At Swimming Buddies we aim to help all our buddies reach their full potential in swimming and stay safe in the water while making some new friends along the way.
For children with autism swimming can be a very therapeutic activity, calming the sensory overloads of our world. As a child with autism can view, feel and understand the world in a unique way it means that the teaching process for learning to swim must be unique also. Our coaches have experience with children with autism and understand the best teaching techniques to use while helping children to stay safe in the water. Coaches have wide and varied experience and focus on child-centered learning with adaptable teaching methods, using visual aids and supports to help with processing key points of swimming and water safety.
Swimming Buddies is an accredited Autism Swim centre and we are delighted to follow their continual professional development program ensuring the children get the best experience from their sessions. We feel children work best alongside their peers and it gives everyone a chance to make some new buddies, our classes have a ratio of 3:1 or 1:1 and last 30 minutes with all coaches remaining in the water at all times. Numbers at our pool are kept to a minimum and we offer a quieter pool space with dimmed lights to allow the best sensory experience.
Swimming Buddies – Fun and Friendship through Swimming.
We were very keen for our 6-year-old son to learn to swim. However, due to his autism we were unsure where he could learn, as most lessons seemed noisy, with too many distractions. So when we heard about Swimming Buddies we were delighted to enrol Matthew!
Sarah Jane put a lot of effort into making sure that the children were well prepared for the lessons. She asked for lots of detail on Matthew’s learning preferences, likes and dislikes etc so that he could be placed in the right group. She also sent a social story with plenty of visuals, which was a huge help for him. The environment at the lessons was calm, relaxed and highly structured which helped Matthew to enjoy the lesson. The coaches are friendly, professional and have a good knowledge of how to engage children with ASD. He was very happy to return for every lesson.
It has been a joy for me to watch Matthew progress well in his swimming, to gain so much confidence and also to make a friend. It was also lovely to chat with the other parents, to share experiences and insights. I would totally recommend Swimming Buddies to any parent of a child with ASD; we’re signed up for next term and hopefully until Matthew is swimming independently.
Jacquie – Parent to Matthew one of our Swimming Buddies
35 Upper Malone Road
Belfast, Northern Ireland BT9