Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

Investing in the Individual with SNAP at Aqua-Tots

This post is part of a sponsored relationship, however we would not partner with a business we did not feel brought value to our readers.
One of the coolest things about partnering with local businesses is the opportunity to learn about (and then tell you about) some really unique programs and offerings in the Dayton area. Today’s post is about one of those local gems.

Aqua-Tots Swim School offers a variety of specialty classes, one of which is a Special Needs Aquatic Program (SNAP). SNAP is specially designed for any students who have special needs or specific considerations in the water. Generally these are children who are diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, and children on the autism spectrum. This program provides customized swim lessons to meet the individual needs of your child and address the specific goals you would like your child to achieve.

How does SNAP work?

Sometimes, only small modifications are required and for the most part, these children will follow the regular curriculum to teach safe swimming. In other cases, the staff in the SNAP program will work with you and your child to create an individualized plan to suit your unique needs and goals. Ultimately the goal is to teach children how to be safe in and around water and create a life long love of swimming, just like with all of the classes offered at Aqua-Tots!

Each lesson is tailored to the specific learning style of the student. Children with autism generally learn much quicker with a “hand-over-hand” manipulation. This is generally a portion of a regular class but becomes a very prominent portion of the special needs classes. SNAP instructors utilize mimicking, demonstrations, charts, and individual rewards to facilitate the learning experience. The classes are truly tailored towards each individuals needs.  The instructors will work with you, as the parent, to gather information on what works for your child at home, at school and during therapy to facilitate their learning. They will then strive to implement those methods into their lessons.

How much do SNAP lessons cost?

Because of this individualized programming, SNAP does require private lessons, but Aqua-Tots offers a discounted private lesson fee for SNAP swimmers. Aqua-Tots understands that these children need individual attention and the availability in the area of these programs are rare. Aqua-Tots tries to accommodate all income levels because of the huge benefit families receive from this service. So, if cost is a concern for you, we strongly urge you to reach out to Aqua-Tots directly. 

How do I get started?

As with any new student, Aqua-Tots encourages parents to come in and talk with one of their instructors (as well as observe a lesson) to assist in deciding if the SNAP program is the best fit for your child. The SNAP staff are highly trained aquatic instructors, but they are not therapists and therefore there are certain needs that cannot be met during these swim lessons. They are always willing to have the conversation with families regarding expectations and evaluate each family on an individual basis if they can be successful with helping them.  It is important to note that not all of the instructors at Aqua-Tots are able to teach the SNAP classes, but those that are  SNAP coaches have experience with children with special needs either at home or in previous work experience.

Does SNAP really work?
One student began swimming with the SNAP program at Aqua-Tots 2 years ago. He is autistic and his parents initial goal was safety. Autistic children tend to be drawn towards water and they were very concerned that if he wandered away that he would have no fear of entering the water without supervision. Lessons started with learning when and how to enter the water. He then learned how to hold his breath and practice returning to the wall without assistance. Today, he can swim front stroke, back stroke, and breast stroke. Last summer his parents were able to take him to the pool with his brother and not only was he comfortable and calm in the water but he was able to play and have fun without assistance. 
What does a SNAP parent have to say?
“Statistics for a child with autism and drowning are at an incredible percent. We knew from the beginning that we wanted our child to have the skills to be around water and be safe and our initial goal was for him to be able to get to the side of the pool if he was in danger. Through our research of area swim schools we were so impressed that Aqua Tots had a designed curriculum for children with  special needs. They made our family feel respected, safe, and wanted and knowing that they wanted our family as part of their school meant the world to us. Our child is now successfully swimming across the pool and has learned  different swim strokes. He is able to dive under the water and completely submerge his face. We are amazed by his progress and could not be more thankful for the love, compassion, and knowledge Aqua Tots shows.”
– Aimee, SNAP mom
What does Aqua-Tots have to say?
“For me, our special needs program is my favorite thing about Aqua-Tots. I am so proud to be a part of a company that sees the value in not only teaching safe swimming to the majority of the community but also the minority that, in many cases, need these classes more than most.” 

– Brittany Haley

Aquatics Director and Master Instructor Trainer
Springboro, Ohio

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