Please DONATE to Help Sustain & Grow Our PADLS Program ...
Help Us Save Kids w/Autism & Special Needs Across Florida!!
Drowning is the leading cause of death among autistic and special needs children under the age of 15! And, for every child that drowns, another 4 are hospitalized for near-drowning accidents. This issue is even more severe in Florida due to the sheer number of water sources easily available (Pools, Ponds, Canals, Rivers, Lakes & Gulf). Autistic & Special Needs kids can often be less aware of the world around them, putting them at an even greater risk of drowning. It is imperative to teach children with autism or special needs to swim as they typically have limited sense of inherent threats or danger, tend to easily wander and, perhaps more than most people, they have a true natural affinity for the water.
As these special kids need 1-on-1 training, VERY few places offer the specialized instruction they need. Our PADLS Program provides lessons targeted at the non-swimmer to establish basic water safety skills allowing anyone who falls into a body of water to be comfortable going under water, safely surfacing, reorienting themselves and then easily reaching the shore.
With our initial grant from AUTISM SPEAKS, we established our pilot PADLS Program at the Cape Coral Yacht Club community pool in Cape Coral, FL. In this initial training cycle, we taught 34 kids over a total of 309 instruction sessions.
Our PADLS Program (Persons w/Autism or Disabilities Learn to Swim) is a fun, supervised and targeted instruction program specifically designed for these challenged kids and hosted at local pools across Lee County ... specifically LA Fitness Centers and their INDOOR, Heated pools! With PADLS, we will drastically expand swimming proficiency and significantly reduce drowning deaths among autistic and special needs kids! We have partnered with the fantastic national SWIMTASTIC Swim School! They have given us a 10% discount on their services. We are also busy raising funds to further subsidize training expenses!
In the meantime, I've been volunteering with the "WaterSafe SWFL" initiative sponsored by the Lee Health System. See the brand new website I created for this effort at swfl.watersafe.info! This will grow into an easily accessible site for a wide variety of information on water safety and drowning prevention here in SWFL!