While we don’t know the exact reason, many people with autism are drawn to water. With our warm summer weather in metro Atlanta, swim season is lengthy, and it’s easy to see the appeal of an afternoon spent at the lake or a neighborhood pool. If you’re going to be spending any time waterside this summer, safety needs to be top of mind for both kids and adults. Water safety is especially important for kids with autism.
From our ABA therapy team, here are a few tips to keep your kids safe near the water this summer.
Teach Kids Early
Don’t wait to start teaching your child about water safety. While a young kid can’t fully understand the dangers—and it’s important not to scare them—introducing your child to and building comfort around water and water rules at a young age is helpful.
Go Over the Rules Ahead of Time
Once you’ve arrived at the pool, there’s far too much excitement to focus on learning new rules. Discuss pool and lake rules ahead of time with your child so they have time and space to absorb what you’re saying and they can ask questions. For kids with autism, social stories and picture cards may be particularly helpful.
Schedule Swim Lessons
Teaching your child to swim is the best thing you can do to keep them safe around water. Learning to swim takes time and some children are more eager to learn than others. There are multiple programs in metro Atlanta that are designed just for kids with special needs. Swim lessons are a huge component of water safety for kids!
While it’s so fun to take your child to the pool and see them splash and play, it’s not exactly relaxing. Even if there’s a lifeguard on duty, it’s important to stay alert. Never leave your kiddo unsupervised near water, especially if your child is prone to wandering. If your child is willing, consider choosing a bright colored swimsuit to make it easier to spot them in the water. Colors like bright orange and pink are easy to find both on the pool deck and in the water.
At Innovative Behavior Options we’re here to help your family thrive. We want to wish everyone a safe and fun summer! If you have any questions, we’re here. Give us a call at 770-250-0093 or drop us a line at Robin@behavioroptions.com.