Photo by: vagawi

Recommended Equipment:

  • Students who are sensitive to temperature or chill easily may benefit from wearing a neoprene shirt or wetsuit. Neoprene thickness of 1-2 mm should be sufficient.  

  • As students progress and begin swimming underwater, they will likely be more comfortable with goggles. Goggles should fit so that there is a slight suction when held against the face (without putting on the strap). Students who wear glasses should ask their optometrist what prescription to use when purchasing goggles on their own, or can ask about getting a custom goggle made.

  • Although we won’t use them to teach swimming skills, all students should have a coast-guard approved life vest, and should wear them at all times when around open water.


Water Safety Tips for Parents: 
  • Be a Water Watchdog: As a partner with Abbey’s Hope, Swim Possible encourages all parents to take the Water Watchdog pledge to keep kids safe around water. Check out the details and order a free Water Watchdog tag on the Abbey's Hope website.

  • Make sure your child has a Coast Guard-approved life jacket

    • Even children who have basic swimming skills should wear a life jacket at all times when they are in and around the water (at beaches, on boats, etc.)

  • Learn basic rescue skills

    • Parents and siblings should not attempt to rescue anyone who is struggling in the water. Alert a lifeguard if available, or call 911. Then practice “reach or throw”: extend a noodle, boat oar, towel, or whatever you have on hand, and ask the individual to grab on. We encourage you to schedule and participate in a water safety lesson with your child, so your Swim Possible Instructor can show you these skills and help you practice. Everyone in your child’s life should know how to do safe rescues to avoid double-drownings.

  • Reinforce the safety rules we use at Swim Possible:

    • Do not allow the child to enter water without an adult present and watching them at all times.

    • Tell the child to “walk, don’t run” near pools.

    • Only allow feet-first entries into the water, and only when the area is free of objects or other people.

    • Do not allow children to have breath-holding contests/competitions in the water, or jump/climb on top of other swimmers.

    • Only allow jumps into deep water if the child can swim to the side of the pool unassisted.

Lesson Tips for Parents:


  • Take photos/video

    • Viewing these photos/videos throughout the week is a great way to reinforce what the child is learning in swim lessons, and helps them visualize what they want their body to do. It can also be a great source of pride for students!

  • Be “invisible” but available

    • Many students have difficulty attending to two separate adults during lessons, so it’s best if parents are more “invisible” and allow the instructor to provide all directions to the student. Parents should be present, however, in case the student has a behavior issue or difficulty settling themselves. We always welcome your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions.

  • Help provide transition time prior to the lesson

    • Swimming lessons can be very demanding, both physically and mentally. It’s ideal for students to have a regular transition routine to prepare for the lesson. Try to allow plenty of time prior to each lesson to change and use the restroom. If they are coming directly from school perhaps add a few minutes for a quiet activity before they come to the pool. Time spent waiting for lessons can also be a good time to review photos or videos from past lessons!


Books and videos:

  • Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

    • This book presents neuroscience research on how being in water improves performance in a range of fields, increases calm and diminishes anxiety much better than medication.


Swim Possible is a member of NDPA (National Drowning Prevention Alliance) and AUSM (Autism Society of Minnesota)

Swim Possible is a donor to Autism Speaks and Abbey's Hope Foundation

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​Telephone: 612.708.8733



© 2017 by SwimPossible. 

Feel the Water Inc dba Swim Possible It is our mission is to increase the safety and fitness of children with autism and other special gifts. Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children with Autism - we are working to reduce this danger.

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