July 14, 2023, WKYC Good Company
CLEVELAND, Oh. (WKYC)-Summertime means splashing away in the cool water. But water safety also comes along with the fun. Alli Frazier, CEO of Frazier Behavioral Health, joins Joe to discuss how to teach water safety to everyone including someone who is neurodiverse.
Individuals with autism or who are neurodiverse have a tendency to be drawn to water. In a lot of cases, water is fascinating to them and creates a calming sensory experience. There is also a tendency for individuals with autism to wander. In fact, the leading cause of death for individuals who wander is drowning. “It’s especially important that the autism community be vigilant about water safety” Alli states. But what can we do to be vigilant?
Alli says that one of the things that families can do is start early. Alli suggests starting to expose your child to water as early as 3 to 6 months. In fact, you can start putting a life jacket on as early as 3 months to get them used to the feeling. She also suggests talking to your neighbors and letting them know if your child tends to wander. Reminding your neighbors in close proximity to keep their pools locked and alarms on is a great tip as well. Lastly teaching your child to swim can be a fun family event for all! “We have lots of providers in the Cleveland area who specialize in teaching children with learning challenges or sensory challenges to swim”, Alli notes.
If your child has sensory challenges finding swimming gear can be challenging. Alli says finding goggles that won’t pull hair, ear plugs to keep water from going in their ears, and tagless swim shirts can is a great place to start. What if your child isn’t comfortable around water? Alli’s biggest tip to getting children to love water is by graduating exposure. You can start with a kiddie pool in the backyard and start by having just their feet in and gradually move towards them sitting and playing. You can also create fun water games in the backyard with water balloons and targets and then eventually graduate to water balloon fights. Sprinklers and local spray parks are another great way to slowly and effectively introduce your child to water.
To request a consult or connect with the experts at FBH, give them a call at 216-446-2944.
You’ll find them at 5885 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 310, Mayfield Heights, Ohio.
To watch the full segment on WKYC’s website please click here.