How do you teach an autistic child to swim?

Question:My son is scared of the water unless he can hold onto something. How can I teach him to swim?

here are some websites that can help:

also go in the water with him and haavve one of those floaty things, like those noodles or something and then make him grab onto it, and then hold onto the noodle yourself and then slowly drift it into the middle of the pool, but make sure you have an eye on your child andmake sure that your holding onto the floating device no matter what. =] just an idea!
If you have acces to a therapeutic pool wich has a rail all along. You can also get a foam strip he can grab onto it acompanied by life jacket or arm floaters. Or just go in the water with him and hold his hands, have him "bycicling" his legs.
my Dad tossed my off the end of the dock and said "swim or die" as a result I am a really good swimmer :)
i used to teach kids to swim at a special needs school. there is a system called halliwick swimming.this means that the children learn to swim with out any swimming aids. you hold onto your son and support him.the first thing is water confidence. sing songs like hokey cokey and bob your son up and down,he needs to learn swimming is fun dont get technical its all about having the confidence to be in the water play games with him.autistic children respond best to song and music. even though he may not take much of an interest in you he will still recogonise you as being his dad and therefore will trust you.hold him tighlt make him feel secure and then once hes got his confidence up then start getting him to kick his legs and and move his arms but keep on with the singing even when he is in the bath
you can put them in a special class or you can teach them and repeating it (what your showing) constantly
I would start with a social story read to him at least a couple of times a week. (If you need help, ask his teacher or email me.)

Then have him put on a life jacket or other swimming belt available at the pool and put in his hands a noodle. Even if he lasts ten minutes in the pool, consider it a good day. Try for more time in at one time or get him calmed down and try for a second trial.

Then or if you think it would pre-occupy him get him to kick.

Eventually loose the noodle. Then the belt.

You may never, ever get him to swim for competition purposes, but you want him to have a recreational swim ability with the benefits of exercise.

The Special Olympics program in your county or state probably has races where the kids "swim" with you encouraging them in the water and wearing a belt. No touching from the coaches are allowed.
My son is mildly autistic - he is on the spectrum but still considered main stream. I got my son to swim by taking him to our public pool over the summer and just sitting there . . . I didn't even try to get in the water for the first few weeks - just let him observe. Then I invited children that he plays with occasionally and we just sat there and watched them swim for about a week. After watching the other children he just got in and started swimming. . . not well but you could tell he was imitating the other children. The whole process took about a month.

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