Swimming as therapy
Like most children with autism, Arif has always been drawn to water. It could be cups or bottles, a tap or water dispenser, a bucket or a pool. If there's water, he'll play with it or in it.
Of course, this can be a source of anxiety for me. Unaware of danger, and not yet able to understand what we're saying, Arif can spill water near electrical devices, appliances or sockets (lost my last mobile phone this way), or play with taps and water dispensers in public places like restaurants and clinics, much to other patrons' chagrin.
We also need to make sure that any buckets of water in our bathrooms have to be secure and when we're at the pool, we're extra vigilant.
But this year, we're embracing Arif's love for water. Earlier this year, Arif joined a community-based rehabilitation programme and one of their activities is swimming, which is held at the Kelana Jaya Municipal Pool. I love taking Arif to swim here, because he loves it and I can clearly see that he's becoming more confident in the water.
Going into the pool not only provides him with sensory play, but water also soothes, comforts and provides gentle exercise. Most importantly, it boosts his happiness :)
When my eldest, Amir, is on school holiday, Arif gets to play with his big brother at the pool. Amir does an awesome job at pretending to be a dolphin, so that Arif can ride on his back around the pool. After swimming, Arif usually enjoys a bottle of his chocolate camel milk and a light snack.
After a few hours of swimming, my boys are ready to head home. I call for an Uber and then we wait patiently for our driver to arrive! Here's to more pool fun, especially with big bro!
You can learn more about the benefits of swimming for children with autism here.