Summer camp special needs swim programs – Many of our parents just never thought their children would learn to swim – On Visiting Day these parents are in tears!
One of the most popular baby and child classes attended by parents in the USA are water safety and learn to swim classes. Not only are these classes fun, but they provide basic water safety skills for young children and valuable safety information for parents.
For young children with additional needs swim classes can fulfil a variety of needs:
- Swimming can be very calming and provide needed sensory input.
- Swimming can be used to help develop and build gross motor skills as a supplement to physical therapy.
- Swimming can support occupational therapy goals by encouraging children to isolate body parts and use them independently.
- Swimming can assist in building communication skills by encouraging children to request songs and social play in the water.
For children with additional needs, swim and water safety classes are also key to ensure safety. The National Autism Association has published studies showing than nearly half (48%) of children with an ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than their same aged peers. Of those children, 32% of parents reported a “close call” with a possible drowning. For children with additional needs, knowing how to be safe around water is a lifesaving skill.
At Camp Lee Mar we offer summer camp special needs swim programs. Every camper receives an instructional swim program tailored to their ability in the water. Some of our older campers are Special Olympic swimmers, some of our new campers have no swimming ability, or come to us afraid of the water. We build a program to help each individual camper be safe and gain swimming skills during the summer. We have an outdoor, heated, 25-meter junior Olympic swimming pool. Our pool ranges from 3 feet deep in the shallow end to 5 ½ feet deep in the deep end. The fact that our pool is heated allows our campers to relax and develop skills in the water supported by their counselors. Many of our campers actually learn to swim with us because of our outstanding teaching program.
On visiting day our campers get to showcase their swimming skills for their parents.The counselors get in the pool with the campers and teach them as they would do in a regular swim period. We have had parents nearly jump the pool fence when their child entered the pool in the deep end and swam to the shallow end with their counselor. This is because before the start of the summer their child could not swim!
Learning to swim helps our campers be confident and safe in the water. It also helps our campers self-regulate by providing sensory stimulation and physical exercise. Our campers love the swim program offered at Camp Lee Mar, and we love the fact that we are helping our campers become safe, able swimmers!
Written by Lynsey Trohoske
My name is Lynsey Trohoske, I am the assistant director at Camp Lee Mar. I have three amazing children, my middle child happens to be on the autism spectrum and is a camper at Lee Mar. I joined camp as a counselor in 1998 and loved the campers and their families so much that Camp Lee Mar became my second home!