Water Activities and Swim Safety Tips for Children with Autism - Little Spurs Autism Centers

Water Activities and Swim Safety Tips for Children with Autism

  • June 12, 2024
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Water Activities and Swim Safety Tips for Children with Autism - Little Spurs Autism Centers

Summer is here in Texas, bringing the perfect weather to have fun in the sun and enjoy water activities!  While swimming and other water-based activities offer engaging sensory experiences, it is important we acknowledge the safety concerns that come along with it. Little Spurs Autism Centers provides support to families with children on the autism spectrum. We have a list of swim safety tips tailored to the unique needs of children with autism, helping families enjoy their summertime experiences safely.  

  1. Introduce Water Safety Early: Teaching young children about water safety early on is essential to keeping your child safe. Reinforcing safety tips frequently is crucial for keeping children safe around the water. Sometimes, children with autism face communication challenges, so incorporating their preferred method of communication to teach them swim safety is helpful. For example, the use of pictures or social stories to illustrate safe practices can help children grasp concepts that might be difficult to convey verbally.  
  2. Practice Makes Perfect: Practicing new routines can establish familiarity and create a better understanding of safety rules. For example, if you have a swimming pool at home, creating a rule that children must always wait for an adult before getting in the water is a great thing to practice and even role-play by practicing waiting for an adult before entering the pool Implementing visual cues such as using social stories can help teach these skills to children who need additional support in their communication. 
  3. Keep Close Watch: When near water, always keep your child within arm’s reach. Drowning can occur swiftly and silently, sometimes without warning signs. Close supervision is crucial, even if your child is confident in the water! Staying physically close to your child allows you to respond immediately to any unexpected situations. Another step you can take to ensure your child is safe in the water is to make sure that family and friends, and anyone who is regularly interacting with your child, is educated on your child’s specific needs and safety protocols to assist in case of an emergency.  

Water activities can be a fantastic source of enjoyment and can provide a lot of sensory input as well! Engaging in these activities can also complement autism therapy by promoting sensory integration and motor skills development. Here are some of our favorite water activities to enjoy this summer: 

  1. Sensory Toys: Water play with floating toys like boats and rubber ducks, squishy balls for sensory exploration, and pouring tools such as cups and funnels. This multi-sensory experience fosters fine motor skills, sensory integration, and imaginative play in a safe and inclusive environment. 
  2. Bubbles: Fill a pool or bathtub with water, add bubble bath solution, and provide tools like wands or blowers for multi-sensory engagement, fostering coordination and relaxation in a stimulating environment. 
  3. Water Painting and Chalk: Encourage creativity and fine motor skills with water painting, using brushes or chalk, or using hands to create designs on surfaces. This sensory-rich activity promotes focus and provides tactile stimulation as children watch their creations evolve with the evaporating water. 

We hope these tips and activities will help you and your family have a fun-filled summer enjoying water activities! If you are looking for more resources or are interested in starting autism therapy at one of our autism centers, please visit our website today to learn more about the services we offer.  Or give one of our Little Spurs Autism Centers a call at 210-263-9443 today.

Article By: Breanna Kolts, BT Jordan Grossman, BCBA

Person-centered ABA Therapy
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