Emma, like many children with autism, loves water. The following is the best description I’ve read of why children with autism are drawn to water – “Water activities provide autistic children with proprioceptive and tactile input. Children with Autism have significant sensory difficulties, and are very distractible. These children over or under react to stimuli in their environment and have very strong reactions to certain textures. The warm water provides a safe and supported environment, which not only supports the children, but also provides them with hydrostatic pressure that surrounds their body in the water. This pressure actually soothes and calms the children, providing the necessary sensory input they crave.” This quote came from the site: www.recreationtherapy.com
Emma’s love of water is something she shares with our cat, Merlin who is really more dog than cat. For those of you who have followed this blog for awhile know, Merlin doesn’t get much more than the occasional cameo appearance on these posts, but whenever I can, I try to work him in.
Emma loves to swim, she likes to play with her dolls by giving them baths, she favors any park that has a water feature, preferably one she can play in – like sprinklers. When Emma was a baby she shrieked and squealed with excitement when I put the little plastic baby tub in the kitchen sink and bathed her. As she grew older she graduated to the bath tub, with bubbles and later the shower, but most of all she likes swimming in the various pools we find and at camp in the big lake.
Emma playing in the lake at camp.
We have been trying to teach Emma the various swimming strokes, but her favorite thing to do is less swimming in the water and more just hanging out in the water. This past spring we found a pool in Manhattan, which offered swimming lessons for children on the spectrum and once a week Joe took her. It seemed she might finally learn how to do the breast stroke, the back stroke and freestyle. But then the summer activities took precedence and those swimming lessons came to a grinding halt. We will look into returning in the fall.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com