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One with the Water® and UCLA release Remaking Recess

Los Angeles, CA – March 27, 2014 – One with the Water®, a non-profit swim school dedicated to providing life-changing swimming lessons to children and adults – many of them with disabilities or special needs – is honored to be the first organization to release the UCLA study Remaking Recess, by the Autism Intervention Research Network – Behavioral Health (AIR-B).

Due to its expansive community outreach, One with the Water® was given first priority to release the newly published UCLA document Remaking Recess. Remaking Recess is a guide to improve the social inclusion of elementary school children with autism spectrum disorder through facilitated peer interactions. Remaking Recess is an intervention that focuses on increasing social engagement between children with autism (ages 5-11 years old) and their typical peers during the less structured times of the school day.

Since October 2013, One with the Water® has been applying the principles in Remaking Recess to its already highly successful programs and Swimming Lessons for the Autism Spectrum. Founder and Head Coach Kenneth Rippetoe, stated, “Remaking Recess is useful for modeling positive social behaviors in Autism Spectrum swimming lessons. The guide is informative, cutting edge, and most important, applicable to real-life situations.”

In order to successfully implement the guide, it is important to determine the current state of peer engagement of the child. For example, when we start all of our swimming lessons, whether special needs or not, One with the Water instructors connect with the students to help them feel secure and to let them know that we are present during their swimming lesson. We create a safe space in which the child will be able to learn easily, without fear of embarrassment or physical harm. Most of the students on the Autism Spectrum have so much going on within themselves and with the world’s endless distractions, it is important to always take a few moments to connect with our students, bringing them into the present moment.

During all swimming lessons, and especially during our swim practice for our Special Needs Swim Team for Kids, we mix in 30 minutes of dry-land exercises that are great for strength, balance, spatial orientation, and anatomical awareness. We are firm believers in the importance of this sort of “cross-training” for swimmers. It is something most teams do much later in life (and then it’s mostly focused on strength). Having a mix of dry-land and pool-based activity actually gives kids a better framework for understanding verbal swimming instructions. It also makes it easier to correct the “bad habits” and postural imbalances that often develop in swimmers.

The dry-land activities draw them in for direct joint social engagement. If there are a few children feeling isolated, watching from a distance, or conducting parallel activities, we create transitions to lure them into the group. It is important to engage the kids with their peers. After stretching and exercising, we take the kids on a two-lap run around the ball park. We ask them to think about whom they might want as their running partner that day.

Our coaches circulate through the exercise circle while the kids are interacting and participating. We actively seek out the children that might be having difficulties and help them to feel comfortable by engaging in the activity with them. And of course, most important, our coaches model having fun by demonstrating the positive aspects of the exercises and interactions, and paying close attention to the body language and facial expressions of the children.

One father – whose son is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder – reported, “Henry really responded to [head Coach Kenneth Rippetoe], and looks forward to his class more than anything else right now. After the first class, he suddenly looked forward to and enjoyed swimming, as opposed to dreading it. He made huge strides, the biggest he has ever made, working with [One with the Water].”

About One with the Water®

One with the Water® offers competitive swim training and year-round swim instruction for children and adults with a wide variety of skill levels, from total beginner to competitive athlete. In addition to their national-level competitive swimming skills, One with the Water‘s instructors are trained to work with children and adults diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s, ADD, ADHD, sensory integration, anxiety, Down and CHARGE syndrome, auditory processing disorders and dyslexia and others. Founder and Head Coach Kenneth Rippetoe is certified by the American Swimming Coach Association Disability Level 3.

Tax-deductible donations to the scholarship program of One with the Water, a 501(c)(3), can be made at the organization’s website:

To download your copy of Remaking Recess by UCLA AIR-B, please go to:

Media Inquiries

One with the Water: contact Coach Kenneth at 323.364.Swim
Twitter: @1withthewater

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