This post originally appeared in July 2013. Sharing this again.
Summer is here, and it's a great time to explore the outdoors with your children. Autism presents a unique set of safety concerns for parents. The advocacy and awareness groups, Unlocking Autism, (UA), and the National Autism Association, (NAA), have teamed up to provide the following safety information for parents. Not all suggestions listed below are right for every family in every neighborhood. You should carefully consider the best safety options for your individual child, according to www.autismspeaks.org.
Some things to consider...
Teach your child to swim
Too often, children with autism are often attracted to water sources such as pools, ponds, and lakes. Drowning is a leading cause of death for a child or adult who has autism. Be sure your child knows how to swim unassisted. Swimming lessons for children with special needs are available at many YMCA locations. In Corpus Christi, the YMCA is located at 417 S. Upper Broadway.
Call 361-882-1741, or visit www.ymca-cc.org, for more information.
The final lesson should be with clothes on.
The May Institute, www.mayinstitute.org, has this advice:
• Find the right (typical or adaptive) life jacket that best meets your child's needs to wear anytime the child is near water- pool, lake, river, fountain, pond, hot tub, or any open water.
• Always be within arm's reach of the child when he or she is in or around any open water.
• Be sure to drain bathtubs, and other small containers of water when you are finished using them. Put safety locks on toilet seats; motion detector alarms / safety locks on all hot tubs, landscape ponds, or other water sources around your home.
• Take adaptive swim classes with your child at an early age. Many YMCAs and Parks and Recreation Departments offer these classes. If your child has difficulty learning conventional swimming strokes, teach him or her drown-proofing, a water survival technique that will help a child stay afloat until help arrives.