using visual supports to help with novel experiences and this is no exception.

You can think “visual” in the pool – you just have to think visual and waterproof!

Here are five ways you can make the pool a success this year:

  1. Swimming lessons for children with disabilities

  2. Brush up on water safety

  3. Visual schedules: Take pictures of each step: getting ready, swimming, playing.  Use them before getting in the water  or waterproof them by laminating and sticking to a pool noodle, or consider getting a floating, waterproof iPad case:

    The Waterproof Store


  4. Social stories: Think about social encounters that may happen at the pool. You may want to involve motivating special interests such as favorite characters (anyone from Nemo to Thomas the Train can enjoy the water). Describe what to do if the situation gets overwhelming (ask for help, wear earplugs or goggles to decrease sensory overload)

  5. Video modeling: To increase new skills and establish routine, consider videotaping a day at the pool for your child to review ahead of time. This doesn’t have to be your child, but can be you, a sibling, a friend or even a video on swimming on YouTube.


More Resources:

 Swimming with Autism

Visual Supports For Summer Swims