Since the inception of the swim program in 2009, the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation has provided financial assistance for twelve children to take swimming lessons every week, all year round. The private swimming lessons by instructors Maureen Lydon, Charlie Piper, and Sandra Dawson provide a sensory and physical activity in a structured environment that the children need and enjoy.
Several of the children have progressed to the point of being able to compete in Special Olympics. Charlie Piper, who is the head coach of the Special Olympics swim team, said, “I believe the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation has enriched the lives of the children by providing the opportunity to participate, learn new skills, build confidence, and interact with others. It is very obvious to me that each of these swimmers has benefited greatly in their personal, social, and athletic lives. They know they can now do something that once did not seem possible.”
In addition to the physical activity and social opportunities, swimming lessons are especially important for autistic children because many are drawn to water. A group lesson can be too much of a sensory overload, but private lessons enable rapid growth in a safe setting. “Although they are in a private lesson, they interact with other children and staff providing social opportunities,”
Maureen Lydon adds that the swim program provides peace of mind for the parents of autistic children that they can learn to swim and become safe in the water through nurturing lessons. One-on-one instruction allows the swimmers to progress faster and enables children and families to build relationships with their instructors in addition to gaining confidence and pride in their accomplishments. Lydon said, “We’re grateful for the generous contributions of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation to fund swimming lessons and give autistic children in our community the opportunity to become safe, confident swimmers, something they may not have been able to achieve without the foundation’s financial assistance.”
The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation looks forward to a continued partnership with Lydon Aquatic Center to provide support for as many children as possible, and is impressed by the expertise of the instructors and the hearts of the swimmers as many work to achieve a skill level that allows them to compete in Special Olympics.
About Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation:
The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation (myASDF) is a charity that supports children with autism spectrum disorders by providing education, information, and financial assistance to their families and relevant community service organizations. Funds donated to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation are used to address any and all kinds of issues in assisting children with autism and their families. Visit www.autismspectrumdisorderfoundation.org, email myASDF@yahoo.com, or call 877.806.0635 for more information and to see how you can help.