Health & Fitness

Benefits to Teaching Special Needs Children to Swim

The benefits to teaching special needs children swimming range from gross motor to cognitive skills, to muscle strength and endurance and improvement in overall communication skills. Swimming fosters courage, confidence, trust and helps to develop friendships. It’s great for socialization and relaxation. (Watch a YouTube video on the benefits of swimming for special needs children.)

Lots of reputable swim schools offer classes for special needs children.

Special needs developmental swim programs use water education to develop water safety and swimming skills. It focuses on developing self-confidence and building self-esteem. These programs are often customized for each student’s emotional and developmental capabilities. With each child a goal is set of helping him or her become physically active and learn the life-saving skill of swimming. The ultimate goal is to work with them through a progression that provides them with another avenue for integration into a small group of highly functional special needs children. Special needs swim programs can have a tremendous impact on the life of a special needs child – helping them to learn an important life and safety skill. The water not only offers them great motivation but it also gives those with limited movement on land restriction-free movement –possibly for the first time in their lives. In addition to body conditioning, learning water skills gives special needs children confidence and a sense of achievement – and they have fun exploring new boundaries with success.

The special needs child’s water experience is exciting, educational, substantive and fulfilling for them.

How important are swim lessons to special needs children?

If you look at the statistics provided by the National Autism Association, drowning is the leading cause of death among children in the autism spectrum. The American Institute for Preventative Medicine states that drowning also is the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. under age 5. So learning swim and water safety skills is a key to making a significant impact to these statistics for the very young and those with special needs.

Learn more about special needs children at

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