I jump in the water and stand in the shallow end for a few seconds before plunging under and stroking my way to the far end. Over the next few minutes, I get into a rhythm letting my arms hit the water… little bubbles appearing and disappearing at my fingertips. Over the next hour, I become lost in the water thinking about nothing in particular.
I started swimming when I was nine years old. I liked being part of a team and the social connections it brought me. Swimming provided stress relief as well as being a great way to practice motor coordination and muscular strengthing for cerebral palsy. I think sports, particularly sports among able-bodied peers, can be a great way for young people with disabilities to stay physically fit as well as foster social connection and practice social skills.
The following books may be obtained from the Library at the IIDC:
Autism and Play Jannik Beyer and Lone Gammeltoft
Physical Activity in Diverse Populations: Evidence and Practice Edited by Melissa Bopp
Sports, Fitness, and Motor Activities in Children with Disabilities: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for Parents and Educators Rocco A. Aiello
Swimming with Autism Tammy Anderson-Lee and Cathy Ball