Water holds special danger for children with autism - WNEM TV 5

Water holds special danger for children with autism

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Tina Lowe said water safety is big deal for all children – especially for autistic children.

“I think it's one of the most important things you can teach a child," Lowe said. "If you are going to teach your kids how to ride a bike then you should teach them how to swim"

According to the organization Autism Speaks, drowning is the largest cause of death among autistic children in the US. That's why the organization awards scholarships to those who provide water safety training programs to autistic children.

Experts say autistic children can be fascinated by the look and feel of water, and often do not comprehend the dangers associated with it.

The YMCA in Saginaw was recently is one of the scholarship award recipients that will receive funding to teach autistic kids how to stay safe in the water.

Lowe, who teaches the course, said the goal of the program is to help parents of autistic children have a better understanding of how their children will behave around water and how dangerous it can be.

“I don't want to say that the water is dangerous,” Lowe said. “What's dangerous is when we don't teach them how to respect it."

In the past month, two terrible tragedies have occurred in Mid-Michigan involving water and autistic children.

Six year-old Jayden Hume drowned at Krossroads Park in Kochville Township. And then 9-year-old Omarian Humphrey died at Lake Callis Recreation Area in Davison and was discovered in the lake nearly a week later. In both cases the boys wandered off and in both cases, the boys lifeless bodies were discovered floating in the water.

Lowe working hard to get the water safety program for autistic children started as soon as possible.

"We will be reaching out to families soon to get that started hopefully no later than August 1," Lowe said.

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