Aquatic Therapy for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Aquatic Therapy for Children on the Autism Spectrum | Texas Swim Academy Katy Texas

I’m really proud of the work I do for children with special abilities and children on the autism spectrum. It’s incredibly rewarding personally because I am able to witness first hand the amazing difference aquatic therapy can make in these kids’ lives, and I’m just as excited for the parents, who in many cases for the first time are able to watch their children enjoy quality of life improvement from being in the water:

  • Fewer episodes of repetitive behaviors
  • Quality social interaction
  • Improved attention span
  • Better physical fitness

And these improvements are not just wishful thinking. Two recent studies listed with the National Institutes of Health, one from 2010 and the other from 2011, illustrate exactly how swim lessons are one of the most effective techniques for engaging children with special abilities:

Sensory comfort. Many children with special needs find the feeling of water comforting, as well as organizing. Aquatic therapy provides refuge from more chaotic environments.

Vestibular stimulation. Moving in the water allows full, controlled exploration of movement, which helps develop body awareness and motor learning. Our Adaptive Aquatics program can really boost motor activity comfort and confidence.

Muscle strength. Aquatic therapy provides activities that help develop muscle strength, in and out of the water.

Fun! Swim lessons are fun for kids, and enthusiasm encourages them to play, explore and develop a variety of physical and social skills. Aquatic therapy doesn’t seem like work, even though the activities are specifically designed to progress children toward important developmental goals.

If you are curious to learn more about our Adaptive Aquatics swim program, please visit our program page where you can hear what parents are saying. Or, please contact me directly – I’m happy to answer any of your questions and tell you more about the wonderful benefits children and parents can enjoy.

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Reduce Your Child’s Risk of Drowning with These Water Safety Tips

Reduce Your Child's Risk of Drowning with These Water Safety Tips | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Survival Katy Texas

As an Infant Aquatics Survival Specialist, water safety is a topic I like to focus on all year long, not just during swim season. At Texas Swim Academy, we not only teach students how to swim, but we focus on educating parents and children about the importance of water safety in and around water. Unfortunately, accidental drownings happen too often, and 1 in 5 of these deaths happen to children under the age of 14. To avoid these tragedies, parents and guardians must be proactive and take preventative measures. By enrolling your child in an Infant Aquatics program, he or she has ability to save his or her own life. In addition, ensuring that all home pools and spas have the recommended pool safety equipment such as a pool fence or pool alarm creates extra layers of prevention. In the event that your child is missing, a pool or spa is often the first place to look, since many children are naturally drawn to the water.

Pool Safely is a great place to find resources on pool safety, drowning prevention, and steps you can take to ensure a safe environment for your child. Every step counts! Tune into the video below to learn more pool safety tips.

Home Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines

Every pool owner, especially if you have young children, should pay close attention to pool safety. Infant Aquatics Survival lessons are a very important step in protecting your child against drowning, however accidents at home can still happen and basic pool safety guidelines are a way of minimizing danger. Here’s what you need to know about safety in home swimming pools:

Home Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Katy Texas

Pool safety equipment. Home swimming pools should be equipped with the basics for pool safety, including a pool cover and safety drain covers. Choose a pool drain that is compliant with the PS&S Act for the safest option. In addition, pool fencing with an alarm or a water movement alarm are great equipment to warn you that a drowning accident could be underway, especially at times when you are not using the pool. If you are having a pool built, zero-depth entry design is safer for young children and provides a shallow play area.

Regular pool maintenance. Keep your pool clean and in good working order. Check pumps, drains and covers regularly, along with pool chemicals.

Pool safety skills. A supervising adult should know both life-saving basics and CPR for children and adults. Children should be schooled in the fundamentals of pool and water safety, including no running in the pool area, no diving into shallow water, stay away from drains and covers, and swim with a buddy.

Always, always supervise children while swimming. Regardless of their ability in the water, swimming children should always be actively supervised by an adult. NEVER let kids swim alone. Pool Safely has a great safety and and drowning prevention guide for parents and guardians to review before swim seasons starts again.

Additional pool safety equipment. Pool Safely recommends that parents create a pool safety toolkit to keep near a pool or spa. This would include a first aid kit, a pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing, or pool cover if needed, a charged portable cell phone, and a flotation device.

34412_112749668785080_1377721_nA swimming pool that is maintained safely is a pool that is ready for maximum fun and enjoyment. More importantly, home swimming pool safety guidelines significantly reduce the risk of a drowning accident. Keep your pool and your kids safe and enjoy your time in the water! Feel free to visit the Pool Safely website for more swimming safety information.

How to Overcome a Swimming Setback Due to Fear & Anxiety

How to Overcome a Swimming Setback Due to Fear & Anxiety | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Katy TexasChildren are born with an innate fear of drowning, which means they can have difficulty feeling comfortable in the water. Special needs kids can require even more care in successfully introducing them to an aquatic environment. However, even with the best intentions and careful supervision, it doesn’t always go smoothly.

A setback in the water can be brief and overcome easily, or difficult and persistent. The most important thing to remember is that all kids are different and parents should not be discouraged if a setback means reaching goals takes a little longer.

