Scuba Diving and Autism Part 2: How Autism Certification Helps

Children with autism are often drawn to water, but without proper training, water can also be a real danger to them. PADI instructors partnering with IBCCES can be an important part of helping these children remain safe and become more comfortable around water.

Drowning is a leading cause of death for children with autism. Much of this is preventable by teaching children who are naturally drawn to water better skills for how to swim and manage themselves when they are in the water.

Many families want to help their child develop new skills and abilities, but they have a hard time finding places to do it.

How Autism Certification Can Make a Difference

“Often the road block isn’t the children, it’s finding programs, instructors, and businesses that are willing to adapt their ‘normal’ operations to accommodate and meet the needs for special needs children.” -Chris O’Shea, parent of a child on the autism spectrum (see Chris O’Shea’s original blog post).

Many families with autism are looking for opportunities to teach their children new skills, and with many people with autism being drawn to water, scuba diving is a natural choice.

For example, Chris O’Shea and his family worked with a PADI dive center located at Beaches Resorts in Jamaica. His son, who on previous trips had been unwilling to put on a snorkeling mask, proceeded to complete three snorkeling trips and completed the “Bubbles” (Intro to Scuba) program.

“We had some concerns about how he might react to all the requirements, but (with Ryan’s instruction) he took to it rapidly. He completed all the required pre-checks and finished the session swimming multiple laps of the French pool completely under water. This was huge step forward for Sebastian; he has wanted to scuba since he was three. We have tried Sebastian in ‘special needs’ programs at the local YMCA and never had any success. The reality is that Beaches provides highly experienced staff who can actually work with special needs children who actually care about their success. This has never been our experience with any other program.” -Chris O’Shea

With 1 out of 59 children being on the autism spectrum and $262 billion spent on autism services each year, there is a substantial amount of money spent by families with autism in order to introduce their children to new experiences.

Each time a child’s comfort zone is extended that can mean the family can make new memories and become enriched through new experiences, giving benefits far beyond the person with autism.

Read About PADI Certification

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