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Swimming is a great sport and activity, not only because of the neurological and social benefits, but because it is an activity that benefits everyone!


At Sea Otter, we are especially proud of our adaptive swim program. We focused on six types of special needs when we developed this program:



We have specially trained instructors who create an individualized lesson plan based on your goals.


These goals vary with each individual. Some parents want to teach their children water safety skills. Some want to make showers less stressful. Others want to help their child build muscle tone, and some are preparing for participation in the Special Olympics.


Whatever the reason is, we work with you to create a unique plan to help your child be successful!


Learning Water Safety Skills

According to the National Autism Association, drowning is among the leading causes of death for adults and children with autism.


In 2009 through 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91 percent of U.S. deaths reported in children with autism under age 14.


The facts are startling but there is something you can do! Having your child with special needs in swim lessons can teach them water safety skills and be life saving.


Physical Benefits

Swimming is a wonderful activity for individuals with low muscle tone. Swimming is a weightless exercise, allowing individuals to move and work all their muscles in the water that they couldn’t on land.


Children with low muscle tone often have difficulty with balance. Swimming helps build core strength, improving equilibrium and coordination.


Simply being in the water can be soothing for individuals with special needs. Water’s buoyancy relieves the stress that gravity places on muscles. In water, people can have a greater range of motion, coordination, and improved flexibility.


Individuals with spina bifida or cerebral palsy are often confined to a wheelchair or walker. In water, they experience a physical freedom they can’t experience anywhere else. Some individuals are able to move in the water in a way they never could on land!


Emotional and Mental Health

Along with the physical freedom individuals experience in water comes an emotional freedom. Being able to move your body in water, in a way it won’t otherwise, is liberating. Imagine being able to move your limbs freely in a way you never could before.


The sensation of water on the body is also good for neurological development, including Increased spatial awareness and coordination.


Social Interaction

Being in swim lessons can help teach a child with special needs to communicate with their instructor and receive and carry out instructions.


Learning water safety skills can also allow children to participate in activities they may normally be ostracized from such as pool parties.


At Sea Otter, our goal is to help each swimmer push past their physical, cognitive, or neurological challenges to be successful in learning to swim, learning water safety, developing confidence, increasing fitness, and having fun!