Swimming with Autism

swim with autism web2


What is “Swimming with Autism”?

The Autism Society of Greater Akron (ASGA) partnered with the Greater Akron YMCA to develop a new water safety program called “Swimming with Autism,” a 10-week program that launches in the Fall of 2017.  Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are 160 times as likely to die from drowning as the general pediatric population. Given this exceptionally heightened risk of drowning for children with autism, swimming classes should be the intervention of top priority.

Accidental drowning for children with autism is compounded by the fact that roughly half attempt to leave (“elope”) from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings. With such alarming rates, ASGA set out to develop an intensive safety program for children with autism and other developmental disabilities in our community.

Swimming with Autism is based on a curriculum and program designed by the Autism Society of San Diego; ASGA is the third affiliate of the Autism Society of America to roll out this life saving initiative. The main goal for our participants is safety first and swimming second. We hope that individuals who go through this program continue their instruction after the ASGA program ends. The aquatics instructors in this program will be skilled in communication techniques, handling behavior issues, and they will be flexible and creative in order to modify traditional swim-teaching techniques. 

Participants will attend sessions twice a week throughout the months of September, October, and November.  Each session will be a half hour long, and taught one on one by a qualified instructor.  The focus of the program will be water safety.


Who can participate?

We are accepting registration from persons between the ages of 4 through adult.

Program Focus:  water safety, water entry and exit, breath control, balance and floatation, and combined arm and leg action through the water.

Requirements of participants: must be diagnosed with autism or other developmental disability, have the ability to walk unassisted, and be able to work one on one with a swim instructor.

NOTE:  If your swimmer can swim more than 15 feet in the pool, this program may not be suitable.


What are the dates and times? 

The 10-week program runs from September 11 – November 16, 2017. 

Sessions are 30 minutes each and are held Monday and Thursday evenings.
Session times are:  6:00pm, 6:30pm, 7:00pm and 7:30pm.

A mandatory parent orientation will take place on September 10, at 4:00 pm at the Akron YMCA.  On November 27, 2017 there will be a party and graduation ceremony. 


What is the cost?

The cost of the program is $350 (A $600 Value) for 20 sessions of one-on-one instruction.  For parents/caregivers who will self-pay, (not using County Board of DD or third party funds), the Autism Society of Greater Akron will provide a $100 scholarship – reducing the total cost to $250.  This scholarship is made possible through a grant from the Employees of Akron General and ASGA fundraising.

County Board of DD dollars may be used as payment for this program, but ASGA is not a Medicaid or Waiver provider.  

Registration is a pre-approval proccess with payment made once participant is approved for the program.  Payment options for the sessions will include credit card, check or contact information for the County Board of DD that ASGA will invoice.


How do I register for the program?

Online Registration opens via a link on this page on July 27, 2017 at 5 PM. 

Program Location:  Akron YMCA, 477 E Market Street, Akron OH 44304

“Swimming with Autism” has the capacity for 24 participants; instructional times are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. We expect the sessions to fill quickly, so you are encouraged to register as soon as possible.  As the swim session gets closer, we will be sending updates on what to expect, what to bring to sessions, and parent orientation information. 

If you have any questions, need additional information or want to request a mail-in form, contact Lisa Thompson via email HERE or via phone at 330-940-1441, ext. 2.



Event Details

Event Start Date 09-11-2017
Event End Date 11-16-2017
Akron YMCA
477 E Market Street
Akron YMCA