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New online training on swim teaching for participants on the autism spectrum

Children on the autism spectrum are 3 times more likely to drown than those that are not – but this can be addressed through specialised swim teaching and learn to swim programs.

Royal Life Saving, in partnership with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), has just released a new online module aimed at improving swim teachers’ knowledge and skills when it comes to swimming lessons for people on the autism spectrum.

As Shaun Jackson, National Manager - Training and Workforce Development at RLSSA, explains,

We know that many children on the autism spectrum, and their parents or carers, have had a bad experience as they start out on their learn to swim journey – and that this means many have stopped before they really got started. We also know that lack of swimming skills contributes to the higher than average drowning rates. With this online module we wanted to develop an easily accessible learning resource that will give swim teachers a good understanding of autism, considerations in a learn to swim context, and some simple but specialised strategies and techniques to ensure participants enjoy their lessons and develop those critical swimming and water safety skills.

The module covers the following topics:

  • Understanding what autism is, and what it isn’t

  • Identifying the strengths, interests, characteristics and behaviours of people on the spectrum and better understanding how they may think and learn

  • Understanding the relationship between autism, water, swimming and drowning prevention

  • Preparing lessons or programs tailored to individual participants on the spectrum

  • Preparing for and managing behaviours you may experience when teaching swimming to participants on the spectrum

  • Utilising a range of strategies and techniques during lesson delivery

Throughout the module there are interviews with children on the spectrum that are learning to swim, their parents or carers and their swim teachers. The interviews complement the information and concepts presented across the various topics. They enable the learner to hear about real stories, experiences and insights from those living the learn to swim journey through the lens of autism. Along with regular video interviews learners will discover that the module has a very visual focus using footage of swim lessons in action and a range of screen designs, interactions, animations, reflection tools and knowledge checks to maximise engagement and learning. It is designed to give swim teachers that are starting out in this area of specialised teaching, or those with experience looking to test and update their knowledge and skills, the ability to move forward with confidence and clarity and deliver highly effective and enjoyable lessons.

Royal Life Saving worked closely with the Aspect Autism Friendly team to develop this module. ‘Our team is passionate about creating partnerships with organisations that directly and meaningfully improve outcomes for people on Autism Spectrum. Making small changes to the ways we work and think can have a huge impact on the safety and enjoyment of Autistic people when swimming. Royal Life Saving went above and beyond in working together with our Autistic consultants when developing this module, to ensure the content was both respectful and helpful.’ Rebecca Street - Autistic Consultant Aspect

These modules add to the suite of Professional Development products for the aquatic industry workforce designed by Royal Life Saving. Other recently developed online learning modules include Conflict Management, Cultural Competence, Communication Skills, Child Safety for Frontline Staff, and Child Safety for Management Staff.

The cost of the course is only $50 and payable once logged into our E-Learning platform using the link below.

Existing users can log using their regular details; new users can create a new account when you click on the following link: https://learning.royallifesaving.com.au/mylearning/catalogue/details/fc2309e7-913f-ed11-a27b-0003ff8ce32c

Group orders are available, contact your regional office to arrange a bulk token order.

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