Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Swimming for people with disabilities; Exercise for children; Autistic children--Recreation;


Swimming lessons are recommended as a useful health promotion intervention and life-saving skills for individuals with ASD. This qualitative study examined the perceived benefits of swimming lessons for children with ASD, with particular focus on aspects that can potentially help maximize the instruction of lessons for this population. This study utilized multiple methods to gain an in-depth perspective on the implementation of strategies and techniques for learn-to-swim programs for the six subjects with ASD. Semi-structured personal interviews were conducted with two instructors, the parents of the six children along with observational data collected from the researcher. Thematic analysis of the data supported perceived gains and benefits by utilization of extended lesson time, use of wetsuits, and using a floating mat/platform for teaching. Some of the most common benefits reported included increased comfort, relaxed, balance, and warmth. The major factors believed to affect the success of this intervention were comfort for the participants, which were derived from the interviews of the parents and instructors. The results from this study demonstrated that there are key strategies and techniques that can be implemented to swimming lesson programs for this population. The study provides preliminary support for the effectiveness of a simple instructional package for teaching swimming to children with autism. A discussion of implications of these perceived benefits along with recommendations for future study for children with ASD is included.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services


Division of Leisure, Youth and Human Services

First Advisor

Christopher R. Edginton, Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Joseph L. Wilson, Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 179 pages)



File Format