Autism & Pools: Dealing With Sensory Issues During Vacations

Summer is here and we can not help but think about sunny days out and refreshing pool swims. However, for parents on the Spectrum, vacations and pools can represent a huge challenge due to sensory issues and ASD struggles that come with it.
Nevertheless, with a little patience and time, it is possible for Autistic children to learn to enjoy the pool and the activities that come with it. 

Why Do ASD Children Struggle with Pools?

First of all, it is important to realize why many children on the spectrum find it challenging to like pools and swimming in order to help them. 
Sensory issues can be, for the most part, the ones to blame when it comes to Autism and pool discomfort for the following reasons:
  • Lots of children
  • Large crowds
  • Activities taking place around it
  • Large pool toys floating around
  • Plus a huge body of water that stays in the middle of all that
  • Loud music
  • Children laughing
  • Loud announcements
  • Overall noisy crowds
  • A strong smell of pool chlorine
  • Suntan sprays
  • And overall lots of food smells
  • Grass
  • Textiles (bathing suits)
  • Flotation devices
  • Suntan lotions
All this happening before your child even gets into the water. Now that we understand all the factors that can represent a challenge for a child, we can look for helpful tips to make it enjoyable instead of irritating.

Tips for Making Pool Trips Fun For Autistic Children

1.- Visit The Pool At Off-Peak Times:  If you are in a hotel for vacations, early in the morning, or late in the evening are good times. If you visit a club pool, meal times are also good choices.
2.-Try On The Bathing Suit Before: Try changing your child into pool clothes a few days prior to your visit so he can have a chance to get familiar with the texture and feeling of the bathing suit.
3.- Sit Away From The Crowd: Pick a sitting spot that is set apart from the multitude, this will represent less noise, smells, and overall less challenge.
4.- Chose The Right Suntan Lotion: Sticky, oily, and heavy lotions will represent a challenge for ASD children. Look for stick options for their faces and spray choices for their bodies. Both dry quickly and do not leave an oily sensation afterward. 
5.-Goggles: Chlorine can be really irritating for children eyes, especially if your son/daughter is not used to it. Goggles will make your child feel more comfortable and secure while playing in the pool.
6.-Short Visits: Making short visits to the pool is the key to get him/her involved without feeling overwhelmed. Even a 30-minute visit at the time can represent an advancement for a child that is learning to like the pool. Remember, consistency is key.
7.- Have Fun: As parents, we are always thinking about making the most for our children. However, sometimes it is important to remember to have fun as well. Focus on the incredible memories that you are building with your child, and take the time to enjoy each step of the way. Your child will learn to like the pool, and he/she will keep on developing different skills. Make sure to enjoy each one of them too!
At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation and improving brain function. We also created an autistic community on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.
Remember, you are not alone!