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Your Dollars @ Work: Teaching Swimming, Water Safety and Fun!

Earlier this year, Autism Speaks was excited to launch a new grant program, the Swimming and Water Safety Scholarship Fund. This program grants funding to organizations that provide swimming and water safety lessons to award scholarships to financially disadvantaged individuals with autism. The Your Dollars @ Work post below is a series of pictures of some of the scholarship recipients as well as testimonials from parents and service providers. You can learn more about this new grant program here!

"Matthew used to wear a life jacket when he was in water over his head. He didn't want the other kids to make fun of him, so wanted to learn how to swim. Now, he's a fish!"

“None of therapy sessions over the last 11 years- speech, OT- have done as much for Jack’s self esteem and safety as swim lessons with Kim.”

"This little girl is severely autistic and non verbal. No one was able to get her to swim yet she loved the water and was fascinated by it. True miracles have happened.  She now follows all directions and swims independently with flippers.  She can jump off the diving block (which terrified her initially to the point of complete meltdown) and is loving it.  She is so proud and confident when she is in the pool. It's her most favorite activity."

"I'm very grateful for this opportunity given to my family. Without the scholarship my son Joseph received from Autism Speaks, he would not be on the road to water safety. Water safety skills are so important for Joseph's safety, so many of our kids have lost their life because they actually love the water but do not have the necessary skills."

"I can't thank you enough for giving Chase the swim scholarship. Being a single mom of three, there is no way I could of put him in swim lessons without the help of Autism Speaks. Chase loves going to swim and seeing Coach Ty."

"Swimming at the Y has been very rewarding for my son and our family. Joe has Autism & I read countless stories of Autistic children drowning ... It is terrifying. I feel good knowing that Jake is being taught water safety & learning the foundations of swimming. We love that Joe is a part of this team. It is so much fun for us to cheer him on and see him make progress."

"My son was terrified of the water when he started and had no idea where his body was. He wouldn't hold equipment and would just lock his body and cry.  He has come so far." 

"It's such a relief to have affordable top notch private lessons for my kids. Drowning is a huge fear my husband and I have for our children. They are not only learning how to swim to the edge but they are actually learning the different strokes! We are so grateful to have this opportunity to help our children develop a healthy love and understanding of water."

"Thanks to a grant we received from Autism Speaks, my daughter Yannice is taking swimming lessons. This program is doing wonders for my daughter who is non-verbal. She loves it and enjoys being in the water. After each lesson, my daughter refuses to come out of the water!"

Learn more about the Autism Speaks Swimming and Water Safety Scholarship Fund here and be sure to encourage swim programs in your area to apply for funding!

Your Dollars @ Work is a blog series highlighting the important work of past recipients of Autism Speaks grants to give you a glimpse into how your donations are changing lives of so many in the autism community! Check out previous entries here.