Autism Swim Approved provider - Wendy Baxter with boy learning to swim
Autism Swim Approved provider - Wendy Baxter with boy doing handstand in pool
December 2023

Provider of the Month

Wendy Baxter

Southport, QLD

Tell us a bit about you and your background...

Before I was married I completed a Bachelor of Applied Science - Human Movement, (which is similar to Exercise Science). I am now the mother of 3 adult sons.

At the age of 52, I found myself needing a new job/career path. I stumbled across becoming a swim teacher whilst watching my youngest son at his swim lessons.

I've been a swim teacher now for 9 years. I taught mainstream for 4 years and it was during this time I learned there is a need for specialist swim teachers.

I found a private pool and went out on my own in  July 2019. I literally started with only a handful of children but by October was fully booked.

I work 6 days a week, 'one on one', and teach approximately 50 children per week of which 80% are neurodiverse.

Why did you choose to become Autism Swim Approved and what are the greatest benefits you've found since doing so?

I began my Autism Swim journey in 2019, I chose to become Autism Swim Approved because I wanted to learn more about the needs of the children I was teaching.

The greatest benefits:- a) I am a lot quieter in the pool. b) I must be flexible, every child is different and each lesson can be different. c) Visuals, toys, and sinkers are a must. d) I don't see a diagnosis, I see the child.

Due to the above I can help my swimmers become happy and safe in the water.

What sort of feedback have you received since putting the skills you learned into practice?

1. Parents are thrilled with their child's progress

2. Parents are relieved to have found a swim teacher that understands their child's needs

3. Swimming is often my swimmer's favorite part of the week.

What advice can you give to other aquatic providers looking to become more inclusive?

1. Enrol with Autism Swim

2. Neurodiverse do better one on one in a quiet environment

3. Shadow or buddy with someone who is already an inclusive aquatic provider.

4. Not all, inclusive providers have the same goals as you.

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