The Metuchen Y is pleased to announce a new swimming program called “Autism Swims”. This program was started after a special education teacher from Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Edison, Megan Mahoney, contacted the Y about setting up swimming lessons for her group of autistic students. The Y was happy to work with Megan to set up a schedule for her and her students. It is common knowledge that children with Autism are drawn to the water, and rates of drowning are very high. In fact, 91% of deaths in autistic children are due to drowning. Learning to swim will not only save lives, but will give the children confidence, coordination and reduce anxiety. It also gives them a great way to exercise and enjoy the water. What is unique about this program is that Megan and three assistant teachers join the students in the pool, making the children feel more comfortable in a new environment.
Another elementary school, Woodrow Wilson, has just expressed interest in this class and is working with Marie Patterson to set up a schedule. The goal is to offer the program to as many elementary schools in the area as possible, with the hope of giving as many children as possible who have been diagnosed with Autism a chance to learn how to swim.
The YMCA has submitted a grant application to Autism Speaks in the hopes of securing funding to be able to offer swimming scholarships to eligible students who are from financially disadvantaged families. To learn more about Autism Speaks please visit: http://bit.ly/1yFVnKB
To request more information on Autism Swims, please email Danica Lindsey, Aquatic Director or Marie Patterson, Metuchen Y Director of Operations.