Here are some ways to reboot following a setback and get your child back into a positive attitude about the water:

  • Work toward goals gradually. Don’t try to over come your child’s fears all at once, start small and build on little victories. Sit together with only your feet in the water. Dip in slowly, until your knees are wet, then your legs. It’s okay if this takes a couple sessions, just keep up the encouragement.
  • Be a part of it. Don’t just instruct and watch, show your kid how it’s done. Let your child watch you exploring and enjoying the water, and draw comfort and courage from your example.
  • Have as much fun as you can. Bath and pool toys are your friends! A good ol’ rubber ducky can work wonders, and more advanced toys for the pool, including swim noodles and kickboards, are an easy way to encourage play. Your child can be distracted from fear of the water when there’s something fun to do.
  • Get a little wetter. Once your child is comfortable splashing feet and hands, start experimenting with getting head and face wet. You might face some resistance, that’s only natural. Take it slow: use a cup in the bath and gently play, slowly working up to more and more water on their head. The ultimate goal is to get them comfortable blowing bubbles in the water and not to freak out if you pour some water on their head.

Infant Aquatic Survival is a great introduction to the water, especially for special needs children and those who have a more intense fear of drowning. Contact me directly if you want to learn more about the many wonderful swim lesson opportunities available.

Cold Weather Swimming Myths

Summer and warm weather months are everyone’s favorite time for swimming – it’s just a great way to cool off and have fun. But did you know winter is a wonderful time to stay active with swimming, too? Many parents keep their children away from pools and the water during cold weather months, which is a shame because fears about swimming in cold weather are overwhelmingly the product of misinformation.

Cold Weather Swimming Myths | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Expert Katy Texas

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Here are some of the top cold weather swimming myths:

Most colds are caught in winter. False, and easily provable. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that most colds are caught in autumn and spring, not winter. Why? Because the infectious agent that causes the common cold is dormant for a large part of the cold weather months – the name “cold” is a bit misleading, which leads us to…

Swimming during winter leads to more ear infections. In actuality, as noted above regarding colds, many of the infectious agents that cause ear infections are dormant during winter months. Ear infections from swimming are no more likely in cold weather than they are any other time of the year.

Wet hair or temperature changes cause colds. This is an old one that our mothers told us, and it’s simply not true. Numerous studies from health organizations around the world, including the American Lung Association, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the CDC have found there’s no link between wet hair, or going from warm pool water into colder air, and catching cold.

Swimming in cold weather makes you more prone to fatigue or drowning. While you definitely want to stay away from excessively cold water, swimming in a heated pool is fun and comfortable regardless of the weather outside.

So what’s the takeaway from dispelling these cold weather swimming myths? Use the same common sense and swim safety techniques you would in summer. Go ahead, get into the pool, and enjoy yourself! Texas Swim Academy offers Fun Fridays every Friday evening from 4 – 6 PM. Parents and students can spend some quality time practicing swimming skills and enjoying our indoor heated pool.

How to Recognize the Four Types of Drowning

Did you know there are different types of drowning? There’s more to look out for than just someone struggling in the water – here’s what you need to know about the four different types of drowning.

How to Recognize the Four Types of Drowning | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Expert Katy Texas

Wet drowning is the type we are most familiar with, however the symptoms do not appear as they are dramatized in film and television. Wet drowning kills silently: victims do not thrash around and scream. Because all their energy is directed toward respiration and inhaled water may impede efforts to cry out, victims who are drowning often appear lethargic. The head is usually tipped back, with mouth open and near water level, with little movement. There may be a panicked look in the eyes, and swimming effort (if any) is weak and uncoordinated.

Dry drowning results from a struggle in the water, during which small amounts of water are taken into the lungs. The reaction is delayed, and one or more hours later the victim experiences shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Watch for dry drowning symptoms from anyone who has had recent difficulty in the water, including:

  • Chest pain, cough, or difficulty breathing
  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Extreme fatigue

If you suspect dry drowning, get the victim emergency hospital treatment as soon as possible.

Secondary drowning arises from circumstances similar to dry drowning – a near drowning episode or struggle in the water – and is caused by a build up of fluid in the lungs. Delayed onset and symptoms are the same as for dry drowning, as is the need for immediate emergency hospital treatment.

Electric shock drowning occurs when an electrical fault sends a strong current through the water. Pools with faulty lights or electrical wiring are a danger, as are waterways with a dock or boat with an electrical defect. Death can be caused by the shock itself, if the electrical current is sufficiently strong, or by drowning if the victim is only disabled by the current.

If you are in the water and feel the tingling sensation of a current, draw in your legs and attempt to exit the water as quickly as possible. Do not jump into water to try to save someone from electric shock drowning; call for help, throw in a flotation device, and attempt to turn off the source of electricity.

What to Expect from a Infant Aquatics Swim Lesson

What to Expect from an Infant Aquatics Swim Lesson | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Katy Texas

Are you wondering what to expect from a typical Infant Aquatics lesson at Texas Swim Academy? Well, for one, your child will have the one-on-one attention he or she needs to learn and progress quickly in the water. Although each lesson is 15 minutes long, students learn an incredible amount within that time. Certified instructors are ready and willing to go above and beyond to introduce your child into the water and guide them through the lesson process where your child can learn to build a level of trust and comfort. To see your little swimmer progress quickly, we recommend attending swim lessons four times a week for 4-6 weeks.

Each lesson builds upon previous lessons helping swimmers progress. The frequency of lessons will immerse your child in the curriculum, allowing him or her to develop a level of trust at a faster rate.

You will truly be amazed at what your child is capable of! The confidence and independence Texas Swim Academy swimmers build can be a true relief for parents and brings us personal satisfaction that we are teaching children to save their lives.

Tune into the video below to learn more about our Infant Aquatics program.