YMCA Offers Adaptive AquaticsJune 22, 2010
It's a blistering hot summer afternoon, and Travis takes a break from the summer heat by going to the pool at the Doris Miller YMCA. This is his weekly swim lesson. Alec teaches him how to blow bubbles.
Travis is fourteen and has Autism, and he has been coming to the adaptive aquatics class at the YMCA since it started in March this year. Alec is Travis's instructor and has worked at the YMCA for almost a year now. He became a swim instructor as soon as he was old enough to be hired as a YMCA employee at 16. Last January, the idea for an Adaptive Aquatics class for individuals with special needs came to him. His unlce has Asperger's Syndrome and epilepsy.
Cindy is Travis's mother. She says that Travis looks forward to swim class every week, but more importantly the adaptive aquatics teaches him life skills in a fun way.
In a similar way, Alec has learned important life skills through swimming. He says, as a young child he was diagnosed as clinically obese, and couldn't play team sports like football. So he started swimming, a non-contact sport, at first just a little, then everyday, and now Alec swims competitively.
It's also helped him perform academically and focus his attention, he says.
Alec went to Chris Bernard Director of the Aquatics Division at the YMCA of Central Texas to pitch the idea for a special class. Bernard was receptive, and the class started a few months later in March with 11 students that month.
Chris says this is a unique class that serves a need in community. And a severely discounted rate helps families afford the class. Since March, the YMCA, The Heart of Texas Autism Network and HOPE have partnered to reach out to special needs families to offer swim instruction--thanks in part to Alec Sanchez's idea.
For more information on the YMCA adaptive aquatic class, visit kwbu.org. For KWBU news, I'm Jacqueline Deavenport.
Adaptive Aquatics Class Info:
The adaptive aquatics class meets at 3 p.m. Sundays at the Doris Miller YMCA. The class is open to ages 6 months to 90 years. The cost of the class is $10 per month for YMCA members and $25 per month for non-members. For more information, contact the YMCA Aquatics Division Director, Chris Bernard.