Recent studies have provided startling and potentially worrisome news about Autism and injury mortality rates – scientific jargon for causes of death among people with an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis (ASD).
Swimming lessons are vital to protect the life of a child with ASD.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is the term applied to a range of conditions indicated by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. (From Autism Speaks). According to the CDC, 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with ASD.
The recently published study, led by Dr. Guohua Li, a professor of epidemiology from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York, examined over 32 million death certificates from 1999 to 2014. They found 1,3067 people with an ASD diagnosis who had died in that period. Their research showed that the annual death rate had increased SEVENFOLD in the fifteen years they studied. And according to Dr. Li, speaking with Medical News Today, that number doesn’t take into account the fact that autism-related deaths often go underreported.
28% of the total deaths were due to injury. Suffocation, asphyxiation, and drowning made up a staggering 80% of mortal injuries to children with ASD.
At least one of those is highly preventable.
“Our analysis reveals that children with autism are 160 times as likely to die from drowning as the general pediatric population. Given the exceptionally heightened risk of drowning for children with autism, swimming classes should be the intervention of top priority.” – Dr. Li
160 TIMES. Let that number sink in.
Drowning is preventable
Wandering commonly occurs with autistic children, and because children with autism often have limited social and communication skills, they may seek out bodies of water as a serene place to calm themselves and relieve anxiety. Often with tragic outcomes. “Swimming ability for kids with autism is an imperative survival skill.” – Dr. Li.
As soon as a child receives an Autism Spectrum diagnosis, often around the age of 2 or 3, Dr. Li recommends signing them up for swimming lessons. (And at One with the Water, we believe ALL children that age should be in swimming lessons, but that is a different story altogether). Even before other kinds of therapy if need be. And as a side note, there is evidence that swimming produces results for children with ASD in other therapeutic environments.
Swimming lessons can save a life. Drowning is preventable! At One with the Water, our coaches are equipped to teach children & adults with: ADD & ADHD, Anxiety, Autism Spectrum, Down and CHARGE syndrome, Sensory Integration Issues, auditory processing disorders, amputation, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, spinal cord injury, obesity, and other disabilities.
Please don’t wait. Swimming lessons could be the difference between life or death.
Help us save lives!
Partner with us today to teach economically disadvantaged children, special needs children, and Service-Disabled Veterans to become One with the Water! Be a hero today, and when you donate now, you can help reduce the risk of drowning for children by up to 88%! Be a hero and help us save the life of a child.
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Molly is a member of our creative team, mom of four water-loving babies, and a fierce advocate for CPR training and really early swim instruction.