By now its not a big secret that the vast majority of Autistic children are drawn to water. From the smallest of puddles to those vast open bodies of water. There is something that water has that is so appealing. The way it moves or the way it reflects the world or maybe its the calmness of it, that settles even the most active brain. But to those who are drawn to it, it can also be this very majestic prison.
We lost another young life this week to that wet grave. Each time we loose a child to water, it heightens our need to always protect and guard our own. Before anyone says that a parent who has lost a child to drowning is a bad parent, needs to see what we all go through when it comes to making sure our children are safe. The thing is people often forget that an Autistic child is smart. They forget that just because a person is non verbal or appears to be within themselves that they don't understand how things like doors or locks work. Most of the time we hear that the parent states they have their house locked up tighter than Fort Knox, but yet the child still manages to get out.
For me, I have three children, who all love water. Especially my two that are on the spectrum. We go to the pool almost every day. As soon as I open the gate to the kid's pool, my four year old is already in the pool. Like a fish, water is his world. As I watch him float, as that is his favorite thing to do, I am still on my guard. Watching him be at peace for a moment in this little boy's life. It is the only time he is not a spinning top. But as I stand over him, I wonder if this is some sort of nirvana for him. If the water for him is when he can rest his racing movements and thoughts. I am left wondering if this is why so many autistics are drawn to the majestic waters. For some piece of mind.
Its too bad that places like the YMCA or local swimming pools don't offer swim lessons specially for children with autism. Teach them how to float properly or how to stay afloat. Now I get that teaching someone with autism has it's challenges, but we have already proven that they are smart and that they retain information. Is it going to take some extra care and time? Sure. But if you are a person like most of the teachers in these children's lives, it is worth it. If you are a swim instructor who wants to try and make the world a better place, than this might be for you. I know that there are programs out there, but you have to do a serious searching to find them. I know organizations like Autism Speaks and the National Autism Association have their own campaigns to raise awareness about children with autism and water. But what if they could sponsor some swim lessons at pool or maybe help train people who could teach autistic children to swim.
In the span of a couple of weeks, I have managed to teach my little fish how to float on his back like a star fish. It took time and patience, but we did it. It doesn't take much. I just didn't want my child to become yet another statistic.