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3 Swimming Tips for Kids with Sensory Integration Disorder

Everything we do throughout the day interacts with our senses. When you bite into an apple, notice a breeze across your face or smell your friend’s perfume, your brain and nervous system process the sensory input and translate it in some way. For kids with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), everyday activities can become very overwhelming. If the brain can’t properly interpret sensory signals, anxiety and meltdowns often result.

When it comes to swimming, anything from the temperature of the water to the sound of other swimmers may prove challenging for a child with SPD. Because swimming is such an important life skill, however, lessons shouldn’t be avoided altogether. Instead, implement these three tips for learning to swim when a processing disorder is at play and minimize sensory meltdowns at the pool!

1. Begin with One-on-One Lessons

A crowded pool with lots of splashing swimmers is annoying for anyone, but especially challenging for a child with SPD. In order to avoid stressful triggers in the water, it’s best to begin swimming lessons in a private setting. This helps the instructor identify triggers and figure out appropriate goals. Tactile defensiveness and water play require planning and care to happen in harmony.

2. Control the Temperature of the Pool

Jumping into a cold pool may be a huge issue for kids with SPD. Water sensitivity and processing disorders often occur together. Naturally, this means children with sensory problems may respond strongly to extreme water temperature. Make sure the swimming pool is heated to lukewarm conditions to increase the chances of a successful swim.

3. Use the Right Accessories

Every child with SPD will have unique needs. Some children may be triggered by the feel of the pool against the bottom of their feet, while other swimmers respond strongly to the scent of chlorine. Swimming and sensory processing disorders exist more harmoniously when the swimmer has the right accessories and equipment. Goggles, rash guards, nose plugs and even socks can help dull the senses and lead to a more fun swimming experience.
Everyone is around swimming pools and natural bodies of water from time to time. Don’t keep your child with SPD out of the water when learning to swim is an essential skill! With these tips, kids with processing disorders can thrive in the deep end.

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Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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