In the US, drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death and disability among children (Monteiro, 2010). It has been shown that children with ASD are at an increased risk for this dangerous event (Shavelle, Strauss, & Pickett, 2001), and, unlike typically developing children, this risk persists even as the children get older (Scott, 2014). In response to this information and a number of drownings in their service area, we have launched our water safety initiative.
Our first step was to develop the Autism Spectrum Disorder & Water Safety brochure which includes information about this important issue as well as a number of drowning prevention strategies that both caregivers and professionals can take to help keep individuals with ASD safe. We are also partnering up with other organizations to help meet the water safety needs of the autism community. CARD-USF has provided free training to recreational staff at a few local YMCA’s and the Katelyn Foundation, which provides swimming lessons (http://www.katelynfoundation.org/). We also recently became a Pool Safely Campaign Safety Leader and are collaborating with the Hillsborough Water Safety Team and SafeKids Tampa Bay.
View the entire brochure here