Hi all ... I have an eight year old son who is autistic. I have been informed by his school that on the 3rd May he will be required to take part in swimming lessons. I was told by a teacher at his school last year that once the lessons began he would be able to 'opt out' but unfortunately since being told that swimming is now part of the curriculum, and there is no 'opt out' option. Myself and my son were both happy for him not to attend as he had swimming lessons when he was younger and the instructor deemed him unsafe. My son is very a anxious about attending, as he said he is scared of not being able to do what is expected of him and also worried that he will not remember the instructions from the instructor. He has a very short attention span and also struggles to process information, in his words, things go in his brain and out again after 5 seconds. Has anyone got an advice on not only how to prepare him for the lessons but also me. I am so scared for his safety, during his last lessons he kept his head under water for so long I was on the verge of jumping in the pool and also whilst he was waiting for his instructions he started jumping up and down and ended up out of his depth. There were only four in his group when he was younger, now there are going to be 90. Although obviously there will be more adults supervising. I am so worried about this it's actually giving me anxiety attacks and the lessons haven't even began yet. I would be truly grateful for any advice anyone can offer. Thank you in advance. Caz
I personally would ask for a meeting with the school to discuss your concerns. Swimming in a group of 90 does not sound ideal for an autistic child. I don't really see that he should be made to take part if it is possibly going to be unsafe for him. But if they are determined that he cant opt out, they need to put something in place to keep him safe. Such as a member of staff in the water with him to repeat instructions. Or that he begins by only going in the water for a very short time (perhaps before or after the other children have gone in) and see how he manages. This way it might build his confidence up and he may start accessing the rest of the lessons. Schools have massive risk assessments to abide by so they are not going to want to do anything that would be a possible danger for your son. Does he usually get much support in school?