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Autistic kids can dive?

Discussion in 'Divers with Disabilities' started by gehadoski, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. abyss_scuba

    abyss_scuba Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Pleasantville, NY
    363
    210
    43
    What ever you do please be honest with the instructor. I had a parent who did not tell me about their son. As many people have stated they can repeat verbatim what is said but sometimes can not put the facts together. In this case I felt blind sided because the student was slowing down the class for the other students. When I approached the parent after class they said they wanted someplace their son didn't feel different. While I appreciated the sentiment I did not feel it was fair to the other students. Long story short after repeated attempts I had to recommend that the student stick to snorkeling, which was more of a blow to the parent than the child. As a soon to be parent every one assumes my child will scuba, my response is "only if they want to". Please remember there is a difference between loving the ocean and wanting to scuba. That goes for any child.
     
  2. ltcmiller

    ltcmiller Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Lubbock TX
    17
    1
    3
    My daughter is a diver and a Special Ed Teacher for a private company specializing in autistic children. I am a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and IDC Staff Instructor. First step is getting the medical doctor to sign the medical form clearing the child's participation. If that is done, then I recommend the PADI Scuba Diver Certification with private instruction for the one-on-one patience it will take and no distractions from other students in the pool. It requires the same knowledge development but fewer water skill dives. The diver must dive with a Divemaster or above is the only limitation. Many people, even with full open water certifications hire a dive master to accompany them on the dive for added safety so this is not seen as a limitation. After getting a few dives under their belt they can easily advance to the full open water certification - both are good for life and we see them simply as "a license to learn."

    I actually have some folks coming in to my dive shop tonight to discuss getting a autistic child into training. :)
     
  3. iluvtheocean

    iluvtheocean Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Hollywood, FL
    1,368
    464
    83
    there are definitely many levels to the autism spectrum -- and some research i've done recently shows there are a lot of adults with undiagnosed autism - tending more towards Asperger's -- and at least a few of them are probably certified divers as well. I wonder how many of them are solo divers? something to ponder.
     
  4. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    2,725
    742
    113
    If an autistic person can become a P.h.D and a professor at a major university ( Temple Grandin), I have no doubt that they can learn to scuba dive, depending on the severity of their disease and their own determination.
     
    scubamama5 likes this.
  5. Kryssa

    Kryssa Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Sunnyvale, CA
    597
    54
    28
    My sister has Autism and has done the discover scuba program a few times and I've dived along with her. It is only the upfront cost of the certification that is keeping her from that year. Like many have said, it depends where each individual is on the spectrum.
     
  6. pocky21

    pocky21 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Panama City Beach, FL
    306
    170
    0
    I myself am on the spectrum, diagnosed with Aspergers in my teenage years. I'm no authority on the subject by any means, and there are pros and cons alike, but overall diving has made a substantial contribution to my quality of life. I have some difficulty with verbal communication, but zero issue with hand signals. I also dislike large amounts of noise, so getting underwater can be a massive stress relief. A social activity that doesn't depend largely on vocal communication is like a wet dream to us (pun intended). Prettymuch, it shuts people up so we can focus on the pretty fish :wink:

    As an interesting side note - I have noticed an increase in social function over the last few years. Whether this is related to the diving community, or to some passive type of HBOT therapy I am uncertain, but it is worth mentioning. Either way, I can't complain!

    My advice to you - prep the instructor well. Make sure they understand the challenges unique to the child's situation and that she will by no means be a "normal" student and it will not be a "normal" class. Most important point - make sure the instructor can tell when the student is being a copy-cat, and when the student truly understands what is being asked of them. Those on the spectrum are known to be remarkably good at mimicry without full understanding.
     
    undrwater, bilsant and MrChen like this.
  7. iluvtheocean

    iluvtheocean Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Hollywood, FL
    1,368
    464
    83
    I haven't been diagnosed -- but between me, my wife, and her sister (who has a few autistic children) - think i might have Aspergers after going thru the checklist recently --- and i have a preexisting condition anyways with congenital auditory nerve damage. I love diving myself and it is a great stress reliever -- and sometimes helps with depression i've noticed as well.

    --- her 2 oldest boys @13 that were diagnosed -- they are considering seeing if they want to get certified as JR OW (in combo with the scouting scuba merit badge).
     
  8. SWAMPY459

    SWAMPY459 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Gainesville FL
    160
    46
    28
    I have aspergers and I dive. depends on how high or low functioning she is.
     
  9. JesperS

    JesperS Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Venice, FL
    244
    119
    43
    On the topic of autism, this is a WONDERFUL book on understanding the disorder. Written by a 13 year old autistic japanese child, it really does put a whole different perspective on the disorder. Very eye opening.
     
  10. bluephoenix

    bluephoenix Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location:
    25
    11
    0
    very interesting, I noticed the same, respectively were told :wink: - I am HFA and love diving
    I heard from several autistic people that they are diving too, perhaps it is also pressure related as I can feel my body / the outlines of my body better under water
     

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