HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A growing University of Hawaii at Manoa program is giving students a chance to teach children with autism how to swim.
As part of the program, 24 UH students in an introduction to adapted physical education class are giving 24 children lessons on how to be safe in the water as well as building their self-confidence and social skills.
The program, which started two years ago with only five students and seven children, is as a collaboration between the Hawaii Autism Foundation. The program has proven successful with an increased amount of participants over the years.
Parents say the program has indeed been beneficial for their kids.
“Where they were at to where they are now is really truly remarkable,” said parent Amy Carrasco. “They could not get in the water without having issues and now they are — my youngest is emerging and eldest is proficient.”
The program runs for 10 weeks, twice a week, in the fall and spring semesters.
Drowning is known as the leading cause of death among those with autism, and especially with children who tend to wander and are non-communicative, according to the National Autism Association.