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Drowning is the number one cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 5-14 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2022). Children with autism are 160x more likely to drown than their neurotypical peers (Autism Society of Florida, n.d.). Many parents and caregivers put protective layers in place such as locks, gates, and fencing. However, children with autism are known to wander from safe spaces. According to the Autism Society of Florida (n.d.) children with autism are naturally drawn to water due to its ability to ease sensory needs. Brenner et al. (2009) state that swim lessons can reduce drownings by 88%. Purpose: The purpose of this capstone project was to promote and educate individuals on adaptive swim programs from the perspective of occupational therapy. This was accomplished by creating a comprehensive resource to address enrollment, layered protection, and financial burdens.

Publication Date

Fall 2023


University of St Augustine for Health Sciences


Swim lessons, Autism, Occupational therapy, Advocacy, Education

Medical Subject Headings

Child, Drowning, Cause of death, Autistic disorder, Water, Parents


Occupational Therapy | Pediatrics


Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on December 6, 2023.

Advocating and Educating the Role of Occupational Therapy for Adaptive Swim Lessons Among Children with Autism