In less than two weeks, two autistic children have been lost to tragic drowning accidents. A loss of an innocent child is truly a sad occurrence and far too many times here in Florida children’s lives are cut short by drowning. The saddest part is that drownings are preventable. In more ways than one: swimming lessons and tentative care givers. As a mother of two, and one being on the autism spectrum, it hits close to home to hear horrible stories likes this but it is a reality and parents have got to take notice and take action!
One question that crosses my mind is how could this happen? I am not clueless to the fact that accidents happen and children are sneaky little devils, especially autistic children. ASD parents especially have to keep a watchful eye; our kids are quiet but clever! So I understand children get out of a parent’s site, but parents have to be more diligent in their efforts to make sure their children are safe and secure. For children with autism, they are usually drawn to the water because of the sensory calming effect that water can do for them. Other reasons why children with autism are susceptible to danger, such as drowning, are they simply have no fear. They do not grasp and understand the danger that is around them. So it is important for all parents, especially ASD parents to teach their child to swim.
Swim lessons, in my opinion, are a must for children. I know many, like myself, who do not have the funds to pay for private lessons are put between a rock and hard place. But if you can’t afford it, simply teach them yourself. Make visual aids, social stories or other items that will engage your child to want to learn. If you are one of the fortunate ones who can afford swim lessons please get your child in! In my opinion, swim lessons are as vital as taking them to the doctors for shots and check-ups. There are several great private organizations, local rec centers, and even local YMCA’s that offers lessons. At least get your child to learn the basics. It is vital they are at least comfortable with water and know what to do in the event they should fall into a pool or lake.
I hope I do not hear of another child drowning. However, I know living here in Florida there will be more. Parent’s please take action and some way, somehow teach your children how to swim. So tragedies like this do not happen to your family.