Every child deserves the chance to learn to swim. Halo’s Autism-Friendly Swim Lessons make a range of adjustments to support children with autism, ensuring that swimming lessons are accessible and enjoyable. Working within Bridgend County Borough, this project aims to improve the confidence of children and families.

We make a range of adjustments to minimise sensory overload and meet individual needs, including:

  • dedicated pool time, warmer pool temperature, and smaller groups (working towards a 1:3 ratio when possible)
  • adapted equipment and communications systems
  • training for all staff that come in contact with children and their families
  • facility changes such as blinds to reduce glare, soothing wall and carpet colours, and a breakout room for when children need some time on their own
  • turning off hand dryers in the changing rooms and toilets
  • encouraging communication between instructors and families before the lessons
  • allowing children to “test” the environment before they arrive (for example, giving them a sample of the pool water, encouraging pre-lesson visits to the building)
  • personalised “social stories” for each child – an image-heavy booklet with photos of their instructor, the pool, building, etc., that gives them an overview of what to expect when they arrive for the lesson
We work closely with the local authority, third sector organisations, and autism specialists. Community Leisure UK has featured us as an exemplary program. In 2023, we were shortlisted for National Learning Disabilities and Autism Hero awards, and won two Swim Wales awards for Inclusion and Community Impact. We are funded by Bridgend County Borough Council and BBC Children in Need.

 

Testimonials
~ I was totally amazed how the instructor was with my daughter and myself, and it really makes a massive difference having these experiences for our children who unfortunately have less experiences for many reasons. A massive thank you again I really appreciate the precious time I had. 

~ Really grateful for this programme. It is quite difficult to get my son to engage in anything, and he has been nagging every morning to go!

 

 

 

 

Aquatic Centre – Halo Leisure
Ynysawdre Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre
Heol-Yr-Ysgol, Tondu, Bridgend CF32 9ET
Bridgend CF32 9ET
United Kingdom
Phone: 01656 678849
Email: autism-swim@haloleisure.org.uk
Url: https://haloleisure.org.uk/activities/bridgend/in-the-pool/autism-friendly-swimming-lessons